The WSOP $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event finished its second day last night and 32 players will still be vying for the top prize when on the third and final day.
One of the players who will not be back for the final day’s play, however, is National Basketball Association (NBA) star Paul Pierce, who came just short of a money finish before the end of Day 2. The 36-year-old spent 15 star studded seasons with the Boston Celtics – including winning a championship – before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets a little over a week ago.
Pierce was knocked out of the event by Russian Nadar Kakhmazov, who ended up with the fourth largest chip stack when the second day of play ended. The basketballer, whose nickname is ‘The Truth’, was one of the tournament’s big stacks earlier on, with his stack being amongst the top 10 with around 140 players left.
But things soon changed for Pierce after his stack dwindled before he was eventually sent packing in the later stages of the second day. Getting no monetary return on the $10,000 buy in is unlikely to get on Pierce’s nerves – he was paid just below US$17 million by the Celtics last season and will make a little over US$15.3 next season. That does not include the millions of dollars in sponsorship endorsements he also earns per year.
Despite his huge earnings, the money factor is unlikely to have been Pierce’s motivation for entering the event. The Truth has found a hobby that is the polar opposite of the physical game that is basketball, where an NBA player must put up with a rigorous travel and playing schedule for at least six months per year.
While like the NBA, the top echelons of poker are also high pressure; most of it is mental, which is likely a welcome change for a seasoned NBA veteran like Pierce. Despite the fact he didn’t finish in the money in the Pot Limit Omaha event, his performance in the tourney showed he has what it takes to make a possible career in poker after his NBA life
Russian Alexey Rybin has the chip lead going into the third and final day of the event, with a stack of 977,000 chips to his name. 2010 WSOP Main Event winner Jonathan Duhamel is seventh on the chip ladder going into Day 3 of the event.