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  1. Tuesday’s action at the 2018 World Series of Poker saw an exciting final table set up for tomorrow, as well as a defending champion put on a strong title defence by making a Day 3. Here’s all you need to know from Tuesday (June 5). Eli Elezra, Paul Volpe Make Six-handed $10K Omaha Eight Championship Final Table There may not have been any bracelets handed out on Tuesday, but the closest event to reach its conclusion is Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better Championship, which is down to a six-handed final table. Its none other than three-time WSOP bracelet winner Eli Elezra who holds a massive chip lead over his fellow finalists. Elezra began Day 3 as chip leader, and it looked like his day was smooth sailing, ultimately ending with 2.7 million. Adam Coats comes in second in chips with 1.82 million, followed by two-time bracelet winner Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe. Volpe won a huge pot against Felipe Ramos during the course of action, when he rivered the nut straight forcing Ramos to muck. Ramos would make a 17th-place exit not long after, falling with two pair to the nut straight of Elezra and Mike Matusow. Kyle Miaso (1.275 million), two-time bracelet winner Viacheslav Zhukov (910,000), and Dustin Dirksen (140,000) round out tomorrow’s final table. Dirksen will need a lot of help to ladder up, coming in with less than three big blinds. Aside from Ramos, plenty of big names departed on this Day 3. Lars Gronning, Daniel Alaei, Scott Bohlman, Nikolai Yakovenko, Chris Bjorin, Mike Gorodinsky, Dylan Linde, Talon White, Steve Chanthabouasy, Jesse Martin, Per Hildebrand, and Dan Zack all went deep but couldn’t find a bag. The last to leave today was Robert Mizrachi. The four-time bracelet winner became final table bubble boy after getting it in with a huge draw in a three-way pot versus Elezra and Volpe, but failing to hit. All six are now guaranteed $69,971 for sixth, but there’s a massive $417,921 awaiting the winner. Action resumes at 2pm Wednesday, so here’s a reminder of those final table stacks: Eli Elezra - 2,700,000 Adam Coats - 1,820,000 Paul Volpe - 1,600,000 Kyle Miaso - 1,275,000 Viacheslav Zhukov - 910,000 Dustin Dirksen - 140,000 Stephen Song, Qui Nguyen Bag Big in $1,500 Big Blind Antes NLHE One of the two new events to get started on Tuesday was Event #13: Big Blind Antes $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, and the format preferred by the high roller world proved very popular at a lower buy-in level too. A total of 1,306 players took a shot in this event, but after ten levels just 224 bagged up chips. Stephen Song was the most successful during that time, building a big stack late in the day and ending with 193,100. Arguably though, its 2016 WSOP Main Event Champion Qui Nguyen who will grab the most headlines, as he finished third in chips with 155,100. Dutch Boyd (151,700) and Vojtech Ruzicka (128,800) also bagged top ten stacks. Other big names advancing to Wednesday’s Day 2 include Romain Lewis (83,300), bracelet winner Ankush Mandavia (73,600), Chance Kornuth (62,800), Jeff Gross (60,300), Alexander Lynskey (55,000), four-time bracelet winner Jeff Madsen (51,600), and six-time bracelet winner Chris Ferguson (15,500). They’re approaching the bubble with 196 players making the money. A min-cash is worth $2,254, while the winner get a healthy $315,346. Play kicks off again at 12pm. Top 10 Day 1 stacks: Stephen Song - 190,300 Stefan Vidojkovic - 160,600 Qui Nguyen - 155,100 Dutch Boyd - 151,700 Vojtech Ruzicka - 128,800 Iraj Parvizi - 128,000 Arthur Conan - 125,500 Victor Hoffman - 112,200 Mario Prats Garcia - 108,500 Colin Robinson - 106,400 Harkin Leads Stacked Dealers Choice Field Into Final Day There’s a whole lot of talent set to return for the third and final day of Event #12: $1,500 Dealer's Choice 6-Handed. A total of 120 players started, but now just 15 remain. Its Jeremy Harkin who comes into Day 3 with the chip lead, bagging up 502,500. He took down an enormous pot versus Chris Klodnicki where he held the nut straight versus Klodnicki’s set. The board didn’t pair on the river, and the 500K pot was shipped Harkin’s way. Klodnicki is still alive though, ending play with 136,000. Other bracelet winners still alive are Chris Bolek (122,500), six-time winner Jeff Lisandro (137,000), two-time winner Chris Vitch (143,500), four-time winner John Hennigan (169,000), Mike Leah (227,000), and two time winner Frankie O’Dell (373,000). And let’s not forget actor James Woods, who bagged a top 10 stack (170,500). Plenty of players departed during Day 2, the most notable of which include Mike Ross, Layne Flack, Jake Schwartz, Mike Sexton, John Monnette, Manig Loeser, Martin Staszko and Allen Kessler. All 15 players are guaranteed a $5,238 payday. However, $129,882, the bracelet, and the glory will be go to the eventual champ. You can find out who that is when play resumes at 2pm Wednesday. Top 10 stacks: Jeremy Harkin - 502,500 Frankie O'Dell - 373,000 Brayden Gazlay - 323,500 George Trigeorgis - 313,000 Mike Leah - 227,000 Scott Abrams - 207,500 James Woods - 170,500 John Hennigan - 169,000 Chris Vitch - 143,500 Jeff Lisandro - 137,000 Alexander Leads After Day 1 of $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball, Defending Champ Kassela Still Alive A field of 260 runners has been whittled down to 56 after the opening day of Event #14 $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball. Its James Alexander who will sleep best tonight after navigating his way to a overnight chip lead of 80,850. [caption id="attachment_619394" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Frank Kassela[/caption] Everyone will be keeping an eye on defending champion Frank Kassela tomorrow though. A solid day’s work sees him return to a stack of 30,225, in the hunt for his fourth bracelet. Other former champions in this event, Steven Wolansky, Christian Pham, and Ryan D’Angelo, will also be back for more tomorrow. There are plenty of other notables still in contention, with Shaun Deeb (77,400), Michael Gathy (59,500), Robert Mizrachi (47,900), Mike Wattel (39,475), Jesse Martin (34,825) Greg Raymer (17,575), Anthony Zinno (14,000), Andrew Kelsall (70,225), Maria Ho (42,500), Jon Turner (29,550), Roland Israelashvili (24,425), Jameson Painter (11,675), and Joao Vieira (8,775) to name a few. First place in this one is $87,678, but first they’ve got to burst the bubble. Just 39 of them will make the money, with a min-cash worth $2,276. Day 2 begins at 2pm Wednesday, and that will be followed by the final Day 3 on Thursday. Here are the top 10 stacks: James Alexander - 80,850 Ajay Chabra - 78,675 Shaun Deeb - 77,400 John Bunch - 76,025 James Morgan - 70,350 Andrew Kelsall - 70,225 Daniel Weinman - 68,000 Cary Moomjian - 63,500 Ray Henson - 62,000 Anson Tsang - 61,000 Day 2 of COLOSSUS Ends With Causa in the Lead After six starting flights, the entire field of the Event #7 the $565 COLOSSUS No-Limit Hold’em was merged for the first time today for Day 2. There 539 players still in contention when the day began, but when all was said and done just 33 remain. Matthew Causa leads the pack with 4.41 million, but he’s closely followed by Thai Ha with 4.095 million. Other notable stacks still alive include Paawan Bansal (3,435,000),Sang Liu (3,339,000), Matt Silva (3,385,000), John Racener (3,010,000), Timothy Miles (2,695,000) and Day 1E chip leader Kurt Jewell (2,260,000) just to name a few. Of course, where there are survivors there must be casualties. Phil Ivey fell to the sidelines today, as did Matt Affleck, Michael Gagliano, and Valentin Vornicu. Day 3 begins at 3pm Wednesday. Here’s a look at the top 10 stacks: Matthew Causa - 4,400,000 Thai Ha - 4,095,000 Paawan Bansal - 3,435,000 Sang Liu - 3,390,000 Matt Silva - 3,385,000 John Racener - 3,010,000 Vincent Bartello - 3,000,000 Joel Wurtzel - 2,880,000 Timothy Miles - 2,700,000 Kurt Jewell - 2,260,000 Tomorrow’s Action (June 6): There are two new events that will be starting on Wednesday. The one we’re most looking forward to is Event #16: $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship. The event, which has been won by the likes of Adrian Mateos (2017), Alan Percal (2016), Keith Lehr (2015), Davide Suriano (2014), Mark Radoja (2013), and Brian Hastings (2012), kicks off at 3pm with a 512-player maximum. Expect the game’s best and brightest to be in for this one. We’ve also got Event #15: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. starting at 11am.
  2. Sunday at the 2018 World Series of Poker was a busy one with thousands of players battling on the felt at the Rio as well as the virtual felt of WSOP.com. It ended up being a big day for France, with both bracelets won on Sunday going to French players. Here's a full recap of what went down on Sunday Julien Martini Lives the Dream by Winning $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Julien Martini used to watch poker on TV in awe of the big names and the even bigger stakes. That was on his mind Sunday afternoon as he beat Kate Hoang to win his first career WSOP bracelet and $239,771. "When I was 14 and I started poker, I was like, ‘Whoa, what kind of guy can win a $1,500 tournament or a $10,000?’," said Martini. "I was dreaming about this for seven years. It’s one of the best things in my life. I’m super proud and very happy." Martini and the other three players who returned to the table on Sunday were supposed to be doing something else. Originally scheduled to end on Saturday, the event needed an extra day to finish thanks to a bigger-than-expected field of 911 players. This is the second time in three years that Hoang finished runner-up in an Omaha Hi-Lo event at the WSOP. In 2016, she finished second to Kyle Bowker in the $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event. Other notables that cashed in the event include Chris Bjorin (17th - $8,296), Daniel Buzgon (18th - $8,296), Mike Leah (30th - $5,605), Jerry Wong (33rd - $5,605), Benny Glaser (63rd - $3,526), John Racener (86th - $2,595). Final Table Payouts Julien Martini - $239,771 Kate Hoang - $148,150 Mack Lee - $104,0164 William Kopp - $74,058 Brandon Ageloff - $53,482 Chad Eveslage - $39,182 Rafael Concepcion - $29,128 Denny Axel - $21,977 Tammer Ilcaffas - $16,832 Nick Petrangelo Leads Final Six into $100,000 Super High Roller Final Table Just five events into the 2018 WSOP, Elio Fox has already won one WSOP bracelet and now he's suddenly at a final table with a chance at a second. But he's not the headliner. Fox sits third in chips at the $100,000 Super High Roller final table behind Nick Petrangelo and Bryn Kenney. Stephen Chidwick, the #1-ranked player on the Global Poker Index, sits sixth. Sunday's play started with 10 players still in contention and Petrangelo was firmly planted at the top and he stayed there as Adrian Mateos, Fedor Holz, Chris Moore and Jason Koon all fell by the wayside. Petrangelo, Kenney and Fox have all won a WSOP bracelet before, while the three players making up the bottom half of the chip counts, Andreas Elier, Aymon Hata, and Chidwick, have not. Play resumes Monday at 6 pm ET and will be streamed on PokerGO. Final Table Chip Counts Nick Petrangelo - 12,200,000 Bryn Kenney - 10,200,000 Elio Fox - 8,620,000 Andreas Eiler - 8,490,000 Aymon Hata - 7,280,000 Stephen Chidwick - 5,740,000 Duta and Alberquerque Have Colossal Days on Sunday Two more starting flights of the $565 Colossus made sure that the tables at the Rio were jam-packed with players of all skill levels taking a shot at a potentially huge return. After 3,495 players played Saturday's two flights, 3,519 more showed up on Sunday. Nobody enjoyed Flight 1C more than Romanian Florian Duta. He bagged up 442,000 - almost twice as much as the next biggest stack from 1C. That stack of 241,000 belongs to WSOP bracelet winner John Racener. While Duta's stack is impressive, Philip Alberquerque did even better later in the day. The American finished Flight 1D with 503,000 and finds himself sitting second overall behind Day 1A leader Anthony Parill, who finished with 607,000. For the 2018 event to reach the 18,054-player field size, Flights 1E and 1F on Monday will need to average 5,520 players each. The final two flights last year had 3,966 and 3,923 players respectively. Day 1C Top 5 Chip Counts Florian Duta - 442,000 John Racener - 241,000 Jong Jin - 238,000 Clayton Maguire - 172,000 Abe Deguzman Jr. - 151,000 Day 1D Top 5 Chip Counts Philip Alberquerque - 503,000 Daniel Cai - 272,000 Alex Foxen - 268,000 Maxime Heroux - 260,000 Ilkin Amirov - 256,000 Chris Vitch in Pole Position For Third Bracelet in Three Years Two years ago, Chris Vitch won his first WSOP bracelet in the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball event. He followed that up in 2017 by winning the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event. Now, he's in position to win his third career bracelet and doing it the event that started his winning trend. Vitch bagged up 493,000 chips to lead the final 12 players in the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball event. The group chasing him includes Scott Seiver, Bryce Yockey, Frank Kassela and Mike Leah. The day began with over 90 players still chasing the bracelet. There were 37 players who busted on Sunday who did manage to get into the money before their tournament ended. Included in that group was Chris Ferguson picking up his first cash of 2018 (48th - $3,721). Some of the big names who picked up a result on Sunday included Ismael Bojang (47th - $3,721), Shaun Deeb (37th - $3,937), Jon Turner (32nd - $4,329), John Monnette (21st - $5,847), Billy Baxter (18th - $7,163) and Brian Hastings ($14th - $7,163). Final 12 Chip Counts Chris Vitch - 493,000 Damjan Radanov - 476,000 George Trigeorgis - 462,000 Scott Seiver - 431,000 Alex Simma - 400,000 Luis Velador - 390,000 Jesse Hampton - 350,000 Bryce Yockey - 271,000 Frank Kassela - 268,000 Mike Leah - 174,000 Johannes Becker - 172,000 Michael Wagner - 147,000 Chris Bjorin Bags Biggest Stack After Day 1 of $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo The second $10,000 "Championship" event of the 2018 WSOP started Sunday afternoon as 161 players showed up for the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship. Through eight levels of play, 86 players were eliminated but Chris Bjorin was most definitely not one of them. Bjorin finished Day 1 of the event with 249,500, good enough for the overnight chip lead. Right behind him is Jesse Martin, Daniel Ratigan, and Steve Chanthabouasy. Another eight levels are scheduled for Monday starting at 5 pm ET. Top 10 Chip Counts Chris Bjorin - 249,500 Jesse Martin - 232,000 Daniel Ratigan - 231,000 Steve Chanthabouasy - 228,000 Tai Nguyen - 211,000 Viacheslav Zhukov - 206,500 Robert Mizrachi - 204,000 Nikolai Yakovenko - 203,000 Rafael Concepcion - 194,500 Larry Kantor - 179,500 William 'Twooopair' Reymond Makes First WSOP Cash a Memorable One For the first time in WSOP history, players in more than one state were playing online for a WSOP bracelet on Sunday. A record-smashing 2,972 entries pushed the total prize pool to $974,816 - well past the $500,000 guarantee. Taking home the winner's share of that and his first career WSOP bracelet was Frenchmen William 'Twooopair' Reymond. At the start of the tournament, Reymond was happy just to be clicking buttons. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Playing the $365 online WSOP event and listening to <a href="https://twitter.com/andrewneeme?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@andrewneeme</a> on twitch. My definition of an almost perfect Sunday <a href="https://t.co/F3OxXRIiA0">pic.twitter.com/F3OxXRIiA0</a></p>&mdash; William Reymond (@WilliamReymond) <a href="https://twitter.com/WilliamReymond/status/1003437120948563968?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 4, 2018</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> Shawn 'sHaDySTeeM' Stroke took home $94,265 for his runner-up performance. To the surprise of nobody, Anthony 'nowb3athat' Spinella made the final table and eventually finished seventh for $21,251. Spinella won the very first online bracelet in 2015 and earlier this year became the first to win a WSOP Circuit ring playing on WSOP.com. Final Table Payouts William 'Twooopair' Reymond - $154,996 Shawn 'sHaDySTeeM' Stroke - $94,265 Stephen 'SteveSpuell' Buell - $69,017 Ryan 'LoveMy11Cats' Belz - $50,593 Elliott 'Ekampen05' Kampen - $37,530 Josh 'YoelRomero' King - $27,977 Anthony 'nowb3athat' Spinella - $21,251 Michael 'myapologies' Hauptman - $16,279 Jennifer 'moistymire' Miller - $12,478
  3. Day 2 of the 2018 World Series of Poker saw dreams come true. One bracelet was awarded, the second of the series so far, while two tournaments played through their Day 1s. Here’s a run through all of Thursday’s action (May 31). Jordan Hufty takes down $565 Casino Employees Event for $61,909 Just 13 of the 566 field returned for today for Day 2 of Event #1, the $565 Casino Employees Event, and when all was said and done it was Jordan Hufty - an Aria dealer and floorman - who claimed $61,909 and the second bracelet of the 2018 WSOP after a dominating final table performance. Hufty had to put in some work to get there though, including a gruelling four-hour heads-up battle versus the start of day chip leader, Jodie Sanders. Having come in to heads-up with a 2:1 chip lead, Sanders managed to claw his way back to even. But Hufty didn’t let it get to him, and after establishing another healthy chip advantage, the whole thing came to an end when Hufty’s king-queen hit to beat Sanders’ pocket threes. “That heads-up battle, we started off super deep, so it took a long longer than I thought,” said Hufty. “But any time you start 70 plus big blinds deep in a heads-up match with hour levels, that can definitely happen.” The final day got down to a final table of ten within the first hour of play, with Hufty starting second in chips. But a double KO saw Hufty’s pocket kings hold up in a three-way all-in against Brad Helm’s ace-seven suited and Jason Pepper’s ace-king, gifting him the chip lead which he wouldn’t relinquish. Hufty then eliminated Skyler Yeaton in eighth when his ace-four managed to hot a three-outer against Yeaton’s ace-queen, and would go on to eliminate Won Kim in fifth (ace-king over ace-eight) and Zachary Seymour in fourth (ace-jack over pocket nines) in quick succession. Three-handed play slowed things down, but after an hour Kate Kopp’s 13-big blind shove with king-eight suited ran straight into Hufty’s pocket aces. The four-hour duel then began, but ultimately Hufty managed to achieve a dream he’s had for a long time. “I’ve thought about winning a bracelet about every day of my life for the past 15 years,” said Hufty. “So, to actually have it come through today is pretty special. “There’s not even words for it. Whenever you build something up like that for so long, and like especially something, where so much of it is out of your control. Even if you do everything completely perfect, there is still a reasonable chance that you don’t ever come through and get a bracelet. For me to do that and be able to capitalize on that, it’s huge.” Hufty says he felt right at home on the big stage, perhaps from all of his experience dealing high stakes games, including on some old episodes of Poker After Dark. “It didn’t feel so out of place to me,” said Hufty. “This is the first time I’ve played on a table like this with the lights, and the people watching, and reporting. I don’t know if it’s from my experience in being around poker for higher amounts of money, but I felt comfortable coming in today.” Hufty’s win seems to symbolise everything that we love about the WSOP. We get to see players’ dreams come true. Hufty moved to Las Vegas from Michigan five years ago, and before today had only two live cashes for $2,000 combined. “Passion is a weird thing,” Hufty added. “I’m not really passionate about a whole lot of stuff and to find something that I actually care about, it doesn’t come very often. Once I found something I really, truly enjoyed and realized that there is a way to make money at that, it’s just a never-ending hunger. The fire is just as strong now as it was two days ago before I bought into this.” Event #1: $565 Casino Employees Event Final Table Results Jordan Hufty - $61,909 Jodie Sanders - $38,246 Kate Kopp - $26,250 Zachary Seymour - $18,332 Won Kim - $13,031 Thomas Booker - $9,432 Thomas Yenowine - $6,953 Skyler Yeaton - $5,222 Jason Pepper - $3,998 Hellmuth, Moorman, Hallaert Through to Final 50 in $3,000 SHOOTOUT Thursday saw Event #3 of the WSOP schedule kick off. The $3,000 NLHE SHOOTOUT got 363 total entries today, and after 50 tables played down to a winner, we have 50 survivors coming back for Friday’s Day 2. Unsurprisingly from such a touch field, there are plenty of big names who won their tables to advance. These include the Poker Brat himself, Phil Hellmuth, who is seeking a record-extending 15th WSOP bracelet. He managed to take down a table that included Brandon Cantu and Tony Dunst to make Day 2 and the money. [caption id="attachment_619317" align="alignright" width="300"] A good day for Hellmuth[/caption] Players started with a 15,000 stack, blinds at 25/50, and 40-minute levels. Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman will also be back tomorrow, alongside the likes of Kenny ‘SpaceyFCB’ Hallaert, Eli Elezra, Joe McKeehen, Adam ‘Adamyid’ Owen, Alexander Lynskey, and Jan-Eric Schwippert. Some of those who tried and failed today include last year's champion Upeshka De Silva, Georgios Sotiropoulos, Niall Farrell, Maurice Hawkins, Shaun Deeb, Danny Wong, Rainer Kempe, and Kristen Bicknell. Here’s a look at what they’re playing for tomorrow: $226,218 $139,804 $101,766 $74,782 $55,480 $41,559 $31,435 $24,013 $18,526 $14,437 Players finishing 11th-50th will receive $6,302, so that's the guaranteed cash right now. Action resumes at 12pm on Friday. Big Names Advance in $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Day 2 of the WSOP also saw the beginning of Event #4: the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better. A total of 911 hopefuls took their shot, and when the chip bags were brought out after ten 60-minute levels just 296 remained. Dao Bac bagged up the chip lead with 74,700, followed by Nick Guagenti (65,600) and Pamela McPeak (64,900). Some of the notable names to advance include six-time bracelet winner Layne Flack (41,500), four-time winner Jeff Madsen (31,900) and three-time bracelet winner Benny Glaser (27,200), who won this event back in 2016. [caption id="attachment_619318" align="alignright" width="300"] Allen Kessler makes Day 2[/caption] Allen Kessler (39,600) will return, joined by Matt Waxman (43,200), John Racener (31,300), Mike Leah (22,500), and ‘The Mouth’, Mike Matusow (14,800). Some players who failed to find a bag in this one include actor James Woods, Ari Engel, Sorel Mizzi, Brian Hastings, James Obst, Mike Ross, Felipe Ramos, Kathy Liebert, Kristen Bicknell, Jeff Lisandro and Todd Brunson. Here’s a look at the top 10 chip counts overnight: Dao Bac - 74,700 Nick Guagenti - 65,600 Pamela McPeak - 64,900 Tommy Chan - 61,400 Frank Muir - 61,300 John Jenkins - 58,200 Matt Waxman - 43,200 Layne Flack - 41,500 Allen Kessler - 39,600 Jeff Madsen - 31,900 Tomorrow’s Action (June 1) As well as Day 2 of both the SHOOTOUT and Omaha events, Friday June 1 will see one of the largest buy-in events kick off. Event #5: $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller will begin at 3pm, and is sure to be jam-packed with the world’s best. The four-day tournament has one re-entry too, so expect a massive prize pool for this one. On the other end of the buy-in spectrum, the first starting flight of the $365 GIANT event begins at 7pm. It’s the first of five Day 1s, with Day 2 being played on June 30. News & Notes Yesterday we told you about Jerwin Pasco, a player from the Philippines with $90K in career earnings, who went on an amazing run on Thursday. Pasco had a dream to play in Friday’s $100K High Roller, and so entered a $125 Mega-satellite into an another $850 Mega-satellite, and won both of those to win entry into Thursday’s $7,500 Mega-satellite. At the time of writing the outcome of this event is unknown, but there were at least 16 entrants with one seat awarded. Stay tuned tomorrow to see if Pasco makes it.
