WSOP: LaPlante and Porter Grab Gold, Lederer Return Steals Spotlight

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Ryan LaPlante won his first WSOP bracelet Saturday night in the 5 Pot Limit Omaha event (WSOP photo)

Ryan LaPlante overcame the biggest Pot Limit Omaha field in live poker history to win his first World Series of Poker bracelet and Rep Porter won his third career bracelet Saturday night at the 2016 WSOP, but it was the return of one of poker’s most loathed individuals that caused the biggest roar. Howard Lederer ended his self-imposed exile from the live tournament scene when he showed up in the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship event.

Lederer had been away from live tournament poker since Black Friday shut down Full Tilt Poker and exposed the company’s financial distress. In many cases, players went years without getting their funds back and Lederer, the de facto CEO of Full Tilt, settled with the U.S. government in December 2012. Lederer’s return was expected by most after he released a statement prior to the WSOP apologizing for what happened at Full Tilt. Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson, another Full Tilt Poker founder, has cashed twice already this year after making his own return from a five-year hiatus.

Meanwhile, Daniel Negreanu, who had made the final table of the $1,500 Razz event came up just short in the quest for his seventh career bracelet.

Event #12: Ryan LaPlante Gets First Bracelet in $565 Pot Limit Omaha

Ryan LaPlante eliminated seven of the final right players to stand alone atop the largest Pot Limit Omaha tournament of all time Saturday night to win the first WSOP bracelet of his career and $190,328.

“The World Series of Poker is the biggest thing in poker. If you don’t have a gold bracelet, to some degree some people don’t consider you as good. They’ll say, ‘Oh he’s so good, but he doesn’t have the bracelet’,” said LaPlante. “To get something like this that I have been working so hard for, for such a long time, and going through sweats, is just incredible.”

The only player(s) at the final table sent to the rail at the hands of somebody other than LaPlante was Adil Khan busted in seventh after losing a hand to the player who began the day as chip leader Sean Shah. After a 90-minute heads up battle, Shah, who began the final table with the chip lead, was LaPlante’s final victim. LaPlante praised Sean’s final table game play.

“Sean’s a very skilled PLO player. I knew I had to be careful with him,” said LaPlante. “Honestly, a lot of what I was doing when it got down to 3 or 4 players I had picked up from him. I started to do what he was doing.”
The closest LaPlant had come to a bracelet before Saturday was a fifth place finish in a $3,000 No Limit Hold’em event in 2014 and the $190,328 first place cash is by far the biggest of his live career.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Ryan LaPlante – $190,328
  2. Sean Shah – $117,531
  3. Tesfaldet Tekle – $85,870
  4. Richard St. Peter – $63,304
  5. Charles Coultas – $47,092
  6. Adil Khan – $35,353
  7. Matt Livingston – $26,786
  8. Darryll Fish – $20,484
  9. Grant Ellis – $15,813

Event #13: Rep Porter Wins Third Bracelet in $1500 Razz

Rep Porter now has three WSOP bracelets after his win in the ,500 Razz event (WSOP photo)

When the final table of the $1,500 Razz event began all eyes were on poker’s biggest star, Daniel Negreanu, who was gunning for his sixth career bracelet. While the spotlight was firmly on Negreanu though, Rep Porter went to work and eventually found himself posing for winner photos after taking down the event for his third career bracelet, and second in Razz.

Porter beat another two-time bracelet winner, Michael Gathy, heads up to win the bracelet and the $142,624 first place prize money. Despite now having three bracelets, Porter sees poker as a way to live a life that a normal job wouldn’t and yet he has no interest in becoming a poker celebrity.

“I feel perfectly content going home and disappearing when it’s all over. I don’t aspire to have fame. I play poker because it gives me lots of personal freedom. It gives me time to spend with my family. It gives me time to do the things I like to do outside of poker,” said Porter. “I can work hard now at the Series for the next seven weeks, and then I can take the next five weeks off after it’s done. Poker affords me a lot of opportunity to do the things I like to do in life and it’s a pretty decent living. The game’s been good to me.”
Porter now has $2,419,781*in lifetime WSOP earnings with $353,239 coming from Razz tournaments. The only two Razz cashes he has are victories. Porter beat out 362 other players in 2011 to win a $2,500 Razz event. While some people dislike the game, Porter sees the game differently.

“A lot of people think Razz is a stone luck game, but I think it takes lots of skill,” Porter said. “It feels good to win the same tournament again. It kind of validates that you’re good at that game.”

Shaun Deeb, a former #1-ranked player on PocketFives, finished eighth for $12,006

Final Table Payouts

  1. Rep Porter – $142,624
  2. Michael Gathy – $88,146
  3. Alexey Makarov – $60,309
  4. Daniel Negreanu – $42,030
  5. Brendan Taylor – $29,846
  6. Valentin Vornicu – $21,604
  7. Daniel Weinman – $15,945
  8. Shaun Deeb – $12,006

Event #14: Payout Controversy Talk of the Day in $1500 Millionaire Maker Day 1B

A day after the second-smallest starting flight in Millionaire Maker history, 4,102 players filed into Day 1B of the $1,500 buy-in event for the second largest starting flight in the four-year history of the event. There were 667 players who made it through their opening flight, lead by Shalev Halfa, who bagged up 250,700 but the chip leader wasn’t what everybody was talking about Saturday night.

