When PocketFives published the final list of 48 playersentering Sunday’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) Big One for One Drop event, two seats were reserved for qualifiers. After both had played out, 12-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (pictured) and Danish pro Gus Hansen punched their tickets in. Moreover, Shaun shaundeeb Deeb will serve as an alternate.
Late Saturday night, WSOP Vice President of Communications Seth Palansky posted on Twitter, “Wow… @phil_hellmuth scoops the MGM satellite seat… he is officially 1 of the 48 in Big One for One Drop @RioVegas! ESPN’s Gary Wise echoed, “Huge congratulations to @phil_hellmuth, who just got into One Drop via sat at MGM. Have to say, it wouldn’t have been the same without him.”
The MGM seat was reserved for the “MGM Resorts International VIP Winner.” According to Hellmuth’s Twitter feed, players in the running for it included Shawn Buchanan, Sammy Farha, Chau Giang, and Justin Boosted J Smith, the latter of whom was on the list of entrants released on Saturday.
When we last heard from Hellmuth about his chances of buying into the Big One for One Drop, he had 60% of the funds needed. To that end, four days ago, he posted on Twitter, “$600,000 so far for the WSOP $1 million One Drop, I need $400K more. If anyone wants to buy a big piece of $50K or more, let me know.”
The $25,000 One Drop satellite seat went to Hansen, who defeated a field of 96 players at the Rio. The Dane edged out Deeb (pictured) heads-up for the $1 million ticket. Deeb was placed at the bottom of the alternate list in case there is availability on Sunday, but according to PokerNews, “The consensus seems to be that Deeb won’t get into the event, and in that case, he’ll be awarded the [$1 million] cash.”
Hellmuth’s presence seemed to boost the poker community’s interest in the $1 million One Drop event even further. One poster on Two Plus Two, “Trombone1027,” shared, “I cannot tell you how much more interesting this tournament just got for me.” The One Drop tournament will award a top prize of $18 million, the richest in the history of sports sans boxing.
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What went down in the MGM qualifier was discussed on Sunday morning. Kevin kevmathMathers Tweeted, “Appears Hellmuth ‘bought’ the MGM seat, giving percentages in 1drop to top 8 in MGM VIP tourney.” Mathers also Tweeted about the heads-up match between Deeb and Hansen: “re: Hansen v Shaun Deeb, Gus wanted to play 1drop more than Deeb, so Shaun lost on purpose HU.”
Regarding Mathers’ comments about Deeb tanking, with stacks nearly even heads-up in the One Drop Rio qualifier, coverage on PokerNews detailed, “On the first hand back from the unscheduled break, Shaun Deeb raised to 3.24 million and left himself with just one 5,000 chip. Gus Hansen (pictured) called and the flop came down A-Q-10. Hansen bet 25,000 and Deeb quickly folded. Deeb dropped down to just a mere 5,000 in chips, while Hansen moved to 7.195 million.”
When Hansen captured the One Drop seat, Deeb Tweeted, “Oh yah ship a mil btw. If I have to play, will be selling at face, let me know if you’re interested through text or dm.” Mathers alluded to a potential deal that may have taken place in the satellite when five players remained.
Several poker pros commented on Deeb’s actions, including Mike Matusow, who asked on Twitter, “Anyone who thinks what @ShaunDeeb did was wrong is just a plain idiot, do you play a stupid poker tournament or take a million #takethemillion.”
HogWild Poker‘s Greg Friend told PocketFives, “Hellmuth will definitely make the One Drop event a lot more entertaining to watch. This is sure to be one for the ages.”
According to bwin‘s betting market, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, and Jonathan Duhamel are among the favorites to win the One Drop title, a WSOP bracelet, and $18 million. Each is going off at 13:1.
The tournament begins at 1:11pm PT on Sunday and its final table will air on ESPN2 on Tuesday starting at 1:00pm PT.