Three events kicked off the action on a busy opening day of the 2021 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas as the Rio returns to poker action for what is heavily rumored to be the final time.
With the $500 Casino Employees event offering the first ‘Shuffle Up and Deal!’ of the series and $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. and $1,000 COVID-19 Relief Charity events also taking place, there was something for every bankroll on opening day.
Eveslage the Leader in $25,000 H.O.R.S.E.
With 73 entries, the $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event #2 attracted some of the best mixed games players in poker, with former #1-ranked Shaun Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, and Matthew Ashton all pitching up to take part from the off. After over 11 hours at the felt, just 47 players remained, with Chad Eveslage well clear of the chasing pack on 860,000 chips.
Eveslage, who has never won a WSOP bracelet, was top of the pile by a long way from his nearest challengers of John Monette (589,500) and Jean Gaspard (569,000) and will head into Day 2 in pole position to make a run at the title of this all-new three-day event.
Cary Katz was the first player to bust, with Mike Gorodinsky sending Katz home in a Stud Hi-Lo hand where Gorodinsky’s sevens and deuces triumphed. There were strong opening days at the felt for Mike Matusow (421,500), Deeb (321,000), and Negreanu (270,000), all of whom finished above average. Elsewhere, 15-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (206,000) and legendary WSOP commentator Norman Chad (150,500) both made the cut.
Registration is still open until the first card hits the felt when Day 2 resumes at 2 pm Vegas time, so with a prize pool that is sure to grow, there is plenty of excitement ahead for a thrilling event.
Event #2 $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. Top 10 Chip Counts:
- Chad Eveslage – 860,000
- John Monnette – 589,500
- Jean Gaspard – 569,000
- Jesse Klein – 490,500
- Mike Matusow – 420,500
- Adam Friedman – 420,500
- Chris Vitch – 371,500
- Shaun Deeb – 321,000
- Hal Rotholz – 314,000
- Randy Ohel – 295,000
Just Five Remain In Event For COVID Relief
Event #3, the $1,000-entry COVID-19 Relief Charity took place with 266 players taking to the felt, creating a prize pool of $205,400 and a top prize of $54,844. With 39 players paid, play went down to the final five, with the great and good gathering to play poker and donate money to help those who are most vulnerable at the same time, with the eventual chip leader, Jesse Lonis, ending the night on 2,285,000 chips.
Plenty of big names busted outside the money, including three-time WSOP winner Adrian Mateos, fellow three-time winner Upeshka De Silva, and Maurice Hawkins. Hovering halfway down the chip counts for much of Day 1 but also failing to make the money was a former World Champion in the shape of Ryan Riess, who had a serendipitous seat to welcome him to the Rio, the scene of his greatest triumph, with a cameo from legendary WSOP bracelet winner Ron McMillen to boot.
— Ryan Riess (@RyanRiess1) October 1, 2021
Once the bubble burst, players such as Ali Imsirovic (32nd for $1,590) Ryan Laplante (31st for $1,590), Pavel Plesuv (26th for $1,817), Shannon Shorr (21st for $1,817), Dylan Linde (20th for $1,817), Ryan Riess (18th for $2,000) and Matt Stout (16th for $2,000) all making the money but missing out on the final table.
In the end, of the five players who remain, it was Lonis who led. With just four players between Lonis and a WSOP bracelet – including Jeremy Ausmus and former #1-ranked Steve Gross – it’s only Lonis and Asher Coniff yet to win WSOP bracelets.
Event #3 COVID-19 Charity Event Final Table Chip Counts:
- Jesse Lonis – 2,285,000
- Jeremy Ausmus – 1,345,000
- Asher Conniff – 755,000
- Steve Gross – 485,000
- Mitchell Halverson – 385,000
“Shuffle Up And Deal”
The $500-entry Casino Employees Event kicked off the 2021 WSOP in style, with 419 entries making a prize pool of $175,980. Leo Abbe led the field after the day’s conclusion, sitting on a massive pile of 537,000 chips, with Shaun Weintraub (474,000) and Roberto Reyna (461,000) his closest challengers in an all-American top 10.
One player who enjoyed his day at the felt in the first event of the series was Jesse Fullen, who provided commentary on the WSOP Online series for thousands of poker fans to enjoy this summer. Fullen began as he meant to go on, busting a player early then continuing to run up his stack throughout the opening day, ending on 223,000 chips, well above the average.
Jon Aguiar was also riding high in the event and advocated the positive atmosphere as one of the benefits of playing in the opening event.
The casino employees event is the best @WSOP event of the year by an insane margin. Everyone is happy. Nobody berates the dealers. Nobody watching netflix on iPads. Wish I could play this every day
— Jon Aguiar (@JonAguiar) October 1, 2021
Aguiar busted in 102nd place, outside the money, but he had good company, with former event winner Chad Holloway and Garry Gates, who finished fourth in the 2019 WSOP Main Event both failing to make the money too.
With the money bubble bursting on Day 1, just 63 players made a profit on their investment. The bubble didn’t last long and when it burst, Chris Moon was the man eclipsed by the field as he busted with pocket nines to Jason Smith’s ace-ten, with both an ace and ten on the flop doing the fatal damage. In the end, just 50 players remained, with Smith making the top 10 and Abbe the chip leader heading into Day 2 of the opening event with the remaining players battling for a $39,013 top prize.
Event #1 $500 Casino Employees Event Top 10 Chip Counts:
- Leo Abbe – 537,000
- Shawn Weintraub – 474,000
- Roberto Reyna – 461,000
- Andrew Bart – 422,000
- Akash Desai – 415,000
- Jack Behrens – 363,000
- Marco Starnoni – 363,000
- Jason Smith – 351,000
- James Barnett – 343,000
- Daniel Kim – 337,000