  4. Six months ago, Niall Farrell finally slew the dragon and won his first World Series of Poker, beating out a tough field in the €25,000 High Roller at WSOP Europe. Now, the Scottish poker pro is in Las Vegas for the 2018 World Series of Poker hoping to add another bracelet to his collection. Over the course of the 2018 WSOP, 50 Days & 50 Nights will chronicle Farrell’s summer; the highs and the lows and all the stuff that happens in between. For the past five years, Niall Farrell has always arrived in Las Vegas the day before the WSOP begins. He takes that day to get settled and take care of some of the errands that need to be run before settling in for the WSOP grind. This year was different though. The World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions was running in Las Vegas on May 24 and Farrell, who put his name on the WPT Champions Cup in 2016, wanted to play. “For the last three years I've been in Vancouver for SCOOP anyways, so I can come the day before because I'm already adjusted to the time zone,” said Farrell. The TOC didn’t end with Farrell at the final table, but that doesn’t mean his confidence at the start of the Series is wavering. “I had a winning SCOOP. I got to Vancouver and basically won the first SCOOP I played, which made the whole trip very relaxing, which was nice,” said Farrell, who won Event #3 High ($2,100 PKO No Limit Hold’em) for his second career SCOOP title. “I've been pretty lucky that I always do pretty well at the Series, even though it took me a little while to win a bracelet. The year before I won a bracelet I had three final tables, including the One Drop and won a bunch of money and I'm lucky enough that all my friends tend to do quite well as well, so that tends to build the confidence. I feel like I'm good to go and ready to win another one.” As he’s done over past few years, Farrell rented a house along with a few other poker players that are all in town to chase big scores and bracelets. His choice of roommates is strategic too. “Same people as always; it's Michael Gagliano, Daniel Strelitz, and Brandon Shane. It's all the American guys, none of the UK guys really,” said Farrell. “It's a tactical thing because if I stay with the UK guys I just go out to the bar most nights. So for the last five years or so I've stayed with the American guys so that keeps me out of trouble a little bit.” While Farrell was putting together his personal schedule for the summer, he referred to his notes from summer 2017 where he cashed six times. It reminded him of an important change he wanted - maybe even needed - to make. “I've got my Google Calendar on my phone and in big capital letters it just says “DO NOT REGISTER THE GIANT”. So I'm going to just trust past me and not do that. So I guess I'll take a couple days off during those events,” said Farrell, who actually cashed in The Giant for $1,343 but grew frustrated by the inability of tournament staff to keep things moving on Day 2. "You've got to take a couple of days off. It's pretty easy to get burned out. If you're doing really well it's easier, but some summers you can just come out and start bricking off, it's pretty easy to get burned and stop playing your best.” Farrell’s schedule will mainly be focused on WSOP bracelet events, with the odd trip to the Venetian or Wynn to take advantage of big fields full of soft players. He’ll also stray a little bit away from his comfort zone of No Limit Hold’em to find some fun in other bracelet events. “Yeah, pretty much all of the No Limit Hold'em events. I usually play some of the $1,500 smaller ones that I'm not very good at, like the Deuce to Seven Single Draw I always play because it's fun. I'll maybe play a $1,500 Omaha or something, but I'm not very good at those games, it's more just for fun.” Having finally won his first bracelet, Farrell has turned his focus to picking up his second, if only to give him some more ammunition for the good-natured ribbing that happens back at the house. “It was quite a relief to get it, but we have some banter (in the house) as well. We'll talk about it and Gagliano will be like 'Nah, it was in Europe - it doesn't count' and I'll be like 'it was in Europe, so you know there were good players in the field, not like your bracelet',” said Farrell. “So we have some banter back and forth. We have a bit of fun with it. It's cool to have it, especially after getting two seconds. Now that I've got one, I want to try and get more.” Adding a new piece of jewelry to his collection is what Farrell thinks it will take for him to call the 2018 WSOP a success, but that goalpost could be a moving one depending on how the first few weeks goes. “Saying it now, I would say a bracelet but I'm sure if I get to the end of the summer and I've made any decent amount of money I'll count it as successful,” said Farrell. “Start-of-the-Series-Optimism is going to say "bracelet only”, but maybe halfway through I'll be like "let's see if I can get out of this hole", and that will count as successful.”
  5. Things are really heating up now in one of the most prestigious events at the 2018 World Series of Poker. Just 12 players remain in the $50K Poker Players Championship, and it’s a former two-time winner who bagged up the chip lead. Meanwhile, a ten-time bracelet winning legend bagged a top five stack. Sunday’s WSOP action also the record-breaking Seniors Event reach a final table, while two events played through Day 1 flights. Here’s all the news from Sunday June 18 at the WSOP. Michael Mizrachi Leads $50K Championship; Ivey, Smith, Glaser, Hennigan Still In It’s set to be a very exciting day at the tables tomorrow, as a tournament with one of the most coveted bracelets on offer edges closer towards a final table. Event #33: $50,000 Poker Players Championship has seen its 87-strong field chopped down to just 12, and it’s two-time winner Michael Mizrachi who again holds the overnight chip lead, having ended Day 2 as chip leader too. [caption id="attachment_619602" align="aligncenter" width="680"] Could Mizrachi Win It a Third Time?[/caption] Mizrachi ended play with 4,232,000, and he’s most closely followed by Mike Leah with 3,134,000, and Aaron Katz with 2,480,000. The rest of the field is a who’s who of the game, with ten-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey finishing with the fourth biggest stack (2,146,000). Three-time bracelet winner Benny Glaser (1,967,000) is still in the hunt, while Dan Smith seeks his first bracelet (1,816,000). Five-time bracelet winner John Hennigan is looking for his second bracelet of the summer (1,458,000), while Greg Mueller, Brian Rast, Chris Vitch, and Shaun Deeb are all hoping to add more WSOP jewellery to their collections. At the bottom of the counts is Jean-Robert Bellande, who is in bad shape with just 213,000. They’re all in the money though, with 14 players paid and Mike Gorodinsky the unfortunate bubble boy. He ran pocket kings into pocket aces to cooler his way out. Everyone in this tournament is a notable name, but a few other bust-outs they saw today include Jason Mercier (28th), Daniel Negreanu (26th), and defending champion Elior Sion (23rd). There’s $1,239,126 for the champ, as well as the prestige and the bracelet. The guaranteed pay-out right now is $88,627, with action set to resume at 2pm Monday. Full Chip Counts: Michael Mizrachi - 4,232,000 Mike Leah - 3,134,000 Aaron Katz - 2,480,000 Phil Ivey - 2,146,000 Benny Glaser - 1,967,000 Dan Smith - 1,816,000 John Hennigan - 1,458,000 Greg Mueller - 1,439,000 Brian Rast - 1,167,000 Chris Vitch - 1,160,000 Shaun Deeb - 533,000 Jean-Robert Bellande - 213,000 Final Table Set in Seniors Event Event #34: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship broke records for the largest ever Day 1 in history back on Friday. Now, after Day 3, just eight of the 5,919-strong field remain. It’s final table time. Gary Friedlander is in pole position coming in, having bagged a chip lead with 8,080,000. He’s followed by Bill Stabler (6,085,000) and Matthew Davis (6,010,000). Day 3 began with 101 players returning for their shot at the bracelet and the massive $662,983 first-place prize. All eight have locked up $76,204 for their efforts, and they’ll return at 11am Monday to play down to a champ. Final Table Chip Counts: Gary Friedlander - 8,080,000 Bill Stabler - 6,085,000 Matthew Davis - 6,010,000 Bill Bennett - 2,735,000 Frank Berry - 2,090,000 Rachel Delatorre - 1,645,000 Joseph Schulman - 1,510,000 Scott Hamilton-Hill - 1,455,000 Big Names Out for Double Stack Day 1B Event #34: $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em chalked up its Day 1B flight on Sunday, with a massive 3,314 entries, which when added to the Day 1A field makes 5,700 total entries. Just 1,285 of them would make it through both flights, and today it was Mike Tayakama who bagged up the most. He ended with 177,400, while there were many notable survivors including bracelet winners Loni Harwood (23,000), Chris Moorman (67,200), Niall Farrell (58,000), Bertrand Grospellier (20,700), and Chris Ferguson (12,200). Others to advance include Giuseppe Pantaleo (131,600), Anatoly Filatov (9,500), Harry Lodge (6,500), Manig Loeser (28,700), and Ari Engel (38,800). Day 2 kicks off at 12pm Monday, with only 855 of them making the money. A min-cash will be worth $1,500, while the eventual champ will get $644,224. Top 10 Stacks: Mike Takayama - 177,400 Eimantas Adomavicius - 168,500 Vinny Pahuja - 167,100 Fabrizzo Dagostino - 164,200 Chahn Jung - 147,500 Pablo Fernandez - 146,500 Rulah Divine - 145,100 Cher Vang - 139,700 Benjamin Jones - 132,400 Giuseppe Pantaleo - 131,600 Another Mizrachi Bags Big While his brother Michael is chip-leading the $50K, Robert Mizrachi was doing good work himself over in Event #35: $1,500 Mixed Omaha. The tournament, which rotates between Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, and Big O (5-Card PLO/8), got 751 total entries. But now, with Day 2 in the books, there are 31 players remaining. Mizrachi almost had the overnight chip lead, but in the last few hands of the night his 439,000 was pipped to the post by James Alexander (466,500) and Gabriel Ramos (452,000). Ryan Hughes (276,000), Jon Turner (218,000), Carol Fuchs (215,000), Mark Gregorich (176,500), and Bart Hanson (35,000) will also be returning Monday. The same can’t be said for this lot, who crashed out today: Martin Staszko (103rd - $2,258), Andrew Barber (84th - $2,444), Calen McNeil (71st - $2,444), Max Pescatori (69th - $2,631), Barry Greenstein (53rd - $3,256), Erik Seidel (43rd - $3,741) and Phil Hellmuth (35th - $5,252). Prior to the bubble bursting, Dan Heimiller, Connor Drinan, Chris Ferguson, and Stephen Chidwick were all eliminated. Play continues at 2pm Monday, and the plan is to play down to a winner, who will receive $211,781. Top 10 Stacks: James Alexander - 466,500 Gabriel Ramos - 452,000 Robert Mizrachi - 439,000 Eddie Blumenthal - 343,500 Chip Jett - 292,500 Christopher Carey - 290,000 Ryan Hughes - 276,000 Robert Jackson - 249,500 Jon Turner - 218,000 Carol Fuchs - 215,000 Super Seniors Out For Day 1 If you were 60 or over and busted out of the Seniors Event today, chances are you went and hopped straight into Event #36: $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em. This one got a massive field of 2,191 runners today. Ten levels later and just 347 remain. Clifford Matthews can call himself chip leader overnight with 137,900, but Henri Bisson isn’t far behind with 130,000. A few notables we lost today include Marcel Luske, TJ Cloutier, Neil Bluminfield and Dan Harrington. Action resumes at 11am Monday, with only 329 players making the money ($1,500 min cash). Top 10 Stacks: Clifford Mathews - 137,900 Henri Bisson - 130,000 Steven Wenrich - 122,300 Charles Zis - 109,300 Jeff Heiberg - 103,600 Tim Ebenhoeh - 95,800 Michael Rice - 93,300 Donald Clause - 90,900 Jeffrey Weber - 90,600 Alan Marks - 86,100 PLO Giant Continues On Sunday, there was also another starting flight in Event #11: $365 PLO GIANT Pot-Limit Omaha. The flight attracted 429 runners, but only 23 of those will proceed to Day 2. Tim Andrew leads with 1,375,000 after 21 20-minute levels. Other to advance include Yoni Basin (1,130,000), Russell Sartin (1,025,000), Layne Flack, (825,000), Steve Gagliano (795,000), Sandeep Pulusani(670,000) and Joon Park (495,000). Some of those who made the cash but couldn’t find a big were Thomas Taylor (31st - $861), Ylon Schwartz (37th - $750), Kevin MacPhee (45th - $750), Mikhail Semin (55th - $605), Chris Back (57th - $605), Danny Wong (64th - $560), and Dan Zack (65th - $560). There will be another starting flight next week. Top 10 Day 1C Stacks: Tim Andrew - 1,375,000 Yoni Basin - 1,130,000 Russell Sartin - 1,025,000 Layne Flack - 825,000 Steve Gagliano - 795,000 Sandeep Pulusani - 670,000 Joon Park - 495,000 Robert Covert - 335,000 Jeff Miller - 270,000 Greg Aversa - 97,000
  6. We almost saw three bracelets awarded on Thursday at the 2018 World Series of Poker. While Ben Dobson and Filippos Stavrakis claimed their first pieces of WSOP jewellery, John Hennigan and David ‘Bakes’ Baker will return tomorrow to play resume heads-up action in the $10K H.O.R.S.E. Championship. Some other big events played down to their finales, including THE MARATHON which saw some big names reach the home straight. Here’s all the news from June 14. First Bracelet for Ben Dobson, Wins $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better The UK’s Ben ‘f3nix35’ Dobson has taken down his first WSOP bracelet, winning Event #25: $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better for $173,528. Only three players returned on Thursday for this one, with Dobson holding a healthy chip lead over Tim Finne and Jesse Martin. The latter of those two came in as the short stack, and despite some early signs of a comeback, he eventually was whittled down to two big bets and couldn’t recover. Martin went out in third, still chasing his third bracelet. Heads-up saw Dobson start with a 3:1 chip lead, and the duel didn’t take long to come to a conclusion. In the final hand, Dobson made a 6-5 low and a straight to scoop the pot versus Finne’s pair of sevens and no low. “I'm on top of the world right now," Dobson said afterwards. "I kind of had high expectations for myself, but it was also really tough because Timothy and Jesse are both probably better than me at Stud 8 so I felt like I was a bit of an underdog. But I managed to hold my own and ran good in some of the crucial parts so, I feel great.” Final Table Results: Benjamin Dobson - $173,528 Tim Finne - $107,243 Jesse Martin - $74,324 Richard Monroe - $52,359 Tom McCormick - $37,504 James Nelson - $27,321 Georgios Sotiropoulos - $20,248 Peter Brownstein - $15,271 PLO Gold and $169,842 for Filippos Stavrakis The second bracelet winner of the day was Filippos Stavrakis, who took down Event #26: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha for $169,842. This event attracted 986 total entries, but only 14 returned for this final day with Stavrakis holding the chip lead. Things were going steady, but when play got down to four-handed, Stavrakis found himself with the short stack. He managed to battle back though, defeating Jordan Siegel heads-up, while Brazilian pro Felipe Ramos finished in third. Stavrakis had his wife by his side throughout the finale, and held someone else very special in his heart, as he explained. "My wife is very superstitious. She always thinks she brings bad luck and she is actually quite the opposite for me,” he said. And as you can see from his winner’s photo, Stavrakis had a piece of paper with the words ‘For Jimmy. Love & miss you bro.’ "A couple years ago we lost my brother prematurely and I always said that if I was fortunate enough to win a bracelet I would dedicate it to him. It felt like he was with me all day.” Final Table Results: Filippos Stavrakis - $169,842 Jordan Siegel - $104,924 Felipe Ramos - $73,989 Clinton Monfort - $52,879 Peter Klein - $38,309 Pascal Damois - $28,137 Thayer Rasmussen - $20,957 Georgios Karavokyris - $15,832 Robert Cowen - $12,133 Hennigan and Baker End Day Heads-Up in $10K H.O.R.S.E. Just two players remain in the prestigious Event #27: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, and there’s plenty of experience between them. Four-time bracelet winner John Hennigan and two-time bracelet winner David ‘Bakes’ Baker are the last two standing, but with the stacks quite deep and a long day already behind them, the two decided to bag up and will return tomorrow to play down to a winner. Hennigan holds a monster chip lead though, with 6,675,000 to Baker’s 1,630,000. Baker isn’t to be ruled out though; after all, he won this very event back in 2012. They’re both guaranteed second-place money of $256,297, while the winner will get $414,692. The final day saw the runs of Katherine Fleck (16th -$17,677) , Jean Gaspard (15th - $17,677), Illya Trincher (14th - $20,993), Anthony Zinno (13th - $20,993), and Robert Mizrachi (12th - $24,498) busted fairly early in the day. They were followed not long after by Carol Fuchs (11th - $25,498),Jake Schwartz (10th - $25,498), and Robert Campbell (9th - $31,656) come to an end prior to the official final table. The following players made the finale but are no longer with us: Lee Salem (3rd - $179,216), Iraj Parvizi (4th - $127,724), Randy Ohel (5th - $92,808), Albert Daher (6th - $68,783), Daniel Zack (7th - $52,016) and Michael Noori (8th - $40,155). Jacobson, Paur, Hall on Home Straight of THE MARATHON Event #24: $2,620 THE MARATHON No-Limit Hold’em is down to a final table of nine after four gruelling days of play. It’s Mark Sleet who holds the chip lead with 7,725,000, but he’s closely followed by former Main Event champ Martin Jacobson with 7,345,000. Bart Lybaert sits in third (7,155,000), followed by Michael Addamo, Ihar Soika, Taylor ‘taypaur’ Paur, Anton Morgenstern, Ying Chan, and Cate Hall, who ended with the short stack. Throughout the day we lost the likes of Joe Elpayaa (57th - $9,616), Martin Staszko (49th - $11,329), Lee Markholt (48th - $11,329), Matt Affleck (44th - $13,520), Faraz Jaka (35th - $16,340), and Salvatore DiCarlo (20th - $19,997). Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman was the first player to exit today, after his pocket kings got outrun by ace-king, which made a flush. The final table kicks off at 1pm Friday, with blinds at 25K/50K and a 5K ante. They’ve all locked up $50,678, but all eyes are on the $653,581 first-place prize. Final Table Chip Counts: Mark Sleet - 7,725,000 Martin Jacobson - 7,345,000 Bart Lybaert - 7,155,000 Michael Addamo - 6,165,000 Ihar Soika - 4,990,000 Taylor Paur - 4,815,000 Anton Morgenstern - 1,800,000 Ying Chan - 1,725,000 Cate Hall - 1,175,000 Mercier, Dunst, Marquez Advance in $3K NLHE 6-Max 868 players are now just 20 after Day 2 of Event #28: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed saw another ten 60-minute levels played out. Ben Palmer had the best day of all, bagging up 1,595,000 for the chip lead when all was said and done. However, it’ll be no easy road to his first bracelet with the likes of Jason Mercier (587,000), Anatoly Filatov (751,000), Ana Marquez (682,000), and Tony Dunst (391,000) still alive. [caption id="attachment_619547" align="aligncenter" width="636"] Jason Mercier on form[/caption] Mercier is the only bracelet winner left in the field, so there’s a good chance we’ll see someone take down their piece of gold tomorrow. Then again, you should never rule out Mercier from anything, who despite a long absence following the birth of his son is showing his game hasn’t lost a thing. Yorane Kerignard (1,219,000), Darren Rabinowitz (990,000), James Mackey (559,000), Gal Yifrach (420,000), and Kyle Hartree (375,000) will also return tomorrow. The same can’t be said for the likes of Ryan Riess (65th - $5,809), Greg Merson (64th - $5,809), Sergio Aido (54th - $6,555), Manig Loeser (52nd - $6,555), Mike Watson (49th - $6,555), Jeremy Ausmus (39th - $8,902), Cliff Josephy (34th - $10,703), Erik Seidel (29th - $13,132), and Olivier Busquet (26th - $13,132), all of whom fell by the wayside today. Action resumes at 12pm Friday with blinds at 6K/12K and a 2K ante. The min-cash right now is $16,435, while there’s $461,798 for the eventual champ. Here’s a look at the top 10 stacks: Ben Palmer - 1,595,000 Yorane Kerignard - 1,219,000 Darren Rabinowitz - 939,000 Enio Bozzano - 900,000 Florian Duta - 792,000 Anatoly Filatov - 751,000 Ana Marquez - 682,000 Luiz Duarte - 665,000 Jason Mercier - 587,000 James Mackey - 559,000 Final Table Set in $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Another tournament close to completion is Event #29: $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw. Just seven remain in that one, with Hanh Tran holding the chip lead. He’ll be joined by three-time bracelet winner Brian Hastings, one-time bracelet winner David Prociak, as well as Cody Wagner, Oscar Johansson, Jared Bleznick, and Yong Wang. A total of 86 out of the 356 entries returned for Day 2 today, and throughout the course of action we lost the likes of Philip Long, Andrey Zhigalov, Dzmitry Urbanovich, Scott Clements, Bryce Yockey and Calvin Anderson, to name a few. Some of those who went deep enough to cash include Yueqi Zhu (50th - $2,243), Allen Kessler (49th - $2,243), David "ODB" Baker (40th - $2,485), Jon Turner (39th - $2,485), and Shaun Deeb (19th - $3,799), Phillip Hui (11th - $5,953), Frank Kassela (10th - $7,809), Chris Vitch (9th - $7,809), and Jeremy Heartberg (8th - $10,555). The final seven will return at 2pm Friday, each hoping to win the bracelet and the $117,282 that comes with it. Final Table Stacks: Hanh Tran - 633,000 Cody Wagner - 538,000 Brian Hastings - 528,000 David Prociak - 287,000 Oscar Johansson - 256,000 Jared Bleznick - 236,000 Yong Wang - 198,000 Day 1 Done in $1,500 PLO One of two new events to kick off on Thursday was Event #30: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha. It had attracted 799 runners when registration closed, but after ten levels just 130 remain. Leading them all is Michael Heritsch with 141,000, while Farid Jattin (111,300) and Jesse Sylvia (92,800) also bagged big. Alas for Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Barny Boatman, Alex Foxen, Craig Varnell, and Connor Drinan, they couldn’t find a bag at the end of the day. It’s still early days in this one, with the bubble set to burst at 120 players. After ten eliminations tomorrow, they’ll be guaranteed $2,255 for their efforts. Day 2 begins at 12pm Friday, check the top 10 stacks below: Michael Heritsch - 141,000 Frank Williams - 128,100 Aaron Henderson - 123,700 Mike Shin - 121,600 Pim van Holsteyn - 118,800 Farid Jattin - 111,300 James Gilbert - 107,900 Colin York - 107,000 Phillip Riley - 100,000 Ryan Bambrick - 99,800 Lissandro Bags Big After Day 1 of $1,500 Seven Card Stud Six-time bracelet winner headlines the stacks after Day 1 of Event #31: $1,500 Seven Card Stud. He ended play with 70,200, good for the third largest stack behind only co-chip leaders Ron Brown (80,800) and Farhad Mobassery (80,800). There are 88 players advancing from the 310 entries. Mark Radoja and 2017 WSOP Player of the Year Chris Ferguson also bagged up top 10 stacks, with 65,500 and 48,500 respectively. Meanwhile, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Brandon Shack-Harris, Adam Friedman, Frankie O'Dell, Ben Yu and Carol Fuchs are all still in the hunt. Play continues at 2pm tomorrow, with the bubble set to burst at 47 players. The winner will get $105,629, while a min-cash is worth $2,250. Top 10 Stacks: Farhad Mobassery - 80,800 Ron Brown - 80,800 Jeff Lisandro - 70,200 Mark Radoja - 65,500 Stephen Rivers - 61,200 Scott Cole - 58,000 Sandeep Vasudevan - 53,700 Gerard Rechnitzer - 51,500 Julien Martini - 50,900 Chris Ferguson - 48,500 Tomorrow’s Action (Friday June 15) Despite so much going on already, Friday is going to see the WSOP get even bigger. Arguably the most prestigious tournament on the schedule, Event #33: $50,000 Poker Players Championship, kicks off at 3pm, and will see just about all of the game’s very best in action. Meanwhile, Event #32: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em will get started at 10am, and Event #6C: GIANT - $365 No-Limit Hold’em starts at 7pm.
  7. Sunday was another extremely busy day at the 2018 World Series of Poker with three more players walking away with a shiny, new WSOP bracelet. Those winners included a player grabbing his second career bracelet, a WPT500 champion and a European Poker Tour winner. But while those events were playing down to a winner, some of the best poker players in the world were putting up $10,000 to play one of their favorite events, the No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship. Adam Friedman Chooses His Way To WSOP Bracelet #2 Adam Friedman has a special place in WSOP history thanks to his emotional reaction to being eliminated from the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Yes, Friedman is the "crying guy" - but he's worked hard to change public perception of him and on Sunday took another step in that direction by winning his second career bracelet. Friedman beat out a final table that included Marco Johnson, David 'ODB' Baker, Chris Klodnicki, Andrey Makarov and Stuart Rutter to win the $10,000 Dealers Choice Championship event. Winning this event, against a tough final table, holds special value for Friedman. “In terms of the $10K’s, this one is right up there,” said Friedman. “You need to know how to play 20 games. How many people are at least competent in at least 20 games? Not many. I think this takes as much skill as any other event.” The event allows players to pick from 20 different game variants throughout the tournament. Friedman believes that other players make mistakes when picking their games and haven't put enough thought into the deeper strategic impact involved. “To be honest, I don’t want to give too much away because I think a good amount of people don’t pick the games right and it’s as much of a key as anything else,” said Friedman. “I will say this. You need to pick games not strictly based on, not your ability, and not even necessarily your opponents’ ability and what they are good or bad at. You need to think about chip sizes and certain ICM considerations.” Friedman's first bracelet came in the 2012 $5,000 Seven Card Stud 8 or better event. Final Table Payouts Adam Friedman - $293,275 Stuart Rutter - $181,258 Alexey Makarov - $127,487 Chris Klodnicki - $90,713 David "ODB" Baker - $65,308 Marco Johnson - $47,579 Craig Varnell Grabs First Bracelet in $565 Pot Limit Omaha Craig Varnell has had a few close calls in his WSOP career. A third-place finish from 2015 and a seventh-place finish in 2018. He finished the $565 Pot Limit Omaha event on Sunday night on top, outlasting a field of 2,419 players to win $181,790. “It felt good to finally close one out,” Varnell said. "I almost didn't play this event. But when I did, and I got a stack, I had a big advantage over the other players. Before Sunday, Varnell was probably best known for winning the WPT500 in 2015. Seth Zimmerman finished second for $112,347. 2010 WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel finished sixth for $33,477. Other big names to finish in the money included Ryan Laplante (20th - $5,830), Vivian Saliba (54th - $3,495), Ludovic Geilich (58th - $3,304), Dutch Boyd (79th - $2,397) and James Obst (99th - $2,019). Final Table Payouts Craig Varnell - $181,790 Seth Zimmerman - $112,347 Omar Mehmood - $81,852 Maxime Heroux - $60,190 Christopher Trang - $44,677 Jonathan Duhamel - $33,477 Shaome Yang - $25,325 Jason C Lipiner - $19,344 Bulgaria's Ognyan Dimov Wins Third Bracelet for Homeland When the final table of the $1,500 Six Max NLHE event started, four of the six players were previous WSOP bracelet winners. That didn't seem to matter to the only two players without one though. Ognyan Dimov and Antonio Barbato outlasted all four bracelet winners to get heads-up before Dimov finished Barbato off to win his first bracelet. “You don't expect to not have better players at the final table. You expect to have bracelet winners,” said Dimov. The Bulgarian is no slouch though. He won the EPT Deauville Main Event in 2015 and now has $1.44 million in live tournament earnings. Barbato ended up with $233,992 to console himself for his runner-up finish. Nick Schulman finished third for $163,785 and his second cash of the 2018 WSOP. Ryan D'Angelo and Joey Weissman finished fourth and fifth respectively while Yue Du, who won the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em event in 2016, finished sixth. Final Table Payouts Ognyan Dimov - $378,743 Antonio Barbato - $233,992 Nick Schulman - $163,785 Ryan D'Angelo - $116,118 Joey Weissman - $83,396 Yue Du - $60,686 Shawn Buchanan Takes Chip Lead to Final Table of $5,000 Big Blind Antes Event Shawn Buchanan has become a mainstay on the "Best Players Without a WSOP Bracelet" list. He's finished second three times and has made seven final tables. Thanks to a strong Day 3 in the $5,000 Big Blind Antes Event, Buchanan has a chance at getting off that list. Buchanan finished Day 3 with 2,580,000 chips, good enough for the chip lead over a final table that includes David Peters, Eric Blair and Jake Schindler. Buchanan started Day 3 sitting fifth in chips with 24 players remaining. Included in the 18 players that busted on Sunday were Kristen Bicknell, Stephen Chidwick, Michael Gagliano, Jan Christoph Von Halle, Seth Davies and Chris Bolek, who actually started the day on top. Action resumes at Noon PT. Final Table Chip Counts Shawn Buchanan - 2,580,000 Jeremy Wien - 2,455,000 David Peters - 1,925,000 Eric Blair - 1,825,000 David Laka - 1,655,000 John Amato - 1,005,000 Jake Schindler - 880,000 Richard Tuhrim - 625,000 Millionaire Maker Day 1B Lands All Players in the Money Italy's Andrea Buonocore finished Day 1B of the $1,500 Millionaire Maker with 209,900, good enough for the biggest overall stack heading into Day 2 on Monday. Buonocore was one of 4,315 entries on Day 1B, pushing the total field size to 7,361 - exactly 400 entries less than the 2017 field. Former #1 PocketFiver Sorel Mizzi bagged a top 10 stack on Day 1B, finishing with 158,300. He will be one of 1,105 players returning to action on Monday. Those players - roughly half of them - will get some good news when they unbag Monday afternoon. Thanks to double elimination at the end of Day 1B, all remaining players are now in the money. The structure of the event, which sees Day 1A and 1B each play down to 15% of the field rather than a set number of levels, left some players extremely frustrated. Some of the more well-known players who will be in action on Monday include Jared Jaffee, James Dempsey, Anthony Spinella, JC Tran, Blair Hinkle, Tuan Le, Faraz Jaka, Qui Nguyen, Taylor Paur and Anton Wigg. Top 10 Day 1B Chip Counts Andrea Buonocore - 209,900 Thanh Nguyen - 199,500 Artan Dedusha - 191,600 Jared Jaffee - 171,900 Thomas Taylor - 169,600 Ryan Rivers - 169,000 David Eldridge - 165,000 Anthony Spinella - 162,500 Viktor Lavi - 159,200 Sorel Mizzi - 158,300 Negreanu, Bach, Zinno Amongst Final 16 of $1,500 Eight-Game Mix Nicholas Seiken has just $72,692 in career tournament earnings but finished Day 2 of the $1,500 Eight-Game Mix event with the chip lead. If he hopes to outlast the remaining 15 players to win his first career bracelet, he'd be best served to not look up the lifetime earnings of some of his opponents. David Bach, John Racener, Anthony Zinno, Daniel Negreanu, Robert Williamson III and Mike Matusow have a combined 16 career bracelets and all still have a shot at adding to their total. Seiken bagged up 360,000 as one of the 16 survivors from the 184 players that started Day 2. Philip Long is right behind him with 357,000. Day 3 sees the final 16 players play down to a winner when action resumes at 2 pm PT. Nicholas Seiken - 360,000 Philip Long - 357,000 Jean Montury - 345,000 Nicholas Derke - 338,000 Per Hildebrand - 278,500 David Bach - 263,000 Robert Williamson III - 250,500 Devin Looney - 234,500 John Racener - 226,500 Anthony Zinno - 198,000 Galen Hall Leads Star-Studded $10,000 No Limit Deuce Field Just 85 players ponied up the $10,000 to play the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship event in one of the toughest fields of the year. Topping Day 1 was Galen Hall with Benny Glaser and Timothy McDermott right behind him. Just 38 players made it through Day 1 including Stephen Chidwick, Dario Sammartino, Scott Seiver, John Hennigan, Paul Volpe, Mike Gorodinsky, Nick Schulman, Billy Baxter, Erik Seidel and defending champion John Monnette. Action resumes Monday at 2 pm PT. Galen Hall - 389,800 Benny Glaser - 352,000 Timothy McDermott - 304,800 Stephen Chidwick - 222,800 Dario Sammartino - 212,500 Ray Dehkharghani - 203,900 Daniel Zack - 165,600 Scott Seiver - 142,600 John Hennigan - 135,100 Mike Wattel - 132,500
  8. It's Christmas Eve for poker players. Or, if you want to borrow from the more contemporary metaphor, it's the day before Poker Summer Camp officially kicks off. Poker players from around the world have been flooding into Las Vegas over the past week to get settled and ready for the 2018 World Series of Poker. So, as the tables are getting set up at the Rio and dealers are getting last minute instructions on how to deal Triple Draw, the staff here at PocketFives take their turn at predicting exactly how some of the things at the 2018 WSOP will go down. The Panel Editor in Chief - Lance Bradley Community Manager - Kevin Mathers Writer & The Fives Co-Host - Matt Clark Writer - Jeff Walsh [caption id="attachment_619256" align="alignnone" width="800"] PocketFives Staff (L to R) Lance Bradley, Kevin Mathers, Matt Clark, Jeff Walsh.[/caption] JUST HOW BIG CAN THIS THING GET? There are a record-setting 78 bracelet events on the 2018 WSOP schedule, including 13 events that being after the Main Event does. Our esteemed panel dove deep into some heavy math and analytics to break down eight key events. EVENT #7 - $565 Colossus Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 16,133 17,425 17,653 16,960 There’s been a steady decline in attendance over the past few years (roughly a 20% drop in runners from year one to year three), potentially due to a small cannibalization of the lower buy-in player pool from the $365 GIANT (which gets underway the same weekend as the Colossus) and also possibly because there may just be so much offered at any given time at the start of the series, the star event that is the Colossus may have just faded a little. -Jeff Walsh EVENT #20 - $5,000 Big Blind Ante Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 659 603 622 645 The Big Blind Ante is all the rage in tournament poker right now and 2018 marks its debut at the WSOP. The price point for this one is definitely going to draw out a certain group of players, many of whom have already played with the big blind ante before and have come to enjoy it more than the traditional ante system. There were two $5,000 full ring NLHE events on the schedule last year drawing 505 and 623 players respectively. I think the hype of BBA puts this one over the top and we end up with over 650. -Lance Bradley EVENT #21 - $1,500 Millionaire Maker Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 7.483 8,049 6,541 7,644 One of the most popular events on the 'Weekend Warrior' schedule, the enticement of a $1,000,000+ guaranteed reward for first brings the droves to the Rio. After a couple of flat years, allowing players to re-enter each flight (for a maximum of four total) brought the field to 7,761 entries, up almost 600 from 2016. I expect another increase, passing the record number from 2014's 7,977 entries, with 8,049 entries after late registration closes. -Kevin Mathers EVENT #33 - $50,000 Players Championship Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 107 110 110 106 Each year, the $50,000 Players Championship attracts a select field of players, all eager to play some eight-game mix. Last year's field drew 100 players and has hovered around that number in recent years after bottoming out to 84 in 2015. This year, I'm predicting another modest increase, to 110 players. -Kevin Mathers EVENT #42 - $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha Eight Max High Roller Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 203 180 210 213 The $25K PLO is one of the true elite field tournaments of the summer. Not only will it attract a regular slate of high rollers but it’s one of those tournaments when $10K regs may stretch into shot taking mode. The last three years this event has been offered there’s been a nice uptick in registration, including a massive 21 player jump from 2016 to 2017. The 2018 Aria Summer High Roller has an event a couple days before and after WSOP’s $25K PLO and I’m going to err on the side of this helping push the PLO player pool up as players may want a break from NLHE but want to play the same stakes. Plus, this event will very likely provide a seven-figure score for the winner and for the players who can afford the buy-in and handle the swings, that’s very enticing. -Jeff Walsh EVENT #61 - $1,000 WSOP.com Online Championship Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 2,729 2,400 2,005 1,802 Last year's number of 1,312 is going to be shattered. The player pool combination is already seeing increases across all WSOP.com tournaments and the bracelet "Main Event" is a great test for the platform. The influx of players in Nevada for the WSOP combined with New Jersey grinders equals 2,005 runners in 2018. - Matt Clark EVENT #74 - $10,000 Six Max NLHE Championship Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 299 340 294 308 In years past, the $10,000 Six Max NLHE event has drawn out the elite short-handed players, many of whom cut their teeth online. It's all been afforded a decent spot in the schedule. That's not the case this year though as it was moved to one of the "post-lim" events on the schedule and will share Rio floorspace with Day 7 of the Main Event. For a lot of players, the end of their Main Event means their WSOP is over. Fatigue - physical, mental and bankroll - comes into play and players look to get out of Vegas. A number of players who normally play this event might decide to skip it out and get a head-start on the post-WSOP detox. -Lance Bradley EVENT #65 - The Main Event Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 7,765 7,294 7,460 7,184 Go ahead and call me crazy, but