WSOP: Heath & Zack Win Bracelets, $50K Controversy, Short Deck Grows

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Ben Heath added his name to the long list of WSOP bracelet winners on Tuesday (WSOP photo)

For the first time at the 2019 World Series of Poker, there were two bracelets awarded in a single day as Ben Heath and Dan Zack each picked up the first WSOP title of their careers on Monday. Those were just two of the seven events on the schedule that included another Day 2 in the Big 50, an influx of players in the $10,000 Short Deck, and another massive No Limit Hold’em tournament.

And it just wouldn’t be the WSOP if there wasn’t a drama bomb in the first week.

Ben Heath Avoids Controversial Ending, Wins $50K High Roller

Ben Heath started the final table of the $50,000 High Roller event on Monday with the chip lead and while he didn’t hold onto it the entire night, he had it when it mattered most; at the end.

Heath beat a final table that included Chance Kornuth, Nick Petrangelo, Sam Soverel and finally Andrew Lichtenberger heads-up to claim the $1,484,085 first place prize and the first bracelet of his career.

“It feels a lot better than I thought it would,” Heath said. “When I was younger, I was shy and didn’t really want to win the bracelet. I would have rather just taken second place. But now that it has happened, it feels great!”

The final table provided the first controversial moment of the WSOP though. Down to four players, Soverel folded out of turn while waiting for Heath to respond to an all-in shove for Yurasov. The moment soon caught the eye of high roller regular Isaac Haxton who took to Twitter.

Haxton’s tweet set off a firestorm of responses on both sides of the issues from players who have played against Soverel in tournaments around the world.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Ben Heath $1,484,085
  2. Andrew Lichtenberger – $917,232
  3. Sam Soverel – $640,924
  4. Dmitry Yurasov – $458,138
  5. Nick Petrangelo – $335,181
  6. Chance Kornuth – $251,128

Dan Zack Takes Down $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw

Experience pays off at the WSOP and as the final table of the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw event played down to a winner, Dan Zack relied heavily on his experience playing a lot of short-handed Triple Draw games over the past few years. It paid off handsomely for the 26-year-old New Jersey poker player as he beat Sumir Mathur heads-up to win $160,447 and the first bracelet of his career.

“Draw games are my favorite games and probably my best games. I’ve probably played more hands of three-handed and heads-up draw than I’ve played of anything else in the last couple of years. I’ve played a ton of short-handed triple draw and Badugi online, so this is a cool event to take down,” Zack said after his win.

There were 13 players at the start of the day that felt like they had a shot at the bracelet. Bryce Yockey, Andrew Brown, Mark Gregorich and Mike Gorodinsky were just some of the talented players that busted before the final table.

Jake Schwartz, who started Day 2 with the chip lead, busted in sixth.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Dan Zack – $160,447
  2. Sumir Mathur – $99,153
  3. Brayden Gazlay – $65,217
  4. Jon Turner – $43,984
  5. Jesse Hampton – $30,437
  6. Jake Schwartz – $21,625

Saya Ono Gets Through Big 50 Day 1C on Top

Saya Ono, a Southern California cash game regular, went from all in on the bubble to end-of-day chip leader on Tuesday. Ono bagged up 3,810,000 and is one of just two players who finished with more than 3,000,000 in chips. The other is Britain’s Benjamin Dobson (3,560,000).

The day started with 1,504 players and ended with 404 players putting chips in a bag.

Notables who are still alive include Isaac Baron, Asher Conniff, Men Nguyen, Rex Clinkscales, Ari Engel, Eric Baldwin, Matt Stout, and Jared Griener.

Those players moving on to Day 3, will now wait until Wednesday to resume play as the Day 1D survivors get their shot to move on to Tuesday.

Prize pool information for the Big 50 should be announced early Tuesday morning.

Top 10 Chip Counts

  1. Saya Ono – 3,810,000
  2. Benjamin Dobson – 3,560,000
  3. Nelson Rose – 2,915,000
  4. Ubaid Habib – 2,600,000
  5. Danny Ehrenberger – 2,440,000
  6. Catherine Valdes – 2,430,000
  7. Renato Manalo – 2,360,000
  8. Samuel Welbourne – 2,275,000
  9. Janae Pham – 2,250,000
  10. Jiehao Zhu – 2,230,000

$10,000 Short Deck No Limit Hold’em Gets Boost

A lot of the talk on Day 1 of the $10,000 Short Deck event was centered around the lack of turnout. Just 61 players showed up on Sunday for the opening day but with two hours of late registration on Monday, another 53 entries boosted the field to 114 total players.

Some of the players who took advantage of the late registration included Shaun Deeb, Ryan Riess, Ben Yu, Daniel Negreanu, Alex Foxen, Rainer Kempe, Andrew Robl, and Phil Hellmuth.

Busting out of the $50,000 High Roller didn’t seem to impact Chance Kornuth too much. He walked right over to this event and ran up his stack to 2,163,000 and heads into Wednesday’s final table as the chip leader. Alex Epstein and Yong Wang sit second and third respectively and were the only other players to finish with a seven-figure stack.

Pennsylvania poker pro Thai Ha has the shortest remaining stack and will have his work cut out for him if he hopes to spin it up on Tuesday.

Players who cashed on Monday but failed to advance to Tuesday include Bill Perkins, Kane Kalas, Alex Foxen, Justin Bonomo, and Galen Hall.

The event was originally scheduled to run four days but given the light Day 1 turnout and the rapid pace of eliminations on Day 2, tournament organizers decided to shorten the event by one day. The final table gets underway at 2 PM PT.

Final Table Chip Counts

  1. Chance Kornuth – 2,163,000
  2. Alex Epstein – 1,275,000
  3. Yong Wang – 1,176,000
  4. Anson Tsang – 975,000
  5. Rene van Krevelen – 563,000
  6. Andrew Robl – 406,000
  7. Thai Ha – 283,000

Big Field Shows for $600 No Limit Hold’em Deepstack

If you thought the days of long line-ups were going to be restricted to the Big 50, you’d be wrong. The first Deepstack event of the 2019 WSOP attracted 6,151 players, many of them coming from the Big 50 after busting out.

The event, which features 20-minute levels, is scheduled to be a two-day event but with 581 players advancing to Day 2, it seems more likely that a third day will be added.

Paul Dhaliwal finished as the chip leader with 1,612,000 chips going in the bag at the end of the night.

Some of the notables who advanced to Day 2 include Jake Schwartz, Bart Lybaert, Daniel Negreanu, Maurice Hawkins, Matt Stout, Ylon Schwartz, and Erik Seidel.

Action gets underway at Noon PT.

Top 10 Chip Counts

  1. Paul Dhaliwal – 1,612,000
  2. Michael Morhaime – 1,275,000
  3. David Elet – 1,255,000
  4. Mohammad Saadeghvazri – 1,215,000
  5. Christopher Battenfield – 1,190,000
  6. Zachary Vankeuren – 1,032,000
  7. Kyle Dover – 951,000
  8. Richard Smith – 922,000
  9. Edvinas Gruzdas – 896,000
  10. Roman Kroupa – 893,000

Jim Collopy Leads $1,500 Dealers Choice After Day 1

A lot of the focus at the WSOP over the past few days has been on No Limit Hold’em, but mixed game aficionados were out in full force Monday afternoon for the $1,500 Dealers Choice event.

Jim Collopy bagged up 84,300 and leads the 178 players who managed to survive Day 1. The event drew 470 players.

Other familiar faces who are moving on to Day 2 include Robert Mizrachi, Dan Shak, WSOP Circuit crusher Valentin Vornicu, Greg Mueller, Ryan Hughes, David ‘ODB’ Baker, Marco Johnson and Dzmitry Urbanovich.

Top 10 Chip Counts

  1. Jim Collopy – 84,300
  2. Danny Noam – 81,100
  3. Jason Stockfish – 79,500
  4. Al Barbieri – 65,800
  5. Nikolai Yakovenko – 63,600
  6. Ryan Leng – 62,800
  7. Tamon Nakamura – 61,100
  8. Cole Jackson – 56,800
  9. Robert Campbell – 56,400
  10. Todd Barlow – 54,900

Dan Smith Leads $5,000 No Limit Hold’em

Straight forward No Limit Hold’em was on the menu as the final event to get underway on Monday. 343 players entered the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event and the high end of the Day 1 chip counts include a who’s who of NLHE bosses.

Dan Smith sits on top of that impressive list with 321,000. Simon Deadman, Darryll Fish, and Faraz Jaka take up the second – fourth place spots behind Smith.

Online poker crusher Arsenii ‘josef_shvejk’ Karmatckii bagged up the fifth biggest stack.

There’s a plethora of well-known players outside of the top 10 chip counts. Dietrich Fast, Niall Farrell, Antoine Saout, Ali Imsirovic, Adrian Mateos, Chris Hunichen, Daniel Strelitz, Ian O’Hara, and Joao Vieira all still have chips and a shot at winning the bracelet.

Registration remains open until the end of Level 12 on Tuesday.

Top 10 Chip Counts

  1. Dan Smith – 321,100
  2. Simon Deadman – 267,000
  3. Darryll Fish – 254,400
  4. Faraz Jaka – 224,600
  5. Arsenii Karmatckii – 221,900
  6. Andreas Eiler – 171,200
  7. Emile Schiff – 170,200
  8. Brett Bader – 158,400
  9. Georgios Kitsios – 154,000
  10. Pedro Oliveira – 137,900