WSOP: John Racener Wins First Bracelet, Millionaire Maker Underway

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On Saturday, John Racener won his first bracelet and dedicated the victory to his late mom (WSOP photo)

Saturday saw two gold bracelets won at the 2017 World Series of Poker. It also saw two events with massive fields record another day in the books. Without further ado, here’s a run through all of Saturday’s action.

John Racener wins first bracelet in $10K Dealer’s Choice Championship

“I’ve been wanting this forever. I’ve got so many seconds and thirds. I have over $10 million in earnings, but no gold. I’ve just been wanting to win so bad. I didn’t even look at the prize pool. I didn’t even know what first place was. I just wanted to win the bracelet. It’s all I really cared about. I don’t show much emotion, but when I finally got it, then it was time to celebrate.”

Those are the passionate words of an emotional John Racener, the 2010 WSOP Main Event runner up, and your latest 2017 WSOP bracelet winner.

Racener’s first taste of WSOP victory came in the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Championship, a coveted event which attracted 102 of poker’s best. When it got down to a final table, there were still several big names remaining including two-time bracelet winner Viacheslav Zhukov, four-time bracelet winner Mike Matusow, and 2013 One Drop High Roller runner-up Chris Klodnicki.

Schuyler Thornton was the first to leave the final table, followed by the Mouth in fifth. Matusow met his demise in an A-5 Triple Draw hand with Klodnicki on the button. By the third draw Matusow was all-in against Zhukov, who then showed the wheel. Matusow mucked and was eliminated.

Dennis Eichhorn then busted to Racener in fourth. Eichhorn had chosen to play Pot-Limit 2-7 Lowball, and a pre-draw raising war saw him get all his chips in. In the first draw, Eichhorn took two and Racener took one, before Racener stood pat after the second. Eichhorn tanked and eventually drew one card, which he’d do again on the third draw after Racener stood pat again. Racener showed an eight-six, and Eichhorn was unknowingly drawing dead on the third draw.

Klodnicki busted in a pretty standard No Limit Hold’em hand, selected by Racener. He shoved his short stack with the Ts9s and was called by Racener holding the dominating QdTd, which held up.

Sticking with what Racener considers his “best game”, he’d then win it in a No Limit Hold’em hand – the very first pot of heads-up play. Racener shoved with ace-jack and was Zhukov called with pocket sevens, and a jack on the flop (plus another on the river) was all she wrote.

“You have to plan for success,” Racener said after his win. “I always said to myself that I wanted to win my first bracelet for my Mom. She’s always been my biggest fan, and she still is from up above.”

Racener’s mom passed away four years ago, having been diagnosed with cancer during her son’s 2010 Main Event run. However, Racener says she kept her illness a secret from him, so that he could be in the “best spot” to do well in the Main Event. “That’s how much she cared about me. She didn’t want me to be all upset or lose focus.

“No matter what time of the day it was back home, with the three-hour time span, she would always stay up and sweat me online all night. Even if she had to get up for work at 8 am She would stay up and sweat me until she had to go to work. I just really wanted to win the first one for her.”

Final Table Payouts

  1. John Racener – $273,962
  2. Viacheslav Zhukov – $169,323
  3. Chris Klodnicki – $117,786
  4. Dennis Eichhorn – $83,263
  5. Mike Matusow – $59,827
  6. Schuyler Thornton – $43,707
  7. Eric Crain – $32,474
  8. James Obst – $32,474
  9. Ben Yu – $24,546
  10. Shawn Buchanan – $24,546

Anthony Marquez takes the gold in Event #16: $1,500 Six Max No Limit Hold’Em

Anthony Marquez won the first bracelet of his career Saturday in the ,500 Six Max No Limit Hold’em (WSOP photo)

The second first-time champion to be crowed yesterday was Anthony Marquez, who came out on top in Event #16, the $1,500 Six Max No Limit Hold’Em tournament.

This one got 1,748 runners, so naturally there was going to be some stiff competition in the latter stages. That was certainly the case, as Marquez found himself on a final table which included Matt Berkey and Daniel Weinman.

However, Berkey would bust out in fifth, following the elimination of Ilkin Amirov in sixth. The short-stacked Berkey moved all-in with the Qs9s, which was tank-called by Marquez holding the Ad3s. The AsJs8h flop was an interesting one, giving Berkey a flush and gutshot draw, while Marquez hit top pair. However, the board ran out Ah then Jd, securing Marquez the knockout.