I think the WSOP Main Event enjoys a big bump this year. I'm going to chalk a lot of it up to the crypto market. On July 8, 2017, Bitcoin was worth roughly $2,500. As of May 28, 2018, it's worth roughly three times that. Yeah, the market is volatile, but so many poker players were invested in crypto markets early. Poker is also in a better place than it has been in years. The bruises from 2011 are starting to heal and the live coverage from 2017 on ESPN/PokerGO will show some dividends. Seeing similar year/year growth this year that we did last doesn't seem out of the question. -Lance Bradley THE SUPERSTARS [caption id="attachment_619251" align="alignnone" width="1024"] This time last year nobody was picking Alex Foxen to do anything at the WSOP. (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Every year a few players emerge from relative obscurity to win a bracelet and launch themselves into the world of poker celebrity. That being said, poker's biggest stage is also where the game's best players want to shine brightest. Our esteemed panel picked seven of the biggest names in poker right now and took a stab at predicting just well each of them will do this summer. Note: the table indicates if each panelist thinks that player will win a bracelet or not. Alex Foxen Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh No No No Yes Frankly, I hate taking the position that any player will win a bracelet in any given year, but by taking a "NO" stance that would be asking me to essentially bet against Foxen. That's not a position I'm willing to take. In 2017, he fired up and down the WSOP schedule resulting in cashing 13 times. Foxen made the final table three times, including taking a 3rd place in a NLHE $1K. Headed into the 2018 WSOP he's got high-roller experience under his belt and he's red hot having earned four six-figure scores in 2018. If he has the same drive he had in 2017 and is playing all the games, it's going to be very difficult to deny Foxen from leveling up his poker career with a WSOP bracelet. -Jeff Walsh Chris Ferguson Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh No No No No Ferguson has made numerous final tables since his 2016 return but carries only a win in Europe to show for it. Expect Ferguson to reach two final tables this summer but finish no higher than third. -Matt Clark Phil Ivey Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes No No No It was a pretty big deal when Phil Ivey announced he would be returning to the WSOP this year. There's a lot of opportunities for Ivey to be distracted in Las Vegas. The cash game scene during the WSOP is amazing, the high rollers offered at Aria and King's Lounge might take some of Ivey's attention, but many don't know that when Ivey went on his November Nine run in 2009, he would leave the Rio and head to Bobby's Room and play all night. He's wired for this. -Lance Bradley Daniel Negreanu Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh No Yes No Yes A revamped WSOP Player of the Year system gives Daniel Negreanu the motivation to play a full WSOP schedule to chase his third POY title. With the battering he's taken for his representing PokerStars in recent years, Negreanu wants to redeem himself in the eyes of the poker community and winning a bracelet, which he hasn't done since 2013, is his way of doing so. I predict Negreanu wins one bracelet and has at least two other top-three finishes, all in non-Hold'em events. -Kevin Mathers Adrian Mateos Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes Yes Yes Yes This is the only player that everybody on the panel agrees is leaving the Rio with new jewelry this year. It's not surprising. He's been one of the top-ranked players in the GPI for a while now and already has three WSOP bracelets to his credit and at 23 years old, fatigues just isn't going to be a factor for him. He'll also play every NLHE event on the schedule. -Lance Bradley Phil Hellmuth Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes No No No The all-time leader in bracelets is on a cold streak since his last win in 2015. Two final tables in the last two years for Hellmuth do not bode well for improvement in 2018. If there were 10 Razz events on the schedule, that would bolster his chances. -Matt Clark Stephen Chidwick Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes Yes No No High Rollers have Chidwick's attention now and his paltry five cashes last year prove his preference. Winning bracelets takes volume and Chidwick won't be putting in enough to make consistent deep runs. -Matt Clark BIGGEST SURPRISE [caption id="attachment_619250" align="alignnone" width="1024"] He's baaaaaa-aacckkkk. Phil Ivey is set to return to the WSOP felt. (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] At the end of every summer camp, there's always a player who two that pulled off something really special or left poker fans wondering what happened. Each member of our esteemed panel took one player who might provide the poker world with a surprise performance - good or bad - this summer. Phil Ivey Phil Ivey's grand return in Montenegro gave poker fans a reason to believe Ivey might play this summer at the WSOP. Ivey confirmed as much when interviewed after the win. Poker fans teased themselves for years with a "Summer of Ivey." Sadly, this summer will not be that year. Cash games in Asia along with legal issues in the United States have Ivey's primary attention now for different monetary reasons. If the right bracelet bet comes along, maybe then Ivey will put in the volume to satisfy the masses. -Matt Clark Allen Kessler I'm going out on a very long limb here, but I'm going to predict than Kessler will win his first WSOP bracelet this year. The Chainsaw is quite the polarizing figure, especially if you're on #PokerTwitter, and I've surely had my war of words with him. He almost took down a bracelet during WSOP Europe in Rozvadov, Czech Republic finishing runner-up in the €2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha. The last time he made a WSOP final table in Vegas was back in 2011, so that means he's gotta be due, right? When you play as many events as he does, eventually he'll be on the right side of variance for once, and I think it's time for him to win some gold. After his win, he'll go on a Twitter rant about the bracelet or some other trivial matter and everyone will turn on him once again #Drama. -Kevin Mathers Connor Drinan Every year since 2013 Connor Drinan has attended the WSOP and every year he's left without a single "trinket." This is the year I think he truly breaks through and not only wins himself a bracelet but perhaps takes down the biggest tournament of the summer - The $1 million Big One For One Drop. Drinan, the current PocketFives Worldwide #17-ranked online player is a consummate grinder, crushing just about any tournament series he dedicates himself to. Over the course of PokerStars' 2018 SCOOP series, Drinan made the money an impressive 32 times, putting him in the upper echelon of the series overall leaderboard. His WSOP resume consists of 25 cashes and nearly $1 million in total earnings, including in-the-money finishes in the $111,111 High Roller For One Drop in both 2017 and 2013. Should he find his way into the $1 million One Drop tournament, he's my pick to take it down. Should he not have the chance I see him taking his 2018 online success and translating it into multiple deep runs during the WSOP, including the Main Event, resulting in him being a player whose success won't be able to keep him out of the headlines. -Jeff Walsh Adam Owen So many people like to pigeonhole Adam Owen as a mixed game specialist. And while he's fantastic at games other than Hold'em (16 non-Hold'em cashes in SCOOP this year), he's also had some deep runs in bigger buy-in NLHE events. He finished second at the partypoker MILLIONS Barcelona Main Event for $1.6 million. He has 22 WSOP cashes over the last three years and given his recent big score, we could see him playing even more bracelet events this year. -Lance Bradley PLAYER OF THE YEAR [caption id="attachment_619252" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Mike Leah could finally capture WSOP Player of the Year this year. (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Outside of Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and apparently Phil Hellmuth, nobody was thrilled to see Chris Ferguson win Player of the Year last year. There were just as many people disappointed in the new system WSOP brass put in place which rewarded min-cashes in big fields with more points than runner-up finishes in Championship events. That same brass has promised the poker community that they fixed the POY issue, so the race is once again wide open. Our esteemed panel each made their pick for who reigns supreme this summer and through the end of WSOP Europe this fall. Mike Leah When you try to answer the ultimate poker question of "Who Loves It More?", you can't go wrong by answering Mike Leah. He loves everything about poker: the cash, the competition, and, yes, the awards. He's not shy about wanting it all and one would have to assume that the WSOP Player of the Year would be high on his list of wanted accolades. As a Canadian, he's faced with stiff tax laws on anything he wins in Las Vegas, but that has not stopped him from racking up 99-lifetime WSOP cashes and a bracelet. He plays everything at every buy-in level and in 2017, he cashed for 14 times in Las Vegas and another six time during the World Series of Poker Europe. His efforts left him in fifth place of the 2017 WSOP POY race but his determination did not go unnoticed. Leah is comfortable playing just about any buy-in level and has plenty of non-NLHE results in WSOP events. Should he get off to a fast start in 2018 or perhaps when capture his second bracelet, expect him to dive headlong into the WSOP Player of the Year race. -Jeff Walsh James Obst James Obst earned his first WSOP bracelet in 2017 and is a force in all games offered at the Rio. Since 2014, Obst has cashes in 10 events with a buy-in of at least $5,000. The Australian's consistency in 2017 put him in the running for POY despite the flawed scoring system. Four top-10 finishes and two podium results equal even more for Obst this summer. Two bracelets plus five total final tables equal a banner in 2019. -Matt Clark Daniel Negreanu The 2017 WSOP Player of the Year race was the most controversial edition yet, as Chris Ferguson took down the title after cashing a record 23 times in Vegas and Rozvadov. Many critiqued the criteria as others decided to not put in the volume to try and chase Ferguson. This year's POY criteria appears to be vastly approved, rewarding deep finishes over cashing. With plenty of events at a $10,000 or higher price point, it's likely someone who goes on a heater in those events will likely win (Ex. Jason Mercier in 2016, Phil Ivey in 2012). Negreanu was the most vocal critic last year, and he heartily approved the changes and I expect him to win WSOP POY for the third time. -Kevin Mathers John Monnette Avid readers will remember that I predicted Monnette would win Player of the Year last year. That was before the 2017 WSOP POY scoring system was discovered to be as ugly as it was. Monnette still managed to finish fifth, but probably put more emphasis on smaller buy-in No Limit Hold'em events than he wanted to. With the new system rewarding bigger buy-in events and mixed games, Monnette might be the odds-on favorite to win. He excels at mixed games and will play nearly every $10,000 or bigger buy-in event.
  9. Most poker players would consider finishing 11th in the World Series of Poker Main Event to be an amazing accomplishment. Maybe not in the moments following their elimination, but eventually they’d accept what they did as something special. For the last two years, John Cynn has allowed his 2016 11th place finish to be his career-best score. Sunday morning, however, following an epic heads-up battle with Tony Miles, Cynn changed all of that by winning the 2018 WSOP Main Event and walking away with $8.8 million. “Different. Feels very different,” Cynn said when asked to compare his emotions from each event. “I mean, neither of these are supposed to happen, right? To make 11th was insane on its own and to win, that's literally something that you dream but you never expect to happen. I think last time, when I got knocked out in 11th, I was really happy. Right now I do feel pretty overwhelmed, all of the emotions times ten.” Winning the fifth largest Main Event prize in the 49-year history of the WSOP, Cynn is well aware of how that money is going to change his life. “I don't know what people's impression of me was, but I'm not doing bad but I'm not rich, so the money is very significant, but I do like to think that I don't need the money to be happy,” Cynn said. “At the same time, practically, it's going to make things a lot easier, things I want to do in life, things for my family and parents.” He did have some more immediate plans for spending some of his winnings though. “I might use some of it to party with my friends, but other than that I think I'm going to let my emotions die down before I decide to do anything crazy, probably just get away, disappear somewhere for a while sounds nice,” Cynn said. For his part, Miles recognized what the 10-day run in poker’s most prestigious event showed him about himself as a person and a poker player. “You can do anything you put your mind to,” Dyer said. “Well in poker, you just want to be prepared and be in the best state of mind and you want to be able to execute all the time because you don't know when you're going to get the run of cards. You don't know when you're going to have an opportunity to strike, so you just have to be prepared all the time.” When the final three players returned to action Saturday night, Miles held the chip lead, Cynn had the second biggest stack and former chip leader Michael Dyer was working with the shortest stack of the three. Michael Dyer Eliminated in Third Place Michael Dyer came into the final day with just 16 big blinds and built his strategy around finding a spot to double or steal the blinds and ante. He was all in without a call on five of the first 180 hands of play, but it was the sixth all in on the 19th hand that ended Dyer’s night. Miles raised to 4,400,000 from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="jh"] and Dyer responded by moving all in for 22,200,000. Cynn folded and Miles called. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"] flop didn’t offer Dyer much help, but the [poker card="jc"] turn actually increased his available outs. The [poker card="qh"] river didn’t fill Dyer’s Broadway draw and he was eliminated in third place. “I wanted a little more, but it was pretty good. I can’t complain. Third place, that’s more than you can dream from when you start the tournament,” Dyer said. That had allowed Miles to reclaim the chip lead he had lost just two hands prior and was now sitting on a stack of 203,500,000 to Cynn’s 190,300,000. The Heads Up Marathon In the modern era of the WSOP Main Event, the longest final table belonged to 2012 when Greg Merson needed 399 hands to win. Dyer was eliminated on hand #243 and over the next 10 hours and 23 minutes, Cynn and Miles played 199 hands on their own, put the total for the final table at 442. The lead changed over a dozen times during the course of heads-up action. Tony Miles Eliminated in Second Place With blinds of 2,000,000/4,000,000 (500,000), Cynn raised to 9,000,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="jc"] and Miles responded 34,000,000 with [poker card="qc"][poker card="8h"]. The flop came [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"][poker card="5h"] and Cynn called Miles’ bet of 32,000,000. The turn was the [poker card="8d"] and Miles moved all in for 114,000,000. Cynn thought the hand through and called, giving Miles the bad news that he was drawing dead. The [poker card="4s"] river completed the board, eliminated Miles in second place and crowned Cynn as the new Main Event champion. Final Table Payouts John Cynn - $8,800,000 Tony Miles - $5,000,000 Michael Dyer - $3,750,000 Nicolas Manion - $2,825,000 Joe Cada - $2,150,000 Aram Zobian - $1,800,000 Alex Lynskey - $1,500,000 Artem Metalidi - $1,250,000 Antoine Labat - $1,000,000
  10. In what felt like a flash, the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event suddenly just has 310 players left with Barry Hutter standing on top of the entire field. Sunday's play started with 1,182 players all still hoping to become World Champ, but over 5.5 two-hour levels of play, 872 players were shown the door. Hutter managed to do some damage on Day 4 and ended up bagging nearly six million and the chip lead. Four former #1-ranked PocketFivers managed to advance to Day 5 with Shaun Deeb ending with the highest chip count at 2,175,000. Cliff Josephy (1,985,000), Paul Volpe (1,070,000) and Chris Moorman (907,000) are also still alive. Kelly Minkin Makes a Big Call For Top 10 Stack A key moment for Kelly Minkin came late in Level 19. Faced with a decision for roughly 60% of her stack, Minkin eventually managed to call her opponent's all in river bet and tabled a paired king for second pair - good enough to beat Ivan Galinec's flopped third pair. Minkin finished Day 4 with 3,459,000, good enough for the sixth-largest stack. The Demise of Phil Ivey All eyes, including those of the viewers watching at home on ESPN, were on Phil Ivey on Sunday. The 10-time bracelet winner started the day with a decent size stack and was at one of the ESPN secondary feature tables. Ultimately, Ivey was unable to navigate his way through Sunday's landmines. Ivey raised to 22,000 from middle position before Brian Altman made it 75,000 to go from late position. After the blinds folded, Ivey called. The flop came [qc][js][2s] and Ivey checked. Altman bet 60,000 and Ivey called. The [8s] turn got both players to check. The river was the [3d] and Ivey checked to Altman who bet 195,000. Ivey moved all in for 629,000 total and Altman tank-called and showed [qs][jc] for top two pair while Ivey flashed pocket nines before exiting the Amazon Room. More Than Just Ivey Though Scattered throughout the bustouts on Sunday were a number of prominent players including former World Champions, the start-of-day chip leader, European Poker Tour champion and a number of other familiar faces. 357. Mustapha Kanit - $33,305 367. Darren Elias - $33,305 379. Liv Boeree - $33,305 400. In Sun Geoum - $33,305 409. Jonathan Duhamel - $33,305 424. Frank Flowers - $29,625 428. Dominik Panka - $29,625 492. Kristen Bicknell - $26,535 541. Todd Brunson - $23,940 543. Jessica Dawley - $23,940 547. Phil Ivey - $23,940 612. Johnny Chan - $21,750 685. Eugene Katchalov - $19,900 814. Patrik Antonius - $18,340 910. Maria Konnikova - $17,025 982. Jamie Kerstetter - $15,920 Top 10 Chip Counts Barry Hutter - 5,597,000 Alexander Haro - 5,031,000 Brian Altman - 4,861,000 Andres Jeckeln - 4,506,000 Hari Bercovici - 3,510,000 Kelly Minkin - 3,459,000 Franklin Azevedo - 3,410,000 Ubaid Habib - 3,300,000 Nicholas Newport - 3,269,000 Krasimir Yankov - 3,264,000 Action resumes at 11 am PT with players expected to play another 5.5 levels.
