A total of 652 entries were made in the 2021 Card Player Poker Tour Venetian $2,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, nearly tripling the tournament’s $500,000 guarantee to create a final prize pool of $1,467,000. After two starting flights and day 2, that field has been narrowed down to just 27 players remaining with a shot at the title and the top prize of $315,396.
Day 2 of the event began with 196 players remaining from the 559 entries made across the two starting flights. An additional 93 entries were made during the early levels of day 2 before registration officially closed at the start of level 15.
The huge turnout for this event resulted in the top 72 finishers making the money. Plenty of big names fell short of cashing in this event, hitting the rail in the first half of day 2 action, including former CPPT Venetian champion, three-time World Poker Tour winner, and two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Anthony Zinno, Ben Palmer, Marle Cordeiro, bracelet winner Jeremy Ausmus, WPT champion Lee Markholt, Matt Stout, bracelet winner Ryan Laplante, 2013 WSOP main event champion Ryan Riess, two-time WPT champion James Carroll and bracelet winner Jack Duong.
The money bubble officially burst when TK Miles cracked the pockets queens of an opponent with A-J. With that, the remaining 72 players all ensured themselves at least a $5,135 payday in this event. The final few levels of the night saw a flurry of bustouts, with plenty of highly accomplished players hitting the rail as the field was narrowed down to just 27 players. Notables who were eliminated after making the money include 2020 WSOP $10,000 main event ‘Domestic Tournament’ champion Joseph Hebert (69th – $5,135), bracelet winner Erik Cajelais (64th – $5,575), Shannon Shorr (55th – $6,015), start-of-day chip leader Ali Imsirovic (48th – $6,748), bracelet winner Joseph Cheong (42nd – $6,748), Tim Reilly (36th – $8,069), and Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian champion Korey Payne (33rd – $8,069).
When the dust settled, WSOP bracelet winner James Anderson held the chip lead among the final 27. The 2019 Little One For One Drop event champion bagged up a massive stack of 3,256,000, having added to his already sizable stack during the final few hands of the night by winning a massive preflop race with pocket queens against the A-K of 32nd-place finisher Manuel Labandeira.
Other big stacks include Anselmo Villarreal (1,643,000), Timothy Capretta (1,374,000), WPT champion Alex Foxen (1,338,000), and three-time WSOP bracelet winner Kristen Bicknell (1,317,000). Foxen and Bicknell, who are a couple, finished in first and second place in a $5,000 buy-in MSPT event here at the Venetian, earning $239,000 and $200,000 respectively. They have a shot at sharing yet another final table at this venue and adding considerably to their combined tournament earnings of more than $23 million.
Other notables still in contention include TK Miles (1,154,000), WSOP Circuit Season Finale Online main event winner Frank Marasco (1,094,000), WPT champion Jordan Cristos (1,055,000), Stanley Lee (812,000), 2013 CPPT Venetian runner-up Alex Condon (798,000), Scott Stewart (770,000), and WPT Championship winner Asher Conniff (552,000).
The final 27 will return for day 3 at noon local time on Monday, Feb. 22. Play will continue until a champion is decided.
Here is a look at the chip counts and seat assignments heading into the final day:
Here is a look at the remaining payouts: