WPT: Lee Markholt Looking Strong in Biloxi

Markholt spent much of Day 2 with the chip lead
Markholt spent much of Day 2 with the chip lead

Day 2 of the Southern Poker Championship at the Beau Rivage saw players rise and fall from the chip counts as 144 players from the original field of 214 returned to the felt for more $10,000 Main Event action.

Joseph Cheong’s Day 2 was particularly volatile. He came into the day with a top ten chip stack, but hit the rail by the second level of play thanks to two big pots. First his aces were cracked to double another player up, then he ran into another player’s nut straight to lose the second half of his stack and hit the rail.

Ben Klier was another player who had an unsteady day at the tables. He began the day third from the bottom on the chip counts with just 5,000 chips, but managed to run it up to 80,000 by the end of the first level and was sitting on more than 150,000 just one hour after that. He held on to his big stack for most of the day, only to lose all but 7,000 in a pivotal all-in showdown. Klier managed to triple up to survive the day, but he will once again be one of the short stacks when play resumes.

Klier fell out of the top ten, but big names like Lee Markholt and Gavin Smith managed to end the day with big stacks. Markholt ended the day with an impressive 210,800, which is enough to put him fourth in the chip counts. He was as high as 290,000 during Day 2 of play, but his stack dwindled a bit during the final level.

Kevin Elias is the end of day chip leader with 229,000 with Jordan Smith right behind him with 217,000. Smith vaulted to the top of the counts after a massive three-way all-in when he flopped bottom set on a [Kh8h2d] board. Past Southern Poker Champion Allen Carter went for the duel knockout with his QT, but he bricked out, giving Smith the more than 200,000-chip pot.

Both Carter and reigning champ Hoyt Corkins are amongst the 66 players returning for Day 3 action on Tuesday. The field should hit the 27-person money bubble today. Other notables still alive in the field include Full Tilt Poker Red Pro Nick Schulman, Team PokerStars Pros Chad Brown and Jason Mercier, Luke Staudenmaier, Shannon Shorr, Jonathan Little, and Michael Benvenuti.

The Day 3 schedule is to either play five more levels of action or stop once the field hits the final 18 players. A little over half the remaining field will be walking away empty-handed, but 27 will be earning at least $18,868. First place in this event is $601,469. The top five finishers will all earn six-figure paydays.

Here are the top ten chip counts headed into Day 3 of play:

1. Kevin Elias – 229,000
2. Jordan Smith – 217,000
3. Ryan Hughes – 211,400
4. Lee Markholt – 210,800
5. Vitor Coelho – 209,900
6. Dermot Blain – 195,200
7. Walter White – 191,200
8. Gavin Smith – 190,100
9. Alexander Kuzmin – 179,000
10. Chad Brown – 168,100

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