  11. Late Saturday night in the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event, 1,182 players stood cheering the elimination of Matthew Hopkins in 1,183rd-place. His elimination burst the bubble and sent the remaining players into the money. It also ended Day 3 and In Sun Geoum bagged up 1,696,000, good enough for the chip lead. Right behind him is Frank Flowers with 1,624,000. The only woman to ever make the Main Event final table also finished with a top 10 stack. Barbara Enright, who famously finished fifth in 1995, ended the day with 1,260,000. The day began with 2,786 players still believing they had a chance at taking home the $8.8 million first-place prize money but over the course of just over ten hours of play, 1,604 players were sent packing. The math behind that is somewhat staggering. Every 23 seconds a player had their Main Event run with nothing but a story. Included in that group were Jason Mercier, Greg Merson, Matt Waxman, Matt Berkey, JC Tran, Tom Marchese, and Steffen Sontheimer. Phil Hellmuth, who began the day by showing up almost a full hour late and was dealing with some controversy for his actions in one of the final hands of play on Day 2C, was eliminated by Jans Arends. Hellmuth was all-in preflop with [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"] and Arends called holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="9d"]. The flop and turn were both clean for Hellmuth but the river was the [poker card="9h"] and he was eliminated well before the money. His elimination seemed to go over well with other players watching the live coverage on TV while playing in other Las Vegas poker rooms. There are still a number of prominent players still in contention and now hoping to turn their guaranteed cash into something better. Ben Yu (1,040,000), Paul Volpe (989,000), Chris Moorman (969,000), Chino Rheem (904,000), Phil Ivey (827,000) and Kelly Minkin (795,000) all finished with a top 100 stack. Another player who bagged up chips is four-time World Poker Tour champion Darren Elias. While he's had an impressive amount of success on the WPT, this marks the first WSOP cash of Elias' career. "It's good. I've kind of had a curse in this event, so to finally make the money after 10 tries feels good," said Elias. "I think it's just variance and over the years I probably haven't played my best in this event. I've had bad players play hands well against me and me not play hands well." Action resumes at 11 am Las Vegas time and will play a full five two-hour levels. Top 10 Chip Counts In Sun Geoum - 1,696,000 Frank Flowers - 1,624,000 Alexander Wong - 1,431,000 Samuel Bernabeu - 1,418,000 Eric Sfez - 1,390,000 Michael Lavenburg - 1,356,000 Julius Malzanini - 1,292,000 Alexandro Tricarico - 1,289,000 Kaylen Lebaron - 1,284,000 Barbara Enright - 1,260,000
  12. Most people who play the World Series of Poker Main Event don't even think of bringing their work with them when they come to chase poker immortality. Ben Mintz isn't most people though. Mintz, who hosts a drive-time sports radio show in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana, is onto Day 3 of the Main Event but has also made time to get on air while in Las Vegas, even having former #1-ranked PocketFiver Ari Engel on as a guest. Mintz last played the Main Event in 2013, long before the radio show was something he'd even considered. Mintz, also a PocketFiver, used to make his living grinding online. After Black Friday he attempted to make the transition to live poker, but it didn't quite go as he'd hoped. "I was living down in New Orleans and travelling the circuit, just kind of wasn't managing it right. I don't think it was a question of me not having enought talent, it was more about living above my means after online went down," said Mintz, who decided to leave poker behind and return to college to finish off the finance degree he'd left behind to play poker. "Then I got a huge break, my buddy used to run ESPN radio in North Louisiana and I didn't have any experience and all and I hooked up with drive-time sports radio in Shreveport-Bossier," said Mintz, whose show is called Mixin' It Up with Mintz. That was three years ago. Mintz has been building the show's audience and business up ever since and in January decided that the show was in a place where he could start traveling the circuit for poker again. He picked up some decent scores early which boosted his confidence after time away from the tables. "I made the final table of the WSOP Circuit New Orleans Main Event, I got seventh, I made a deep run in Durant, cashed the Tunica main. It's been a steady build up on the comeback," said Mintz, who just turned 35 years old. "Getting back here to the Main Event, I used to not appreciate it in my late 20s. Now I'm just so grateful to be able to play again and I found a great balance in life and I feel like the luckiest guy in the world." While completing his finance degree, Mintz had taken on a part-time job and that experience as much as anything has allowed him to appreciate his return to poker even more. "It took five years to build it back, to get to this point. Now I'm back and I've got the radio show with me too," said Mintz. "Even though I haven't played this in five years I've fallen right back into poker like I never left, except I actually have an income now to sustain it." Mintz cashed in the 2011 Main Event, finishing 75th. His winnings from that event are almost secondary to his memory of running deep - including a spot where he got to outplay one of the game's best players. "I can't even believe I did this. (Patrik Antonius) sat down at our table and just didn't recognize anybody so he just started raising 90% of the hands and we had a hand that I'll never forget. At 1,200/2,400, he made it 7,200 in the cutoff and I had king-queen on the button and I made it 18,500 and he's like, 'Who the hell is this kid?' and makes it 63,000 - went real, real big," remembered Mintz. "I had around 200K and he had 160K and I was about to fold and I remember looking at him and thinking 'This dude just doesn't think I've got the heart to put it in without kings or aces' and I bombed king-queen and he folded. I showed it and everybody just laughed at the table." Even though most people will tell you that poker, in particula No Limit Hold'em, has changed dramatically since 2013, Mintz says he hasn't felt like he was behind at all, even though he expected to find some speed bumps. "I thought I was going to have more of an adjustment coming back, but a lot of these kids now, they didn't cut their teeth during the online heyday. When I was playing Full Tilt and Stars, it was against all the top guys in the world," said Mintz. "I think that these kids coming up now on the circuit - I'm not saying they're not good players - but they didn't cut their teeth like we did. So as I came back it wasn't as much of an adjustment as I thought it would be." No matter how the rest of the Main Event goes for Mintz, he knows he's in a much better position to enjoy the ride now than he's ever been. "If you had told 12-year-old me that I was going to get to do a sports radio show 15-20 hours a week and get to play poker 15-20 hours a week? That's unbelievable. I wake up skipping out of bed every day. I love it," said Mintz.
  13. This time last year John Hesp was a complete unknown to the poker world. He traveled across the Atlantic to play the World Series of Poker Main Event after playing tiny buy-in events back home and became a mainstream media sensation. Daan Hoogendijk is hoping to follow in his footsteps. "It's a lot of money. I'm the kind of that plays, sometimes I play an $800 somewhere. If you look at my Hendon Mob my total cashes is a few thousand here, a few thousand there, but nothing like this," said Hoogendijk, who now lives in Beveren, Belgium with his wife and daughter. The most recent cashes on his Hendon Mob profile came from a €53 event in Belgium and a €100 event at King's Casino in Rozvadov. Just before the start of the WSOP Main Event, he played the $888 Crazy Eights event and finished 433rd for $2,702. That event gave him the chance to get comfortable with the WSOP. "It was okay. It was just an exercise to feel out the room and chairs and the players. It's a little tighter than Europe over here," said Hoogendijk. It was seven years ago when Hoogendijk decided he was going to play the World Series of Poker. While bodyboarding on vacation, Hoogendijk was overtaken by a wave and crashed hard on his head. "I broke my neck. I was supposed to be dead. I was in rehab for a year. I always liked poker, so I said 'I'm going to live my life'. So for the last six years, I've been working up to this and here I am," said Hoogendijk, who has watched the WSOP on TV for as long as he can remember, including during his long rehab stints following his accident. "I actually wanted to come because in 2011, I was lying in bed for a long, long time because of rehab. (The WSOP) was on and I saw all of these banners, the big, big banners in the room and I thought, 'Wow, that would be cool to have my stupid head on one of those one day?'. So that's when I decided I want to do this," said Hoogendijk. So seven years ago Hoogendijk decided he was going to save up and work towards one day getting to Las Vegas to play the WSOP. It was a matter of saving the money, but he also needed to convince his wife. "She's like 'if you don't bring home any money, you'll find the locks on the door are changed', but that's not true at all," joked Hoogendijk. "She's back at home, super supportive all the way - my daughter too." Even though he doesn't play poker often now, he doesn't feel like he's going to be overwhelmed or outmatched by the other players in the field. "Not at all. I have studied hard, I have three guys at the poker club that have coached me for the last few days, and I made sure I was fit because it's going to be long days," said Hoogendijk. With an expected field of some 7,000 players, Hoogendijk is hopeful for a deep run but realistic about his overall chances. "I just want to come here and play and have a good time. Of course, I want to win it like everybody else, but there's a lot of runners."
  14. The race for WSOP Player of the Year is at a peak with the Main Event starting today. Last week, Shaun Deeb claimed top honors thanks to his win in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller. Deeb is in second-place and in his former throne is John Hennigan. Hennigan led the race a few weeks ago when he peaked with a $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. bracelet and runner-up honors in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Mixed games are Hennigan's primary strength and he flexed a new muscle to go over 3,000 total POY points. The five-time bracelet winner finished seventh in the $10,000 Razz and final two-tabled the $10,000 Limit Hold'em. Over the weekend, Hennigan added a 16th place finish in the $3,200 WSOP.com Online High Roller to his list of cashes. Hennigan traveled to the payout desk nine times so far this summer and is yet to cash in the same game twice. Since June 2, Hennigan finishes in events are no worse than 16th place. Deeb trails Hennigan by nearly 330 points and needs to reach another final table to pass 'Johnny World.' Tied for second on the 2018 cashes list with 12, Deeb joined two small No Limit scores to his total. A min-cash in the $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty and $1,000 Online bracelet event added some points but not enough to be within immediate striking distance of Hennigan. $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo gold medalist Julien Martini surges up to third place. Seven cashes and two final tables equals 2,096.31 for the highest ranking European. Martini's second final table of the summer came in the $10,000 Razz where he laddered to third place and $134,587. There is a gap of close to 700 points between Martini and Deeb, making the race a two-player affair at this stage. Eric Baldwin's online background displayed itself with a cash in both the $1,000 and $3,200 bracelet events. Baldwin cashed in both and is up to eight scores on the summer. Mike Leah made the biggest move from players not previously in the top-10. Leah's seventh and eight cashes of the WSOP came in consecutive $10,000 events. A seventh-place spot in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha and fourth-place bid in the $10,000 Razz bring him over 2,000 points. Elio Fox's place on the podium is at an end. The $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty bracelet winner has not cashed at the WSOP since June 9 in the Millionaire Maker. Paul Volpe hangs in the top-10 thanks to his cash $10,000 Razz. Scott Bohlman, Justin Liberto, and Anthony Zinno all welcome themselves to the top-10 for the first time all summer. Bohlman won his first bracelet on June 21 in the $2,500 Big Bet Mix and supplemented the hardware with sixth place in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha. Fifth place in the Millionaire Maker is Liberto's crowning achievement of his WSOP campaign and he now has two final tables to his name in 2018. Liberto fell in seventh in the $3,200 Online High Roller for $37,356. Zinno also cashed in the two online events and has three online cashes this summer including third-place in the $565 Pot Limit Omaha. His mixed game magic includes a bronze medal from the $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship. Zinno is up to nine cashes this summer. Top 10 2018 WSOP Player Of The Year Points Thru 7/2 Position Name Points 1 John Hennigan 3,130.76 2 Shaun Deeb 2,769.11 3 Julien Martini 2,096.31 4 Eric Baldwin 2,054.58 5 Mike Leah 2,039.80 6 Elio Fox 2,010.14 7 Paul Volpe 1,935.94 8 Scott Bohlman 1,832.07 9 Justin Liberto 1,786.20 10 Anthony Zinno 1,764.42
  15. The 2018 World Series of Poker continues its trek towards the Main Event, with two new bracelet winners created after another busy session on Thursday. One player outlasted a final table which included some legends of the game, while another picked up his first piece of jewellery, and a bunch of bounties to go with it. Meanwhile, there are just four players remaining in the $3K Big Blind Ante NLHE, and a former PocketFives no.1 player leads the final 13 in the $10K Razz. All of that and more in our recap of June 28’s action. Joey Couden Overcomes Tough Final Table to Win First Bracelet in PLO 8 The final table of Event #53: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better was a star-studded affair, with the likes of Eli Elezra, Mike Matusow, and Daniel Negreanu taking a seat. But it was Joey Couden’s seat that proved to be the best in the house, as after 11 hours of play and with only a couple of minutes left on the clock for the day, he took this one down for his first bracelet and a $244,370 score. The day began with 20 players returning, led by defending champion Nathan Gamble. He’d end up bubbling the final table in tenth place, falling to Elezra who started to take control. Negreanu would then bust to Elezra too, as would Gregory Jamison in eighth. Couden also chipped up, securing a KO himself, taking things down to four-handed play. The chip lead switched between Couden, eventual runner-up Bruno Fitoussi, Elezra and Matusow, the latter of which then busted to Couden in fourth. Elezra went out in third, and Couden took a huge lead into heads-up play before finishing Fitoussi off. All the money went in pre-flop, with Fitoussi holding pocket kings. Couden managed to catch an ace on the flop though, and when the board ran out that proved to be good. Final Table Results: Joey Couden - $244,370 Bruno Fitoussi - $150,990 Eli Elezra - $106,183 Mike Matusow - $75,708 Christopher Conrad - $54,738 Kim Kallman - $40,141 Dustin Pattinson - $29,862 Gregory Jamison - $22,541 Daniel Negreanu - $17,268 Ryan Leng Takes Down $1,500 NLHE Bounty The other bracelet winner of the day was Ryan Leng, who took down Event #51: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty for a career-best cash of $272,765 and his first WSOP bracelet. [caption id="attachment_619738" align="aligncenter" width="698"] Ryan Leng Takes It Down[/caption] Only four players returned on Thursday to play this one out, and Leng held the chip lead. However, Estonia’s Ranno Sootla was not going down without a fight, having led this event much of the way. After Jay Farber and Christian Nolte hit the rail in fourth and third, Leng and Sootla began what turned out to be a long, arduous heads-up battle. It would take a cooler to end it, with all the money going in when Leng had flopped the nut straight and Sootla flopped top set. The board didn’t pair, and Leng proved victorious, denying the Estonian his shot at becoming his country’s first bracelet winner. “Sootla is one of the toughest players I’ve ever played against; he’s so good,” Leng said afterwards. “So, it was just a lot of fun to have to go through someone that good to get my first bracelet. “I hope this isn’t my first and only bracelet," he added. "I’m just going to keep working hard, keep studying; as long as I’m in poker, I’m going to have to just keep working so hard because everyone is getting so good. There’s more poker to be played… The summer’s not over yet.” Final Table Results: Ryan Leng - $272,765 Ranno Sootla - $168,464 Jay Farber - $121,932 Christian Nolte - $89,151 Javier Gomez - $65,851 Russell Rosenblum - $49,146 John Gulino - $37,063 Mark Mazza - $28,247 Mikhail Semin - $21,759 Final Four Set in $3K Big Blind Ante Just like in the Bounty event above, there will be four players returning Friday to finish out Event #54: Big Blind Antes $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em. They’re led by Barry Hutter, who with $4M in cashes and a bracelet to his name already (a $1,500 SHOOTOUT win back in 2015) certainly has the experience to close the deal. His 6,265,000 is followed by Diogo Veiga with 5,195,000, Radoslav Stoyanov with 2,495,000, and Jonathan Abdellatif with 1,350,000. All of them have their hearts set on the $522,715 top prize, while overnight they’re guaranteed $163,404. Throughout the day we lost the likes of Kristen Bicknell in 11th place ($29,284), Anna Antimony in seventh ($64,991), and David Yan in sixth ($87,179). Action resumes at 2pm Friday, and they won’t stop until a winner is crowned. Final Four Stacks: Barry Hutter - 6,265,000 Diogo Veiga - 5,195,000 Radoslav Stoyanov - 2,495,000 Jonathan Abdellatif - 1,350,000 Tag Teams Down to 28 Of the 1,032 teams who entered, and 242 which returned for Day 2, just 28 of them now remain in Event #55: $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em It’s the duo of Bon Koo and Bienvenido Caballero who bagged the chip lead with 828,000. They’re followed by William Reymond and Ami Alibay with 706,000, and Adam Lamphere, Ao Chen, and Yijie Zhang with 705,000. Other teams to advance include Manig Loeser - Joelle Parenteau - Daniel Weinand (615,000), Johan Lees - Jesse Mason (602,000) Salah 'Papa' Levy - Francis Mariani - Cord Garcia (585,000), Loni Harwood - Haixa Zhang - Kelly Minkin (480,000), and Ryan Laplante - Jack Hardcastle - Patrick Truong - Kevin Gerhart (245,000). The same can’t be said for the likes of Dara O’Kearney, Alan Widmann, Daiva Byrne and Benny Glaser, whose team took 121st place. Afterwards the team of Ashley Sleeth - Jesse Sylvia - Dylan Hortin busted in 118th place, Chris Moorman - Jeremy Menardfell were sent to the rail in 108th place, and Fraser MacIntyre - Barny Boatman - James Akenhead - Yiannis Liperis took 62nd place. Team Andrew Barber - Sam Razavi - Dan Smith - Erik Seidel busted in 72nd for $2,252, donating their winnings to the REG charity. All teams have locked up $4,175 now, but it’s the $175,805 winner’s prize they’re really hoping to split. Play resumes at 12pm Friday. Top 10 Team Stacks: Bon Koo - Bienvenido Caballero - 828,000 William Reymond - Ami Alibay - 706,000 Adam Lamphere - Ao Chen - Yijie Zhang - 705,000 Manig Loeser - Joelle Parenteau - Daniel Weinand - 615,000 Johan Lees - Jesse Mason - 602,000 Salah Levy - Francis Mariani - Cord Garcia - 585,000 Gabriel Neto - Carlos Caputo - 546,000 Thomas Gangloff - Bryan Boser - 504,000 Shalev Halfa - Oshri Lahmani - 492,000 Loni Harwood - Haixa Zhang - Kelly Minkin - 480,000 Calvin Anderson Bags Chip Lead in $10K Razz Championship They’re down to 13 in Event #56: $10,000 Razz Championship, and a very familiar face to PocketFivers sits in the top spot overnight. Former no.1 online player Calvin ‘cal42688’ Anderson bagged up a chip leading 962,000, but tomorrow is by no means going to be easy. His closest competitor is five-time bracelet winner John Hennigan, who looks set to top the Player of the Year race with a stack of 841,000. If Hennigan can win this one, he’ll have won two $10K Championship events in 2018, as well as finishing runner-up in the $50K Poker Players Championship. Amazing. Who else is joining them for the final day on Friday? Well, you’ll have Alex Balandin (833,000), Julien Martini (712,000), Mike ‘goleafsgoeh’ Leah (594,000), Dzmitry Urbanovich (592,000), Jerry Wong (529,000), Frank Kassela (252,000), Allen Kessler (238,000) and Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe (222,000). At the bottom of the counts are Ismael Bojang (99,000), Ted Forrest (48,000) and Eric Rodawig (31,000). They’ll play down to a champ beginning at 2pm Friday, with $17,706 locked up and $309,220 reserved for the winner. Final 13 Stacks: Calvin Anderson - 962,000 John Hennigan - 841,000 Alex Balandin - 833,000 Julien Martini - 712,000 Mike Leah - 594,000 Dzmitry Urbanovich - 592,000 Jerry Wong - 529,000 Frank Kassela - 252,000 Allen Kessler - 238,000 Paul Volpe - 222,000 Ismael Bojang - 99,000 Ted Forrest - 48,000 Eric Rodawig - 31,000 Big Turnout for Ladies Event The buy-in for the Ladies Event comes with two different options: $1,000 for the ladies, and $10,000 for men. Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that any males took part in Event #57: $1,000/$10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship, but a nice field of 696 women did. Only 104 of them made it through Day 1 after ten levels, with Mesha James leading the pack, bagging up 130,200. She’s followed by Vesna Kuzmanic with 102,700, and Jill Pike with 94,300. A few other notables to advance include Alexis Sterner (85,700) and Tara Snow (81,400). Some notables names made their way into Day 2 such Danielle Andersen(56,500), Lacey Jones (50,700), Melanie Weisner (47,000), Kristy Arnett (38,500) and Gaelle Baumann (37,000). Today just wasn’t the day of Jamie Kerstetter, Oanh Bui, Jennifer Shahade, Carol Fuchs, Ana Marquez, Samantha Abernathy, Sofia Lovgren, Muskan Sethi and Vivian Saliba though, who all hit the rail throughout the course of action. Things pick up again Friday at 12pm, with everyone now in the money. The min-cash is currently $1,497, but there’s $130,230 up top. Top 10 Stacks: Mesha James - 130,200 Vesna Kuzmanic - 102,700 Jill Pike - 94,300 Hana Cho - 90,400 Alexis Sterner - 85,700 Tara Snow - 81,400 Shannon Zigner - 78,800 Lisa Costello - 75,900 Tammy Abraham - 72,500 Lisa Ronning - 71,100 $5K NLHE 6-Max Kicks Off The other new event to get started on Thursday was Event #58: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed, and after then levels of play 203 of the 590 entries have advanced to Day 2. They’re all led by former November Niner Thomas Cannuli. He bagged up 286,000, and is followed by Andrew Graham (214,300) and Julian Milliard-Feral (201,900). They’re the only three to amass over 200K. A few other notables still in contention include Romain Lewis (124,800), Jake Schindler (82,600), Parker Talbot (80,200), Toby Lewis (49,900), Ivan Luca (159,400), Asi Moshe (153,300), Robert Mizrachi (140,700), Jan-Eric Schwippert (129,200), Martin Finger (121,000), and Liv Boeree (114,800). Registration remains open until things kick off at 2pm Friday. Top 10 Stacks: Thomas Cannuli - 286,000 Andrew Graham - 214,300 Julian Milliard-Feral - 201,900 Ivan Luca 159,400 Jimmy Guerrero - 157,000 Asi Moshe - 153,300 Julian Stuer - 150,000 Robert Mizrachi - 140,700 Aaron Mermelstein - 131,800 Marvin Karlins - 130,000 Tomorrow’s Action (June 29) There are a whole bunch of things to tell you about for Friday’s WSOP action. First off, Event #59: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Super Turbo Bounty kicks off at 11am, with $300 awarded for every player you knock out. Then at 3pm, there’s another Championship event starting: Event #60: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. Not able to make it to the Rio for those? You could still win a bracelet, as Event #61: $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold'em Championship starts at 3:30pm. And finally, at 7pm there’s Day 1E of the $365 PLO Giant.
