Two Players Disqualified from 2019 WSOP Main Event

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WSOP Main Event
On Friday, two players were disqualified from the 2019 WSOP Main Event (photo: WSOP/Tomas Stacha)

Two players were disqualified from the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event on Friday. The disqualifications stemmed from separate situations early on during the final starting flight of the event. As a result, both players forfeited the $10,000 buy-in.

Both disqualifications occurred in the first level of play on Friday and took place in different rooms where the tournament was being played. In the Brasilia Room, at a table featuring Pennsylvania‘s Joe McKeehen, winner of the 2015 WSOP Main Event, a player was reported to have reached over and grab the chips of a neighboring player, pulling them into his own stack. Tournament officials, including Jack Effel, vice president of the WSOP, addressed the situation promptly and ruled that the player would be disqualified from the 2019 WSOP Main Event.

In the Pavilion Room at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino, a second player was disqualified for inappropriate actions. According to those in the area, the player was all in blind and began yelling while standing next to the table, causing quite a scene. The player proceeded to pull down his shorts with his back facing the table and yell some more.

Patrick Eskandar, who was involved in the hand, informed PocketFives that the all-in player had actually moved all in blind before any of the cards were dealt. According to Eskandar, once the cards were dealt out, the all-in player also briefly exposed his cards to reveal queen-three. A player to act before the all-in player, received a ruling and was informed that the all-in bet would stand if no raise was made ahead of the all-in player. This player then limped in forcing the blind all-in bet to stand.

Action moved to Eskandar and he thought over his decision but told PocketFives that he was more concerned with the limper than the blind shove. He knew the player who shoved blind had queen-three, but, due to the ruling, felt the player who limped could be trapping. While Eskandar was thinking, the player who was all-in blind removed his shoes and socks and even threw a shoe towards Eskandar, with the shoe landing in the dealer tray. Eskandar then folded his hand, which was pocket fives.

The player who limped exposed his hand to show that he had ace-three, which dominated the all-in player’s queen-three. Much to the surprise of Eskandar and those in the area who were watching, he didn’t expose his hand as a call. He folded his hand face up. This allowed the all-in player to win the blinds and antes before he was disqualified and promptly removed from the tournament and property.

“While these incidents are unfortunate, they do happen every year,” WSOP officials told PocketFives. “We disqualify players who violate rules and in the case of the individual who stole another players chips, he’s lost the privilege of playing at the WSOP in the future, too. We have zero tolerance for theft of any kind.

“Anyone who is disqualified has the right to appeal to the local gaming authorities. We keep and present surveillance footage of these incidents when necessary. But our decision to trespass an individual means they lose their rights to visit any Caesars Entertainment property in the future.”

Tournament officials confirmed to PocketFives that the two disqualified players from this year’s event forfeit their tournament buy-ins and their chips were removed from play. The money from each buy-in stays in the event’s prize pool. No names were provided as it is likely that a future investigation will take place.

The buy-in to the WSOP Main Event is $10,000 and there are more than 7,000 entries in the 2019 field. The 2018 WSOP Main Event champion, John Cynn, earned a staggering $8.8 million in first-place prize money with each of the final nine players taking home more than $1 million.

*Story updated Saturday, July 6.