We then had a double elimination, after Steven Buckner, Weinman and Marquez had a three-way all-in encounter. It was pocket jacks for Buckner, pocket kings for Weinman, and ace-king for Marquez; and after a brutal 9d5h3c2c4h runout, Marquez had made the wheel to eliminate both players.

Heads-up play would end thanks to a bit of a cooler. On a ten-high flop, Demosthenes Kiriopoulos got all his money in with jack-ten, but found himself dominated by Marquez holding king-ten. He couldn’t find any help, and Marquez – a $100/$200 and $200/$400 Limit Hold’em cash grinder – took it down.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said Marquez, afterwards. “I’m kind of speechless. I’ve been knocking on the door. [I’ve made] a lot of Day 2’s and now I’m over the hump. It feels so good. It’s a dream come true.”

Final Table Payouts

  1. Anthony Marquez – $393,273
  2. Demosthenes Kiriopoulos – $242,978
  3. Daniel Weinman – $170,477
  4. Steven Buckner – $121,114
  5. Matt Berkey – $87,141
  6. Ilkin Amirov – $63,506

Final table set in $565 PLO

There were plenty of well-known casualties during Day 2 of Event #18, the $565 PLO. That’s because this event, which attracted a field of 3,186, broke the record for the largest ever live PLO tournament.

The likes of Chris Ferguson, Dermot Blain, Erick Lindgren, Will Failla, Jason Mercier, Ankush Mandavia, Mark Radoja, JC Tran, Adam Owen, and Joey Ingram all made the money, but none could reach the bag-and-tag stage.

Only nine players return for Sunday’s Day 3. They’re all playing for a $224,344 first-place prize; here’s how they stack up:

Final Table Chip Counts

  1. Jessie Bryant – 3,245,000
  2. Igor Sharaskin – 2,010,000
  3. Scott Davies – 1,765,000
  4. Yves Kupfermunz – 1,745,000
  5. Jason Stockfish – 1,650,000
  6. Ryan Wince – 1,610,000
  7. Marek Ohnisko – 1,340,000
  8. Tyler Smith – 1,335,000
  9. John Dallaire – 1,210,000

Millionaire Maker and $1,500 8-Game Mix get going

Day 1A of the $1,500 Millionaire Maker kicked off with a bang on Saturday, with 3,439 players taking their seats – more than last year’s 3,088 1A turnout.

Just 535 of those runners will return for Day 2, and the man out in front right now is Boris Kolev with 290,700, followed by Barry Hutter (259,900), Scott Skirba (207,500), Michael Falson (191,700), Darwin Giles (185,000), Kevin Saul(146,200), and Jonas Wexler (150,000).

Joe Cada (66,700) and ElkY (60,200) also made it through, but some of the notable names who didn’t include Carlos Mortenson, Liv Boeree, Melanie Weisner, Greg Raymer, Andy Frankenberger, Eddy Sabat, Olivier Busquet, Jeff Madsen, Chris Ferguson, Ari Engel, and Sam Abernathy.

However, all of them can have another shot at the $1M first-place prize as they can enter Day 1B today (Sunday).

Day 1A top counts:

  1. Boris Kolev – 290,700
  2. Barry Hutter – 259,900
  3. Scott Skriba – 207,500
  4. Michael Falcon Ravn – 191,700
  5. Darwin Giles – 185,000
  6. Frank Stepuchin – 180,700
  7. Andre Garcia – 169,300
  8. Rick Jones – 154,300
  9. Jonas Wexler – 153,200
  10. Kevin Saul – 146,200

Meanwhile, it was also Day 1 of Event #21 – the $1,500 8-Game Mix 6-Handed, which brought in 472 players. When the bags were brought out, just 106 had survived.

Christiopher Vitch leads the bunch, but has stiff competition from the likes of Alex Luneau, Daniel Negreanu, Sam Grafton, David ‘ODB’ Baker, Shaun Deeb and Fabrice Soulier, all of whom sit in the top 10 counts.

There will be $145,577 for the winner, and here are those closest right now:

  1. Christopher Vitch – 98,700
  2. Alex Luneau – 72,400
  3. Daniel Negreanu – 57,300
  4. Ron Elkins – 55,900
  5. Sam Grafton – 49,800
  6. David “ODB” Baker – 49,600
  7. Carol Fuchs – 48,000
  8. Shaun Deeb – 44,800
  9. Christopher Kirk – 44,600
  10. Fabrice Soulier – 44,000