When registration closed, the payouts were announced and left a few people stunned and disappointed. First place pays $1,065,403 while the runner-up walks away with $1,000,000 – just a $65,000 pay jump. Third place wins $500,000 – a $500,000 pay jump between second and third. David Tuthill was one of a number of players to question the payouts on Twitter.

When the tournament structure was originally announced, both first and second were guaranteed to win at least $1,000,000 – but most players seemed to be expecting more natural pay jumps for the top of the payouts.

Final Table Payouts
1st – $1,065,403
2nd – $1,000,000
3rd – $500,000
4th – $366,787
5th – $276,632
6th – $210,112
7th – $160,725
8th – $123,828
9th – $96,091

Despite the strong Day 1B turnout, the 2016 Millionaire Maker is the second smallest ever with 7,190 players. The inaugural event in 2013 drew 6,343 total runners. The event peaked the next year with 7,977 players. Last year, with Colossus drawing a number of recreational players away, the event drew 7,275 players – down almost 9%.

Millionaire Maker Starting Field Sizes
2013 Day 1A: 3,713
2013 Day 1B: 2,630
TOTAL: 6,343
2014 Day 1A: 3,255
2014 Day 1B: 4,722
TOTAL: 7,977
2015 Day 1A: 3,347
2015 Day 1B: 3,928
TOTAL: 7,275
2016 Day 1A: 3,088
2016 Day 1B: 4,102
TOTAL: 7,190

Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Shalev Halfa – 250,700
  2. Kevin Powell – 191,200
  3. Paul Lieu – 183,400
  4. Denny Lee – 178,800
  5. Jan Suchanek – 176,900
  6. Lisa Meredith – 164,700
  7. Peter Eichhardt – 157,400
  8. Tamas Lendvai – 152,700
  9. Joe Clay – 152,300
  10. Matthew Shepsky – 151,300

Event #15: Paul Volpe Leading Final 11 in $1500 Eight Game Mix

Paul Volpe, another former #1-ranked player on PocketFives, has already had one close call this summer with a fourth place finish in the $1,500 Dealers Choice event, but with 11 players left in the $1,500 Eight Game Mix, Volpe has the chip lead. Volpe finished Day 2 with 586,500 – just 7,500 more than Anthony Lazar.

Bart Lybaert, who already has four WSOP cashes this year, sits sixth with 345,000. Gavin Smith and Chris Klodnicki are also among the final 11.

Day 2 started with 107 players. Some of those who were eliminated but managed to cash include David ‘ODB’ Baker (14th – $6,188), Brandon Cantu (16th – $6,188) and Barry Greenstein (20th – $4,934). Another player who managed to find his first cash of the summer was Jason Somerville.

The leader of Run It Up Nation eventually busted out in 24th place for $4,934.

The final 11 players return at 2 PM to play down to a winner.

Final 11 Chip Counts

  1. Paul Volpe – 586,500
  2. Anthony Lazar – 558,000
  3. Ron Ware – 504,000
  4. Jason Stockfish – 457,500
  5. Benjamin Ludlow – 415,000
  6. Bart Lybaert – 345,000
  7. Gavin Smith – 247,000
  8. Tommy Coker – 236,500
  9. Chris Klodnicki – 175,500
  10. Matthew Honig – 146,000
  11. Marc Berman – 33,500

Event #16: Howard Lederer Finally Shows Up in $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven

Howard Lederer’s debut at the 2016 WSOP in the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven event stole the headlines early but eventually the prestige of the event took over – and so did Alex Luneau. The French poker pro finished Day 1 with 454,000 and a decent lead of the rest of the field.

The event, which allowed players a single re-entry this year, drew 100 entries with only 34 of them making it through the night. Not surprisingly, the group chasing Luneau features a number of bracelet winners. Mike Matusow (367,000), George Danzer (313,800) and Brian Hastings (290,600) are all within striking distance of Luneau.

Not long after busting out of the $1,500 Razz event in fourth, Negreanu entered the event and bagged up 172,100 at the end of the night.

Some of the other notables who managed to survive the first ten levels of play included Jason Mercier, Anthony Zinno and Nick Schulman.

Lederer did managed to make it to Day 2, but only managed to carry 20,300 through to Day 2. Only Stuart Rutter, who finished with 6,900, ended with a smaller stack.

Phil Hellmuth however wasn’t so fortunate. The 14-time bracelet winner was a Day 1 casualty and took to Twitter to vent his frustration with how the WSOP is going for him so far.

Day 2 begins at 2 PM PT and will play another ten levels.

Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Alex Luneau – 454,000
  2. Mike Matusow – 367,600
  3. George Danzer – 313,800
  4. Brian Hastings – 290,600
  5. Herezel Zalewski – 204,800
  6. David Grey – 196,900
  7. Usman Siddique – 193,100
  8. Todd Barlow – 190,600
  9. Mike Watson – 184,000
  10. Frank Kassela – 173,900