  16. We might not have seen any new bracelet winners in Monday’s 2018 World Series of Poker action, but we did see two exciting final tables set for tomorrow. Both the $10K PLO Championship and the $1,500 Razz will return tomorrow with all players around one table, and they won’t stop until two shiny new bracelets are handed out. Meanwhile, the MONSTER STACK ploughed through another day and hundreds of players, and the $10K Limit Hold’em Championship kicked off. Here’s everything you need to know about June 25 at the WSOP. Final Table Set in $10K PLO Championship, Shack-Harris Leads Final 6 Brandon Shack-Harris seems to always rise to the occasion within the halls of the Rio. Over the years he has amassed 30 WSOP cashes, adding up to $2.8 million in earnings, and he’s won two bracelets. He’s now in prime position to bag a third. Shack-Harris will return tomorrow as the chip leader in Event #49: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed Championship, ending the day with 7,730,000. He’s got tough competition from the likes of fellow two-time bracelet winners Ryan Hughes (5,140,000) and Loren Klein (4,240,000), as well as three-time bracelet winner Rep Porter (2,680,000), former November Niner Jerry Wong (2,150,000), and recent bracelet winner Scott Bohlman (1,855,000). A few notables we lost during the day include Scotty Nguyen, Anton Morgenstern, Anton Tsang, Ryan Laplante, Mike Leah, and Poker Life Podcast host Joey Ingram. Ingram doesn’t usually play tournaments, preferring to play cash games, but his 17th place finish for $28,502 marks his biggest career cash. The final table kicks off at 2pm tomorrow. There’s a $1,018,336 first-place prize awaiting the winner, while everyone has now locked up a nice payday of $157,097. Final Table Stacks Brandon Shack-Harris - 7,730,000 Ryan Hughes - 5,140,000 Loren Klein - 4,240,000 Rep Porter -2,680,000 Jerry Wong - 2,150,000 Scott Bohlman - 1,855,000 Owen and Urbanovich Headline Razz Finale The second final table to be set on Monday was in Event #46: $1,500 Razz. They’re down to the final nine, with Kevin Iacofano and Michael Mckenna holding the top two counts, with 514,000 and 477,000 respectively. However, it’s PocketFivers Adam ‘adamyid’ Owen and Dzmitry ‘Colisea’ Urbanovich who we’ll be keeping a close eye on. They come in fourth (Adam) and seventh (Urbanovich) in chips, and the mixed game experts are both looking for their first piece of WSOP jewellery. In fact, nobody on this final table has won a bracelet, so we’re guaranteed a first-time winner tomorrow. That wouldn’t have been the case if any of the big names who went out today would have made it. The likes of Phil Hellmuth, Barry Greenstein, John Hennigan, Benjamin Scholl, Matt Grapenthien, Max Pescatori, and Brandon Cantu were just a few who went out before the bubble burst. When it did, we lost a few bracelet winners including Chris Bjorin (50th - $2,322), Benny Glaser (44th - $2,471), Cyndy Violette(39th - $2,471), John Cernuto (34th - $2,702), John Racener (33rd - $2,702) and Ylon Schwartz (26th - $3,034). There’s $125,431 and the bracelet for the winner, while all nine are guaranteed $7,881. Play resumes at 2pm Tuesday. Final Table Stacks: Kevin Iacofano - 514,000 Michael Mckenna - 477,000 Thomas Taylor - 410,000 Adam Owen - 340,000 Jay Kwon - 295,000 Kyle Montgomery - 261,000 Dzmitry Urbanovich - 248,000 Jeanne David - 194,000 Jeffrey Mitseff - 191,000 MONSTER STACK Day 2 In The Books There were 2,085 of the total entries 6,260 returning today for Day 2 of Event #48: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em MONSTER STACK, but when play wrapped up today just 259 remaining. Two-time bracelet winner Steve Billirakis holds the overnight chip lead with 1,399,000. Next up in the counts are James Stewart (1,220,000), Raul Manzanares Lozano (1,176,000) and David Neiman (1,160,000). Others still in with a shot include Aditya Agarwal (1,100,000), bracelet winners Gaurav Raina (357,000), Jackie Glazier (275,000) and Nipun Java (101,000), as well as Jimmy Guerrero(940,000), Kurt Jewell (768,000) and Aliaksei Boika (597,000). We lost a whole lot of players in this one. The multiple bracelet winners who returned today, making the money but failing to find a bag at the end, include Alexandru Papazian (930th place), Jack Duong (886th place), Jared Hamby (837th place), Benjamin Zamani (833rd place), Athanasios Polychronopoulos (789th place), Peter Eichhardt (702nd place), Will Givens (676th place), Phillip Hui (670th place), Scott Davies (639th place), Blair Hinkle (626th place), Mark Radoja (589th place), Loni Harwood (521st place), Ryan Riess (520th place), Ronnie Bardah (487th place), Tuan Le (501st place), Calvin Anderson (423rd place), Dan Heimiller (412th place) and Alex Bilokur (359th place). The 259 players will return at 11am Tuesday with $5,140 locked up. The winner will receive $1,037,451. Top 10 Stacks: Steve Billirakis - 1,399,000 Tommy Nguyen - 1,264,000 James Stewart - 1,200,000 Raul Manzanares Lozano - 1,176,000 David Neiman - 1,160,000 Raj Singh - 1,141,000 Sihao Zhang - 1,106,000 Francis Rusnak - 1,021,000 Ryan Lee - 983,000 Rittie Chuaprasert - 941,000 Bounty Hunting in $1,500 NLHE Event #51: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty got going today, with 1,982 players creating a $2,675,700 prize pool. After ten levels on Day 1, 298 players have advanced to Tuesday’s Day 2. That means a whole lot of bounties have already been handed out. In this event, you get $500 for every player you eliminate, so if you bust three players, you’re already freerolling. The eventual winner will no doubt bank thousands in bounties alone, as well as picking up the $272,504 that’s reserved for first place. Right now the player closest to that is Alex Whitenstall (197,800), who bagged the chip lead. He’s followed by Ranno Sootla (171,000), Sean Getzwiller (143,000), Michael Steele (122,900) and Christian Nolte (121,900). Other notables who will return for Day 2 tomorrow include Paawan Bansal (98,700), Jeff Gross (78,500), brothers Ralph Massey (73,300) and Aaron Massey (72,300), Martin Mathis (70,400), Ivan Deyra (57,400) and Maria Konnikova (35,900). Where there are survivors there must be casualties, and some of those who handed their bounty chips over today include Phil Hellmuth, Sean Deeb, Kristen Bicknell, Alex Foxen, Phil Laak, Chris Ferguson, Bertrand Grospellier, Chris Moorman, Mohsin Charania, Joey Weissman, Allen Kessler, Anthony Reategui, Heidi May, Ben Yu and Maria Lampropulos. Action resumes at 12pm Tuesday. The bubble burst right at the day of play, meaning all players have secured $1,415. Top 10 Stacks: Alex Whitenstall - 197,800 Quyen Hoang - 178,000 Samuel Miller - 177,400 Ranno Sootla - 171,000 Juan Vecino - 156,300 Evan Lavallee - 143,700 Sean Getzwiller - 143,300 Justin Liberto - 137,800 DID NOT REPORT - 129,800 Artem Metalidi - 127,400 $10K Limit Hold’em Championship Gets Going The next championship event on the schedule kicked off on Monday, with 101 players taking a shot in Event #52: $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship. Leading the 43 survivors overnight is Michael Moore with 268,500, followed by Joao Vieira (211,000) Ofir Mor (205,000), and Nick Schulman (202,000). The latter of those four was one of the last entries, and certainly made up for lost time, while Mike Leah was the last one to get in. He too had a great short day of play, bagging up 125,000. Other notables who advanced include Anthony Zinno, Juha Helppi, Benny Glaser, Andre Akkari, Maria Ho, Chris Klodnicki, Ismael Bojang, Jeff Lisandro, and John Hennigan. The same can’t be said for Daniel Negreanu, Kevin Song, Erik Siedel, Shaun Deeb, James Obst, JC Tran, and Defending champion Joe McKeehen, all of whom hit the rail throughout the day. The 43 will be back at 2pm Tuesday for another day of Limit action. Registration is open until then. Top 10 Stacks: Michael Moore - 260,500 Joao Vieira - 211,000 Ofir Mor - 205,000 Nick Schulman - 202,000 Christopher Chung - 171,500 Jameson Painter - 169,500 Philip Cordano - 165,000 Ken Deng - 163,000 Anthony Zinno - 159,000 Ray Henson - 154,500 Tomorrow’s Action (June 26) There are two new events ready and waiting to get started on Tuesday June 26. If you’re up early enough, at 11am you can hop into Event #53: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better. Decide to have a lie in? At 3pm, you could play Event #54: Big Blind Antes $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em.
