Created (6/10/2016 1:26:11 AM by Chad Holloway)
Day 2 of the Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian Main Event saw the final 354 players from the 2,887-entry field (499 entries on Day 1a; 968 Day 1b; and 1,420 Day 1c) return to play through the money onward to the final 22. When play came to a halt, Matthew Herrera, who was also the Day 1c chip leader, bagged the biggest stack with 3.95 million.
Others still in contention include Long Tran (3.905 million), James Akenhead (1.99 million), TJ Thondup (1.665 million), Mukul Pahuja (1.445 million), Reginald Shawn Roberts (1.005 million), and Dan "DQ" Hendrickson (1.020 million), the last Minnesotan and MSPT champ standing.
Hendrickson, who was so nicknamed because of his Dairy Queen franchises, topped a field of 430 runners to win the 2015 MSPT Canterbury Park Main Event for $106,182. He knows what it takes to win a MSPT title, but we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if that experience helps him.
Meanwhile, Pahuja (pictured above) would be considered by most to be the headliner among the final 22. The younger brother of poker pro Vinny Pahuja is the WPT Season XII Player of the Year, which he earned after cashing five times, making three final tables, and battling for a WPT title on two different occasions. Pahuja became just the third WPT Player of the Year to achieve that feat without winning a title in the same season, while his 3,450 POY points were a record under the current scoring system. Oh, and those three final tables, they tie him with the likes of Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey for most in a season.
As if all that isn't impressive enough, in December 2014, Pahuja capped off a great year by topping a field of 460 entries to win the WSOP Circuit Harrah's Atlantic City for $148,345. Then, in February of this year, Pahuja topped a field of 613 runners to win the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Palm Beach Kennel Club for $193,095, which gave him his third ring overall and second Main Event title. Tomorrow we'll see if he can add a victory in the largest MSPT in history to his poker résumé.
For much of the day, all eyes were on Angelina Rich, the defending champ. Rich topped a field of 1,964 entrants to win this very event for $215,815 while becoming the first woman in history to win a MSPT title. Despite starting with a short stack on Day 2, Rich made a run at defending her title in an even bigger field of 2,887 entrants.
Just minutes after her boyfriend Alex Lynskey exited in 29th place, Rich followed him out the door in 27th at the hands of Michael Rudolph.
It happened in the last level of the night with the blinds at 20,000/40,000/5,000 when Rudolph opened for 90,000 and Rich shoved for right around 800,000. Rudolph called with Big Slick, and Rich was in dire straits with her king-queen. The board ran out clean and Rich, the last woman in the field, had to settle for 27th place and $13,863.
Among those to cash on Day 2 were reigning MSPT Player of the Year Mark Hodge (293rd - $2,546), 2001 WSOP Main Event champ Carlos Mortensen (242nd - $2,688), Venetian Ambassador Annette Obrestad (197th - $3,112), European footballer Jimmy Kebe (113th - $3,961), MSPT Potawatomi champ and current Season 7 POY leader Travis Lauson (101st - $3,961), and MSPT Meskwaki champ Keith Heine (97th - $4,385).
Among those to make even deeper runs were Erwan Pecheux (82nd - $4,385), Rick Syverud (53rd - $6,507), MSPT Running Aces champ Mark Sandness (38th - $7,639), Derek Wolters (35th - $9,902), WSOP bracelet winner Jared Hamby (32nd - $9,902), and Marc MacDonnell (25th - $13,863).
The remaining 22 players are each guaranteed a $16,976 payday, but all of them have their eyes on the $403,178 that awaits the winner. They will return at 11 a.m. local time on Friday to play down to a winner, and while there will not be a live stream, we will be there every step of the way to bring you live updates straight from the tournament floor.