The $1,100 buy-in, $3.5 million guarantee MSPT Venetian Main Event attracted 4,411 runners (477 on 1A, 750 1B, 1,312 1C and 1,872 1D), over four flights, which made it the largest poker tournament in both MSPT and Venetian history.
On Thursday, 647 players (63 from 1A, 105 1B, 175 1C, and 306 1D – minus some best stacks forward) returned for Day 2 action but after 14 levels of play the field was whittled down to the final 39. Leading the way with 7,330,000 is Iaron Lightbourne, who won the biggest pot of the night in the closing minutes of the evening.
Lightbourne, who has nearly $1.4 million in lifetime earnings including a career-high $308,766 for winning the 2015 WPT Nottingham, is seeking his second MSPT cash after finishing 17th in this very event back in Season 5. Of course, back then there were only 854 runners in the field.
The only other players over the 4-million mark are Young Eum (4,770,000), Dustin Goff (4,750,000), and Jonatan Simchon (4,430,000).
Others still in contention for the $548,341 first-place prize are Michael Del Vecchio (3,230,000), James Rodriguez (2,975,000), Owen Crowe (2,200,000), Eric Maier (1,960,000), Sammy Aweida (1,640,000), Joe Elpayaa (1,390,000), Nick Pupillo (1065,000), and the short-stacked Rob Maier (710,000).
With only 450 slated to get paid, nearly 200 players left Hall G of the empty handed including last year’s fourth-place finisher Jake Balsiger, MSPT Potawatomi champ Alex Aqel, inaugural MSPT Venetian champ Drake Bronk, and WSOP bracelet winner Nick Jivkov.
One the bubble burst – Maurice Hawkins, Keven Stammen and Rich Dixon all fell at the same time to split some prize money – the eliminations came fast and furious. Among the hundreds to cash were MSPT Season 7 FireKeepers champ Aaron Massey (83rd - $6,795), 2017 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Champ Richard Bai (108th - $5,505), MSPT Season 5 Running Aces champ Mark Sandness (115th - $5,505), Minnesota’s all-time money leader Blake Bohn (139th - $5,505), MSPT Season 4 Player of the Year Pat Steele (202nd - $4,215), Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year Chris Meyers (236th - $3,612).
Day 3 will kick off at Noon local time on Friday and play down to a winner. Not only will we capture the action here in the live updates, for the first time ever we will be live streaming the action on our RFID table complete with hole cards and commentary.