  17. Six months ago, Niall Farrell finally slew the dragon and won his first World Series of Poker bracelet, beating out a tough field in the €25,000 High Roller at WSOP Europe. Now, the Scottish poker pro is in Las Vegas for the 2018 World Series of Poker hoping to add another bracelet to his collection. Over the course of the 2018 WSOP, 50 Days & 50 Nights chronicles Farrell’s summer; the highs and the lows and all the stuff that happens in between. A quick glance at Niall Farrel's WSOP results so far this summer and something immediately jumps out. There's not a lot of them. He managed to find a min-cash in the $1,000 Double Stack event last weekend though. "I haven't gotten it yet. It's been a fairly annoying week or so or whatever, but it's alright. Just kind of showing up every day, losing very quickly and going home," said Farrell. "You start seeing monsters under the bed. You play a hand and then someone shoves the river and you're like, 'Oh, for fuck's sake. They have it again.' Whereas you have to try and take each hand on an individual basis rather than, 'Well, they've had it all summer. So I guess they have it again'," said Farrell. While it might seem like Farrell is down on himself, he's not. The 2017 WSOP Europe High Roller champion understands that it's all part and parcel of being a pro - and his response to a cold streak is part of what will get him through it. "I know poker players, obviously they run bad, but I am running dreadfully this summer. But it's like 20 tournaments. It's very easy for that to happen, so you just keep showing up and, you know, it's the old cliche it only takes one and then you're up for the summer," said Farrell. Throughout the cold streak, Farrell has relied on roommates Michael Gagliano and Daniel Strelitz to keep him focused. He also understands that playing well doesn't always translate to immediate results. "I put hands in the (group) chat and I'm still playing fine. Just some of the hands are pretty ridiculous. But you know, it's poker," said Farrell. "It's maybe more of a juxtaposition when you've been running as well as I have for the last three years. That's a little shock to the system, but I've seen it before and I'm sure I'll see it again. So it's not super upsetting, but obviously, I'd prefer to be making some runs and stuff and having some fun." Farrell isn't the only one in the house having a rough go through the first half of the WSOP. The group has combined for just nine WSOP cashes between them. "I think everyone's down money this summer, which if it stays that way, it will be the first time since 2011 that we've all bricked off, which is pretty absurd actually if you think about it," said Farrell. "Over the years we've all had like a major score or something every single year. I think Gags got tenth in the $5K. It's the closest we've come. I mean it's just, we're all long time professionals. We're all pretty lucky enough that if we all brick this summer, it's not gonna be the end of the world." That's not to say Farrell hasn't found ways to keep his spirits up and keep himself entertained. He's stepped away from the WSOP a few times to check out Deadpool and Solo, but he's also managed to have some fun in other events at the Rio. One day, after busting yet another bracelet event, Farrell "We were in the $1K PLO and I busted pretty quickly and Gagliano and Strelitz were still in, so I waited for five minutes because Strelitz had 12 bigs or something and he kept playing like a massive nit and I was like, 'I'm going to go play the daily deep stack and have a beer. If you bust, just let me know and I'll just like get up and leave'. I just wanted something to do while I was waiting." He ended up cashing in it for a whopping $414. He wasn't done there though. He ended up in another shortly after, but this one came with more of a challenge, just to keep things interesting. "I actually played another one where I bought some more action off of Gags at 1.5, but the provision was I didn't get to look at my cards. So I had to play it without looking at my cards, which lead to some kind of interesting showdowns at the river." Despite this, Farrell doesn't think anybody at the table caught on to what he was doing. He had a basic strategy that saw him folding every time from UTG but when he was in a pot, he followed a pretty simple rule. "Basically, my strategy was to just c-bet 100%, which is what everyone does out here anyway, and if the turn card is higher than the top pair on the board just to triple off, but if it's lower just to give up," said Farrell. "So, I ended up having to show down [ad][qd] on like 10-3-2-8, three diamonds. And the river paired the board, so at least I didn't get a penalty. But I had to check the river and I turned over [ad][qd] and I just burst out laughing." Some quick-thinking saved Farrell from having to explain what he was doing the table. "I was like, 'Oh yeah, I thought I had hearts, not diamonds. God, I'm so silly.' But no one knew, no one has any idea, you make it if look like you're playing. Like, if I know I'm going to fold, I'll look at my cards very obviously, so it looks like I'm still looking." When he's not mixing it up with the tourists in the DDS, Farrell has managed to sneak in some World Cup action as well, but with his native Scotland at home watching again, he's had to adopt a couple of countries to cheer for just based on who his friends are. He found himself cheering on the Germans over the weekend with Marvin Rettenmaier and some other Germans at the brauhaus in Vegas. He also purchased a Panama 2018 kit. It wasn't so much that he was cheering for Panama as he was cheering against England. Things there didn't quite work out for him either, as the English side went on to win 6-1 - but Farrell made some new friends along the way. [caption id="attachment_619670" align="alignnone" width="225"] Farrell was more than happy to run into another Panama supporter during a World Cup viewing party.[/caption]  
  18. There were two bracelet winners on Wednesday at the 2018 World Series of Poker, and one of those wins has provided one of the coolest stories of the summer so far. Meanwhile, two tournaments will return tomorrow very close to the end, with one heads-up and another three-handed. The final table of the SHOOTOUT has also been set, while the $25K PLO High Roller played through its Day 1. Here’s everything you need to know about June 21’s WSOP action. Farhintaj Bonyadi Takes Down Super Seniors Event for $311,451 Against all the odds, Farhintaj Bonyadi defeated Robert Beach heads-up to capture her first WSOP bracelet and the $311,451 first-place prize. She’s now the second bracelet winner in her family, with her son Farzad “Freddy” Bonyadi holding three. The two returned to finish off Event #36: $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em today, with Beach holding a huge chip lead. He had 9 million to Bonyadi’s 2 million, but Bonyadi began to chip up almost immediately, winning several pots without showdown. That gap was closed to a 2:1 chip lead, and then before you knew it Bonyadi held the lead herself. In the final hand, there was a straight on board by the river and Bonyadi triple-barrelled to put Beach all-in. He made the call, having flopped top pair, but Bonyadi had the top end of the straight to secure the win. “She wants to catch me now,” Farzad joked after his mom’s win. “She did it all on her own. I told her to play patiently when she was short and she did it. I think she played masterfully today.” “I’m just so happy,” added Farhintaj, who claims her first tournament victory after two runner-up finishes in the Rio Daily Deepstacks in 2012 and 2016. Final Table Results: Farhintaj Bonyadi - $311,451 Robert Beach - $192,397 Paul W Lee - $140,273 Linda Iwaniak - $103,215 Russell Sutton - $76,655 Alan Denkenson - $57,465 Charles Thompson - $43,489 Neil Henley - $33,227 Bill Fogel - $25,633 Yaniv Birman Wins $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship for $236,238 The second winner of the day had to battle his way through the whole final table on his way to victory. Yaniv Birman entered the Event #38: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship finale with the chip lead, and successfully overcame a tough final table to bank the $236,238 and the bracelet. [caption id="attachment_619639" align="aligncenter" width="683"] Bracelet #1 for Yaniv Birman[/caption] Along the way, Lars Gronning was the first to fall. He came in as the short stack, and his elimination was quickly followed by the player who eliminated him, Joseph Cappello. James Obst then exited, before Matt Grapenthien and Lee Salem followed suit. Birman never lost the chip lead, despite not eliminating a single player until heads-up. Bracelet winner Ben Yu went out in third, leaving Birman to duel with two-time bracelet winner Jesse Martin. Martin managed to double up, but couldn’t pick up any steam from there. "I barely ever play tournaments so it's fun,” Birman said after his win. “I play once or twice a year. I got here Monday, and this was the first tournament I signed up for. The truth is I don't play much poker anymore. Stud is my favourite game - all types of Stud. I play a lot of high-limit games in L.A. "I'm predominantly a businessman, and I just play poker for fun. [Winning a bracelet] is just a great feeling.” Final Table Results: Yaniv Birman - $236,238 Jesse Martin - $146,006 Ben Yu - $99,340 Lee Salem - $69,928 Matt Grapenthien - $50,669 James Obst - $37,904 Joseph Cappello - $29,306 Lars Gronning - $23,443 Three Remain in DOUBLE STACK One of the two tournaments to play down to just two or three players remaining is Event #34: $1,000 DOUBLE STACK No-Limit Hold’em. Robert Peacock enters the fifth and final day as an overwhelming chipleader with 38,200,000 chips. Joining him will be Nicholas Salimbene (10,400,000) and Joshua Turner (8,400,000). Twenty players returned today, and along the way the likes of Ramin Hajiyev (15th Place - $34,929), Matt Stout (12th Place - $44,407), and Keith Ferrera (11th Place - $44,407), and Tomas Teran Paredes (10th Place - $44,407) exited before the final table was set. Jacky Wong (4th - $219,952), Ralph Wong (5th - $165,342), Daniel Eichhorn (6th - $125,215), James Ostrowski (7th - $95,538), Pfizer Jordan (8th - $73,446), and Takao Shizumi (9th - $56,891) rounded out the final table. The final three return at 12pm Thursday to find a winner. Blinds will be 500K/1M. Final Three Stacks: Robert Peacock - 38,200,000 Nicholas Salimbene - 10,400,000 Joshua Turner - 8,400,000 Heads-Up in $1,500 NLHE The other near-finish on Wednesday night was in Event #37: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, which played down to just two. When action resumes tomorrow, it’ll be Eric Baldwin (7,550,000) heads-up against Ian Steinman (2,200,000). Baldwin seeks his second bracelet, having won his first back in 2009, while Steinman will have to overcome a healthy chip deficit to win his first. Throughout the day, we lost the likes of Ryan Goindoo, Thomas Kurtz, Ryan Laplante, Enrico Rudelitz, Jason Wheeler, Kirk Banks, Jay Farber, JC Tran, and Geoffrey Lavinson prior to the final table. The final table so far has seen the eliminations of Enrico Rudelitz (3rd - $140,957), Aaron Massey (4th - $101,819), Robert Georato (5th - $74,434), Michael Finstein (6th - $55,077), Stephen Song (7th - $41,257), Gilsoo Kim (8th - $31,290), and Mathew Moore (9th - $24,032). Things kick off again at 12pm Thursday with blinds at 50K/100K. SHOOTOUT Finale Set At the start of play on Wednesday, 100 players who won their first round tables returned to the Rio to sit around ten ten-handed tables to play round 2. Unsurprisingly, ten players made it through to Day 3 - the final table. There’s no major chip leader in Event #39: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout, as all ten players start with near enough the same stacks. Anthony Reategui is one notable to look out for though, as he finished seventh in the $3K SHOOTOUT a couple of weeks ago. Reategui also won a bracelet back in 2005. There were a bunch of notables who failed to win their second tables today, including Scott Blumstein, Phil Hellmuth, Rep Porter, Philip Tom, Justin Liberto, Vlad Darie, Georgios Sotiropoulos, Tom Hall, Demosthenes Kiriopoulos, Arkadiy Tsinis, Jesse Sylvia, William Kakon, and Matthew Waxman. You’ll find the line-up for tomorrow below. Play gets going at 12pm. Anthony Reategui - 672,500 Young Phan - 670,000 Dylan Linde - 668,000 Royce Matheson - 668,000 Corey Dodd - 664,500 Endrit Geci - 663,500 Jesse Kertland - 662,500 Bas de Laat - 661,000 Preston Lee - 656,000 Alexander Lakhov - 654,000 Five Left in Mixed Big Bet They’re down to another final table over in Event #40: $2,500 Mixed Big Bet, and it’s Scott Bohlman who bagged the chip lead when play ended five-handed. And when we say chip lead, we mean a monstrous dominating lead that sees Bohlman holding 60% of the chips in play. His 1,556,000 is most closely followed by Ryan Hughes with 345,000. His huge surge came from several big pots, including making a wheel in a Pot Limit 2-7 Triple Draw hand to eliminate Dario Sammartino. They’ll return to play down to a winner at 2pm Thursday. Final Table Chip Counts: Scott Bohlman - 1,556,000 Ryan Hughes - 345,500 Daniel Weinman - 292,800 Aaron Rogers - 261,800 Marcel Vonk - 100,000 Day 1 of $1,500 Limit Hold’em Wraps Up A new event kicked off on Wednesday: Event #41: $1,500 Limit Hold’em. It attracted 596 runners, but after ten levels just 174 were bagging up chips. Brian Vollick had the best day of the lot, ending proceedings with 71,500. Other big stacks include Rex Clinkscales (69,900), Kurt Maier (68,200) and Jeremy Heartberg (66,200). A few notables who tried and failed in this one include Daniel Negreanu, Andre Akkari, Mike Leah, Humberto Brenes, Phillip Hui, Michael Moore, Todd Witteles, Ryan Laplante, David 'ODB' Baker, Chris Ferguson, and Luis Calvo. When the return tomorrow for Day 2, the blinds will be 1K/2K. Top 10 Stacks: Brian Vollick - 71,500 Rex Clinkscales - 69,900 Cody Riedel - 68,600 Kurt Maier - 68,200 Jeremy Heartberg - 66,200 Daniel Needleman - 64,600 Phil Goatz - 64,200 Jared Woodin - 59,100 Andrew Yip - 55,900 Alan Bittikofer - 55,300 $25K PLO High Roller Kicks Off Well, Daniel Negreanu must have dashed straight over to Event #42: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller after busting the Limit Hold’em, and it proved to be a good decision. Negreanu ended the day with the third largest stack out of the 101 survivors, behind only Konstantin Beylin (617,500) and Veselin Karakitukov (549,500). In total there were 192 entries, but registration is still open until the start of level 13. They played 10 levels today, and a few notables who made it through include Chance Kornuth (473,500), Robert Mizrachi (453,000), Artem Babakhanyan (436,000), Chris "BigHuni" Hunichen (374,000), Scotty Nguyen (347,500), Jason Koon (325,000), Brian Rast (312,500), Paul ‘paulgees82’ Volpe (258,500), defending champion James Calderaro (234,500) and Tommy Le (230,000). Play resumes at 2pm tomorrow with blinds at 1,500/3,000. Top 10 Stacks: Konstantin Beylin - 617,500 Veselin Karakitukov - 549,500 Daniel Negreanu - 532,000 Aaron Katz - 525,000 George Wolff - 504,500 David Len Ashby - 498,500 Bogdan Capitan - 496,000 Fraser MacIntyre - 482,000 Craig Varnell - 479,500 Chance Kornuth - 473,500 Tomorrow’s Action (June 21) There are two new events kicking off on Thursday. First up is Event #43: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em, starting nice and early at 11am. Then at 3pm, there’s the Event #44: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship. Ben Yu took that one down last year for $232,738, defeating Shaun Deeb heads-up.
  19. Somehow, Wednesday night at the 2018 World Series of Poker will probably go down as one of the most surreal in the 49-year history of the event. Not only did the Main Event reach a final table in a dramatic fashion, but the most decorated player in WSOP history, Phil Hellmuth, added to his legend with yet another bracelet. This is the Main Event There were 26 players at the start of Day 7 of the WSOP Main Event but over a 12-hour span, 17 players were eliminated leaving just the nine players to make up the final table. Shortstacks Jeffrey Trudeau, Barry Hutter and Bart Lybaert all fell early with Eric Froehlich, who started Day 6 with the 10th biggest stack, getting coolered with pocket queens against Alex Lynskey's pocket kings to join them on the rail. Ivan Luca, former November Niner Sylvain Loosli, Frederik Brink and Ryan Phan all busted to leave the unofficial final table of 10 players waiting for one more elimination before stopping play for the night. The final hand was one for the ages. Nicolas Manion raised to 1,500,000 from UTG. Antoine Labat called from middle before Yueqi Zhu came over the top, moving all in for 24,700,000 from late position. Manion responded by moving all in for 43,100,000. Labat, the biggest stack of the three, took some time before eventually calling. Zhu revealed [kh][ks], Manion tabled [ah][as] and Labata turned over [kc][kd]. The board ran out [jd][7c][4c][3s][jc] to eliminate Zhu in tenth place, leaving Labata with just 8,050,000 and boosting Manion into the chip lead with a nearly full triple up. "Somehow this is real life," said Manion, who finished with 112,775,000. "When I got both calls, I flipped over my hand, I went straight to my rail and looked up at the TV and saw they both had pocket kings to my aces." Michael Dyer, who spent most of the day Wednesday in the chip lead, finished just behind Manion with 112,775,000. Remarkably, the final table includes repeat appearance from a Main Event champion from the November Nine era for the first time in history. Joe Cada, who won the 2009 WSOP Main Event, finished with 23,675,000, good enough for the sixth biggest stack. "It was a lot more of a grind this time. I respect the tournament more," said Cada, who was down to 9,000 on Day 1 before rebuilding his stack. " The final table resumes at 5:30 pm PT with the ESPN broadcast starting at 6:00 pm PT. The current schedule calls for play to continue Thursday until six players remain. Final Table Chip Counts Nicolas Manion - 112,775,000 Michael Dyer - 109,175,000 Tony Miles - 42,750,000 John Cynn - 37,075,000 Alex Lynskey - 25,925,000 Joe Cada - 23,675,000 Aram Zobian - 18,875,000 Artem Metalidi - 15,475,000 Antoine Labat - 8,050,000 Phil Hellmuth Wins Bracelet #15 [caption id="attachment_619988" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Phil Hellmuth continues to silence his critics, winning a 15 WSOP bracelet on Wednesday night.[/caption] It's been an interesting summer for Phil Hellmuth. Seemingly mired in some sort of controversy from the very first week, Hellmuth spent two days earlier this week defending, and eventually apologizing for, his actions late on Day 2 of the Main Event that may have cost another player their tournament life. On Thursday night, with the Main Event playing down to a final table in another room, Hellmuth overcame the 2.5-1 chip lead of Steven Wolansky to win the 15th bracelet of his career. Faced with the possibility of yet another runner-up finish, Hellmuth gave himself a little pep talk. "I said, ... 'When's the next time you're going to have an opportunity like this where you're heads up for a bracelet? You just need to hang in there and stay strong', and I stayed strong and then luckily hit some cards," said Hellmuth. Hellmuth, who holds the WSOP records for wins and cashes, gave Wolansky credit for making the final table a difficult one for him. "He wouldn't give an inch, so I had to start thinking about, okay how do I want to handle this? And I thought alright, I'm going to have to try to steal more pots against him, to give myself a chance because he's just not giving a chip away, he's making it really tough, and I can't blink first either," said Hellmuth. "I just have to like just keep playing my best poker until the end and maybe something great will happen." Hellmuth's last bracelet came in 2015, when he won the $10,000 Razz Championship event.
  20. As Day 6 of the 2018 World Series of Poker plays down to 27 players, Clayton Fletcher continues to generate social media buzz from some Hollywood heavyweights who are clearly leading his cheering section. Fletcher, who works as a stand-up comedian, is in the midst of his second deep run in the Main Event. In 2016, he outlasted all but 95 other players and even spent time as the overall chip leader. The second time around is quite a different ride though. "It's just been really different because that year I actually had a chip lead for many, many hours and this tournament has been different because in that I've just been kind of hanging around average," said Fletcher. "I've been sticking right around the average stack for most of the tournament, so it's just a different game when you're not able to be a big stack bully which is actually my natural playing style." Fletcher developed that playing style playing against family and friends from the time he was nine years old in the Friday night Fletcher home game. "I probably started enjoying poker when I was nine years old. I have two brothers, and between those two guys and then my mom, and of course all my uncles, it's something that if you're a Fletcher you know how to play poker. It's kind of part of our lifestyle," said Fletcher. When he first started playing, the game was Five Card Stud. Then it evolved to Seven Card Stud and even draw games. Every Friday night, starting some time around the late 70s or early 80s, the house would be packed. "I can remember one night we had 38 people in the house - family and friends. It's kind of legendary. There's food, there's laughter. It's very, very serious ... a $20 buy-in, very serious game," Fletcher joked. "The Fletchers like poker, man." Don't think for a second that Fletcher is just some home game hero enjoying a seemingly impossible second Main Event run. He's just as passionate about poker as he is about stand-up comedy and he counts himself fortunate that he's able to play as often as he does. "I play between 35 and 40 tournaments a year and a lot of times I try to structure those tournaments around my comedy schedule or I try to structure my comedy schedule around the tournaments I like to play," said Fletcher. "So if I look and I really have a certain stop on the tour I want to go, like for example Melbourne, I'll call the comedy clubs in that area and try to get a gig so that I can do both." Fletcher has, in fact, made his way to the Aussie Millions on a couple of occasions to work some local comedy joints while also getting in a few Aussie Millions events. The ESPN feature table has been focused on other players so far throughout this tournament, but he's got some support from some big names chomping at the bit to see him get on the feature table. Brian Koppelman, who co-wrote Rounders, has been social media showing support and fellow comic Norm McDonald has also shown some love. "Well, Brian (Koppelman) is a good friend, I've known him for many years. I've actually done stand up with him," said Fletcher. "Norm's a great guy. I actually met him back in 2015 when I had that other deep run and he showed me some support because he heard that there was a comic, he hadn't heard of me, but he came and showed some love. He remembers that and he's been texting me and tweeting about me and that's been awesome." The Main Event isn't at all an opportunity for Fletcher to promote himself. He wants to be known as a serious and formidable player that came to poker's biggest stage and forced people to remember his name. So much so that he gets choked up thinking about what it would mean to him to make the final table or even win. "It just means that ... I ... left my mark. I want to leave my mark," said Fletcher, struggling to find the proper words. "At night I dream about winning bracelets." Fletcher has a weekly stand-up show of his own in New York City at the Greenwich Comedy Club. The Main Event doesn't wrap up until Saturday night though. "I'm usually there on Fridays, but I'm hoping I won't be able to make this Friday," said Fletcher. "I want to be here."
