Doyle, Erik and "The Mouth." The iconic names of poker's stars from another generation are proving that their games are still among the elite some four hours into play on Day 2 A/B. Each will bring in at least 125 big blinds into the last level before the dinner break and if you were looking for a picture of comfort at the felt in the WSOP main event, you'll find exactly that at each of their tables.
The fans in attendance can't actually see what's going on at Doyle Brunson's table, but his rail is still significant as the iconic hat signals fans to stop and take notice of the appearance of the greatest legend in the game. Brunson continues to share smiles and conversation with his table, and before the end of the last level, he doubled to 170,000 in chips, enough to place him in the top 1 percent of the field.
"Poker is unlike any other professional game or sport," said Tim Fiorvanti, a senior writer for Bluff magazine. "Doyle Brunson is a living legend who can still participate in the game that he made famous. If he were to make a deep run in the main event it would further solidify his place in the history of the game."
Erik Seidel may not have the glorified history like Brunson's, but he does have eight WSOP bracelets and an immortalized runner-up finish in the WSOP main event in the movie "Rounders." Seidel's stack of 189,000 in chips is among the best right now and his success shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone. The Mayfair-made star has five WSOP cashes in 2013 and is seated with comedian Ray Romano. Perhaps coincidentally, Romano's stack has dwindled so far on Tuesday.
Mike "The Mouth" Matusow is far from his chirpy self Tuesday and his calm demeanor is far from the boisterous, outgoing Matusow who has graced the ESPN broadcasts for years. Seated with defending main event champion Greg Merson, Matusow has chipped up more than 100,000 and is looking to add to his 2013 success, which already includes a bracelet win and a victory in the 2013 National Heads-Up Poker Championships.
Why have these three been successful so far on Day 2?
"Veteran players are really good at picking off short stacks, and to start Day 2, you have a lot of short stacks," said Vin Narayanan, editor-in-chief of Casino City Times. "There will be periods of consolidation, but there were a lot of short stacks to start the day."
From a mental standpoint, the fear of busting out on Day 1 has been removed and many amateurs are now back in the "living the dream" phase. After so many hours at the table over their careers, the experienced pros definitely recognize these spots and are ready to pounce.
While they may stand out to fans, these three are far from the only ones making the most of their main events:
Greg Merson continued to build during the past level thanks to a key win with A-Q>Q-Q.
Joe Cada has played relatively conservative but has topped the 40,000-chip mark for the first time this tournament.
Sergio Castelluccio is the current leader of the field with 260,000 in chips.
Actor Kevin Pollak doubled up his stack from the last level.
Annette Obrestad, the first WSOP Europe main event champion, has more than 200,000 in chips.
Cricket icon Shane Warne still hasn't drawn any crowds here at the Rio, but continues to chip up. He eclipsed the 150,000 mark during Level 8.
Cash game specialist Daniel Cates has never been one for patience and composure in tournaments, but he has nearly 200,000 in the main event.
Small blinds: The tournament staff is removing all the green 25 denominational chips. Blinds are now 400/800 with a 100 ante. The orange section in Amazon (Day 2A) is down to its final few tables. This room is starting to feel really big. Russell Thomas and Jake Balsiger are keeping their dreams of back-to-back final tables alive. Recent eliminations include Barry Greenstein, Chris Klodnicki, Brian Rast, Martin Staszko, Joe Tehan and Johnny Lodden.