  21. After all the madness that was a record-setting Day 1C of the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event, a rather modest 2,453 players made their way back to the Rio for Day 2AB. Just a little more than half - 1,244 to be exact - of those players managed to find a bag with chips in it at the end of the night after another five levels of play. Leading the way is California's Shawn Daniels who built his stack from 84,200 to a 532,000. Daniels was one of just five players to end the day with more than a half-million chips. Sean Ruane, younger brother of former November Niner and last year's 10th place finisher Michael Ruane, ended the day with 361,400. Some of the more well-known players to bag chips on Thursday incldued Ben Yu (311,000), Jason Strasser (283,900), Darryll Fish (278,800), Chris Klodnicki (266,900), Marvin Rettenmaier (256,400), Darren Elias (240,700), Mustapha Kanit (235,800) and Shaun Deeb (218,300). Michael Mizrachi Rides Roller Coaster All Day Long Over the first two days of play, poker fans at home have been tuning in to watch Michael Mizrachi play his aggressive style and he's rewarded them. Mizrachi finished Day 2AB with 62,500 after a day that the four-time WSOP bracelet winner described as frustrating. "I was playing a lot of pots, but I couldn't get anything going. All my big starting hands lost, which I didn't have many but every one I had couldn't hold or I got out-flopped," said Mizrachi. Mizrachi, who has cashed in the Main Event three times over the course of his career, knows that his strategy needs to change when he comes back for Day 3. "The first two days I'll play a lot more hands as I get a feel for the table and I can take those risks. The blinds are so small, so you try to flop hands and bust people and build a big, huge stack, so I'm prepared for Day 3, Day 4, Day 5," said Mizrachi. "Now, Day 3 is a totally different gameplan. I've got to just sit back and wait for good spots, look for the weaker players and attack them when you're in position. I've got to be patient." Not Everybody Found a Bag - Some Found the Exit There were some players who unfortunately saw their run at hte $8.8 million first place prize money come to an end on Day 2AB. Included in that group were David Tuchman, Dan Smith, Justin Bonomo, John Hesp, Erik Seidel, Joe Hachem, Tony Dunst, Andre Akkari, and Antoine Saout, Top 10 Day 2AB Chip Counts Shawn Daniels - 532,500 Eric Liebeler - 531,000 Samuel Bernabeu - 524,000 Michael Dyer - 502,400 Casey McCarrel - 501,800 Brian Borne - 496,000 Frank Bonacci - 486,300 David Cabrera Polop - 483,800 Smain Mamouni - 481,500 Mohamed Mokrani - 480,000 Galen Hall Goes from Retiree to Bracelet Winner The $888 Crazy Eights event was supposed to end on Tuesday, but the final three players decided to bag up their chips and return to play on Thursday to give each of them a chance to play Main Event Day 1C. Turned out to be a pretty good decision for Galen Hall. The now-retired poker pro started with the chip lead and finished off his final two competitors to win the first bracelet of his career. “I thought I definitely had an edge today. On Tuesday, after a whole long day of play, it's just harder to switch things up. People are a little tired, and I thought I had a good read on what was going on," said Hall. "Today, I had to scale it back for the first 30 minutes or so to see – a lot of times players will get coaching, or they get rest, they change their style a little bit if there's time off. Luckily, I ran hot, so it didn't matter.” Hall added $888,888 to his lifetime earnings which now pushes him past the $5,000,000 mark. It took a little bit more than 90 minutes for Hall to best Niels Herregodts in third and Eduards Kudrjavcevs in second. Hall won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2011 but has spent less and less time playing poker over the last few years, focusing on his career as a hedge fund manager. Final Table Payouts Galen Hall - $888,888 Eduards Kudrjavcevs - $476,888 Niels Herregodts - $355,888 Andrey Zaichenko - $266,888 Alexander Kuzmin - $201,888 Jeremiah Miesen - $153,888 Martin Stausholm - $117,888 Philip Tom - $90,888
  22. After a ‘no bracelet’ day on Monday, we saw two new bracelet winners on Tuesday at the 2018 World Series of Poker. One of them picked up his first piece of WSOP jewellery, while the other claimed his third, plus over a million bucks to go with it. Meanwhile, the MONSTER STACK played down to 20, the $10K Limit Championship got down to 14, and the $3K NLHE kicked off for Day 1. Here’s all the news from June 26. Razz Specialist Jay Kwon Wins First Bracelet and $125,431 Coming into the final table fifth in chips, and with some stiff competition from the likes of start-of-day chip leader Kevin Iacofano, Adam ‘adamyid’ Owen, and Dzmitry ‘Colisea’ Urbanovich, meant Jay Kwon had his work cut out for him in Event #46: $1,500 Razz. Thing is though, Kwon considers himself a Razz specialist, and with two prior cashes in WSOP Razz events, he’s now a bracelet winner in the format. "Razz is like my favorite game, and I feel like it's an underappreciated game and people get frustrated at it," Kwon said after his victory. "But I love the game and yeah, this means more to me than a lot of tournaments. I started playing it and it was really interesting, so I kind of got into it and just started playing it a lot. I'm somewhat of a Razz specialist.” His ability in the game was on display today, defeating the aforementioned tough final table. Owen bowed out in third, meaning Kwon was up against Urbanovich heads-up. The Polish wunderkind built a 2.5:1 chip lead at one point, but Kwon was able to fight back and close it out. Final Table Results: Jay Kwon - $125,431 Dzmitry Urbanovich - $77,526 Adam Owen - $52,536 Michael McKenna - $36,324 Kevin Iacofano - $25,637 Thomas Taylor - $18,477 Jeff Mitseff - $13,605 Jeanne David - $10,240 Kyle Montgomery - $7,881 Loren Klein Wins Bracelet #3 in $10K PLO Championship ($1,018,336) For the third year running, Loren Klein has bagged himself a WSOP bracelet. And this one, his third, is a big one. Klein took down Event #49: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship for a massive $1,018,336 score, defeating three-time bracelet winner Rep Porter heads-up to clinch victory. Klein’s previous WSOP bracelets came in a $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha in 2016, and a $1,500 PLO event in 2016. It’s safe to say that PLO is this guy’s game. Brandon Shack-Harris came into the six-handed finale as chip leader, but would ultimately have to settle for a third-place finish. He’ll have to wait for another tournament to grab his third bracelet, as will fifth-place finisher Ryan Hughes. Prior to those eliminations, we lost 2018 bracelet winner Scott Bohlman in sixth. When asked what winning a bracelet three years in a row meant to him, Klein said :”Not a ton, the variance in getting a bracelet is pretty wild. I was the same player I was three years ago before I had any bracelet, so it doesn't mean a whole lot. But it is certainly a good time. There are a lot of guys that make good runs all the time, so I am probably right there with them." Final Table Results: Loren Klein - $1,018,336 Rep Porter - $629,378 Brandon Shack-Harris - $433,259 Jerry Wong - $303,491 Ryan Hughes - $216,391 Scott Bohlman - $157,097 MONSTER STACK Down to 29 They call it the ‘Mini Main Event’, and Event #48: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em MONSTER STACK has certainly lived up to that banner, what with 6,260 players taking part. After Tuesday’s Day 3 though, just 29 players remain in the hunt. Vitor Rangel is the player closest to the $1,037,451 first-place prize right now, as he bagged the overnight chip lead with 8,910,000. He’s followed by James Carroll (8,165,000), Harald Sammer (7,170,000) and Rittie Chuaprasert (5,785,000). Other notables still in contention include Michael Benko (5,250,000), Colin McHugh (4,310,000), James Salmon (4,210,000), two-time WSOP bracelet winner Steve Billirakis (4,145,000) and Jimmy Chen (4,000,000). The final 29 will return Wednesday at 11am, with all players guaranteed a $28,841 payday. Top 10 Stacks: Vitor Rangel - 8,920,000 James Carroll - 8,165,000 Harald Sammer - 7,170,000 Rittie Chuaprasert - 5,785,000 Michael Benko - 5,250,000 Colin McHugh - 4,310,000 James Salmon - 4,210,000 Steve Billirakis - 4,145,000 Jimmy Chen - 4,000,000 Raul Manzanares Lozano - 3,365,000 Day 2 of BOUNTY Takes Field Down to 29 Just like in the MONSTER STACK, Event #51: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em BOUNTY is also down to just 29 players. The 1,982 field has been whittled down to that after Tuesday’s Day 2 action. The overnight chip leader is Ranno Sootla, who entered the day with the second biggest stack and ended with the largest - 1,500,000 million. Not too far behind him is Ryan Leng with 1,381,000 in chips, while the next biggest stacks belong to 2013 Main Event runner-up Jay Farber (901,000), Jamie ‘EzGame89’ O’Connor (also 901,000), Russell Rosenblum (730,000), Mikhail Semin (677,000) and Marvin Rettenmaier (316,000). Throughout the course of play we lost several notables from the field, including Aaron Massey, (36th - $6,946), Dieter Dechant (54th - $4,765), Jan Eric Schwippert (56th - $4,014), Men Nguyen (66th - $3,419), James Mackey (89th - $2,576) and Andrey Zaichenko (144th - $1,846). There’s a very attractive $272,504 waiting for the winner, as well as the bracelet. Everyone has locked up $6,946 by making Day 3, which kicks off at 12pm Wednesday. Top 10 Stacks: Ranno Sootla - 1,500,000 Ryan Leng - 1,381,000 Jay Farber - 901,000 Jamie O’Conner - 901,000 Russell Rosenblum - 730,000 Mikhail Semin - 677,000 Juan Vecino - 663,000 Ryne Capra - 602,000 Robert Damelian - 562,000 Quyen Hoang - 554,000 Stacked Final Two Tables in $10K Limit Hold’em There are 11 bracelets split between the final 14 players in Event #52: $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship, but the guy who holds a massive chip lead overnight is seeking his first piece of WSOP gold. Dan Zack dominates the field right now with more than double the chips of the second largest stack. Zack bagged up 1,217,000, followed by Matt Szymaszek with 561,000 and Nick Schulman with 499,000. Schulman is going for his third bracelet. Other bracelet winners still in include one-time winners Anthony Zinno, Scott Seiver, and Michael Moore, and three-time winners Benny Glaser and Brock Parker. Rounding out the field are Christopher Chung, Ken Deng, Matt Glantz, Philip Cordano, Maria Ho, and Bryce Landier. A few of the notables who went deep include Joao Vieira and John Hennigan, the latter of which adds points to his Player of the Year run. The final 14 have $17,000 locked up, but they’re all after the $296,222 first-place prize and the bracelet that goes with it. Will we have a new bracelet winner or will it go to one of the previous winners? Find out tomorrow when they return at 2pm. Final 14 Stacks: Dan Zack - 1,217,000 Matt Szymaszek - 561,000 Nick Schulman - 499,000 Anthony Zinno - 493,000 Christopher Chung - 487,000 Scott Seiver - 467,000 Ken Deng - 406,000 Michael Moore - 368,000 Matt Glantz 267,000 Philip Cordano - 251,000 Maria Ho - 224,000 Benny Glaser - 215,000 Brock Parker - 167,000 Bryce Landier - 83,000 Negreanu, Hellmuth, Elezra Advance in $1,500 PLO Hi-Lo 8 Day 1 of Event #53: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better wrapped up on Tuesday, with plenty of big names making it through. Out of the 935 entries, 191 found a bag. Brad Albrinck ended play with the chip lead and a stack of 137,100. He’s followed by Bryce Yockey, who had an amazing 2017 WSOP, final tabling the MONSTER STACK before going on to win his first bracelet in the $10K PLO Championship. Defending champ in this event, Nathan Gamble, will also return tomorrow with a 42,000 stack. Daniel Negreanu (81,100), Phil Hellmuth (67,400), Mike Matusow (76,800), and Eli Elezra (102,600) will all be back for more tomorrow too. Sadly, the same can’t be said for Erik Seidel, Mike Wattel, Frank Kassela, Mike Leah and Scott Bohlman, all of whom busted. There’s $244,370 up top in this one, while the bubble bursts at 141 players for a $2,245 min-cash. Action resumes at 12pm Wednesday. Top 10 Stacks: Brad Albrinck - 137,100 Bryce Yockey - 131,900 Dustin Pattinson - 129,100 Eli Elezra - 102,600 Kyle Miaso - 85,800 Quinn Do - 83,600 Thomas Cazayous - 81,400 Daniel Negreanu - 81,100 Hsiao Liu - 77,000 Mike Matusow - 76,800 Mustafov Bags Day 1 Lead in $3K Big Blind Ante NLHE Event #54: Big Blind Antes $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em proved a pretty popular event today, with 1,020 players taking part. When all was said and done ten levels later though, just 252 remained. Farehdin Mustafov ended play as the chip leader with 205,000, closely followed by Jordan Young (203,000), Uri Reichenstein (164,000) and Luciano Hollanda (162,100). Some of the other big names to advance include Kristen Bicknell (132,900), Connor Drinan (100,000), Frank Kassel (99,700), Scotty Nguyen (95,500), Kathy Liebert (60,700), Calvin Anderson (58,400), and Michael Gathy (45,000). As anyone who has ever played poker knows, for one player to gain a lot of chips must mean someone else has lost a lot. Some of those who lost their entire stacks today include Mohsin Charania, Rainer Kempe, Stephen Chidwick, Maria Lampropulos, Martin Jacobson, Sofia Lovgren, and Parker ‘Tonkaaaa’ Talbot. The bubble will burst at 153 players, all of whom will secure a $4,513 cash. That pales in comparison to the $522,715 reserved for the winner though. Action resumes at 2pm Wednesday. Top 10 Stacks: Fahredin Mustafov - 205,000 Jordan Young - 203,200 Luciano Hollanda - 162,100 Ryan Hall - 137,200 Kristen Bicknell - 132,900 Daniel Strelitz - 130,500 Marciano Cruz - 128,000 Randy Levin - 124,200 Liu Yin - 110,000 Andrey Zaichenko - 109,000 Tomorrow’s Action (June 27) There are two new events kicking off on Wednesday June 27, one of which will be right up Jay Kwon’s street. At 11am there’s the always popular Event #55: $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em, so it will be interesting to find out who pairs up with who. Then at 3pm there’s Event #56: $10,000 Razz Championship. Expect to see all the Razz specialists out in force for that one.
  23. Every year, the World Series of Poker brings out all kinds of storylines as players, professional and amateur alike, come from varying backgrounds to win one of poker's most coveted prizes, a WSOP bracelet. Matt Mendez, winner of the $565 Online Six Max Pot Limit Omaha event, is one of those stories. Actually, he's more than one. He's a stay-at-home parent with a young daughter. He's an online grinder who recently rediscovered his passion for poker. He's dreamed of winning a WSOP bracelet of his own - more than one actually - since he was 12 years old. As if all of that didn't make for an amazing storyline following his victory, Mendez also made history as the first player to win an online bracelet while playing in New Jersey. That event wrapped up Saturday morning after 15 hours of play. "My wife had to work at nine in the morning and it was like 830 and my wife, she's chronically late to everything. It's 8:30 and she's still not up, so I just don't bother her because I'm at this final table and she's running late and that means maybe she'll be here when it ends. So she finally gets up and it's 9:15," said Mendez. "I have like 3.5 million and (my opponent) has like 15 million and it was perfect timing when the break hit so I go upstairs and I'm like, 'I'm heads up for a bracelet'." Even though his wife, Victoria, was already late for work and her boss was looking for her, Mendez implored his wife to stay and see it play out. No matter how it ended, he wanted her there. "By the time she came down, I'd flipped it. Now I had 15 million and he has 3 million," said Mendez. "She's sitting next to me and I'm like 'you gotta be here, if I win I need a hug, and if I lose, I need a hug. I need you to console me if I lose'." On the final hand, Mendez flopped a straight and checked the action to his opponent. He had a feeling his opponent was going to shove and that's exactly what happened. "I called and the hand ended and I looked at her and I said, 'I'm a bracelet winner!'. It was a really cool moment," said Mendez. "I literally got a hug and a 'congrats' and she was out and then the baby was up right way, so I didn't get to sleep." Players typically fall into one of two categories in the immediate aftermath of a bracelet victory. They're either elated and are running on a high that would make Post Malone jealous or they're so physically and mentally exhausted that they simply crash and catch up on sleep. With his daughter ready for her day to start, Mendez basically fell into the former category, even if he could have fallen into the latter. With his wife on his way to work, Mendez had to get on the phone and let his first poker teacher know that he'd won. His Aunt Michelle was on the other end of the call. "She was bawling her eyes out. She was so excited. We've always talked about bracelets. Since I was 12 years old, that's what we talked about, 'you're going to win bracelets'. I used to say I was going to win 20 when I was a cocky 12-year-old," said Mendez, now 28 years old. His aunt and uncle taught him Seven Card Stud when he was just five years old. It wasn't "poker" or "stud" though, they had their own name for it. "I would call it Cards and Chips, it's just what we did. I'd go visit every summer and we would play Cards and Chips on the poker table and it evolved to games like Gin, Black Maria and a bunch of other card games. That's just what we did as a family - we played cards," said Mendez. His love of poker skyrocketed when he saw Robert Varkonyi win the 2002 WSOP Main Event on ESPN. He was 12 years old. "I was hooked at that point. I read Super System at that age. I started playing, I think it was called PokerRoom.com, where they had Limit sit-n-gos . My aunt and uncle, we would all play the free ones. We'd all register at the same time and play those nine-man Limit sit-n-gos," said Mendez. He actually lived with his aunt and uncle through his high school years. He moved back to Florida with Victoria after they were done high school and then bounced back to New Jersey when they had a baby on the way. The move allowed Victoria to work full time after having the baby and Mendez could play online and be a stay at home dad. His view on the life of a traveling poker pro changed dramatically after Mathai was born. "I get homesick so easy. Even now, if I can't drive (to a tournament) I'd rather not play. Things don't go your way very often, so if 80% I'm disappointed in a hotel room for a night or two, I'd rather just be disappointed and wake up the next day at home because it was a local tournament and I get to see the baby," said Mendez. " I spend so much time with her. It probably hurts my professional life, but I wouldn't give it up. It's so great, it's so awesome. I love being the first person she sees in the morning most days." Mendez isn't overly comfortable with the title of "poker pro: though. He's a dad first, and the chips and cards thing is secondary. It's still how he makes his living though, and he noticed about four months ago that players around him were playing at a higher level and continuing to get better. "Probably the last year and a half I've just felt like the game passed me by again. It's like the third time in my life where I've had some success, didn't study as hard, thought I got it figured out, and then all of a sudden you look at your results, you look around and it's like everyone is better than me again," said Mendez. " I started consuming more poker content. Before, I used to watch training videos all the time. Start the day with some training days, do some reading. I watch a lot of online cash games and I watch a lot of online tournament replays just to see what people are doing." Now playing four or five nights a week, Mendez also spends a lot of his time studying as much poker as he can. During the day he's at home taking care of Mathai and figuring out how to make all of it work has been harder than constructing three-bet ranges. "The last 18 months has been a really hard struggle for me to balance both. When you have an option of do I want to play this tournament or play this series of events of events online or travel to Borgata? or do I want to take the time with my daughter and take her to Storybook Land? I'm going to go to Storybook Land nine times out of ten," said Mendez. "I realized a few months ago I had to start making a little bit of home sacrifice if I'm going to keep the schedule that I have. So she'll have to miss me a little bit more, but that's better than me getting a full-time job and missing her every day." Mendez will receive his bracelet later this week in Las Vegas. The WSOP is flying Mendez and his family out for the ceremony.
  24. There are three bracelet winners to tell you about from Thursday’s 2018 World Series of Poker action: Two first-time winners, and one player who has captured his second piece of poker jewellery nine years after claiming his first. Meanwhile, the $25K PLO High Roller is down to just 35 players. Scroll down to find out who is still in with a shot of winning the enormous $1,402,683 prize. All of that and more in today’s recap of June 21. ErIc Baldwin Wins Bracelet #2, $1,500 NLHE for $319,580 With just two players returning on Thursday to finish Event #37: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, it looked very likely that Eric Baldwin would capture his second bracelet. It had been nine years since his first WSOP win, and he held a dominating chip lead over his sole opponent, Ian Steinman. Baldwin began with 7,550,000 against Steinman’s 2,200,000, and Baldwin won a big pot right from the get go. However, Steinman was able to double up with pocket sixes against ace-king, and then looked set to double again with pocket kings against ace-jack. However, a jack on the turn followed by an ace on the river gave Baldwin the win. An emotional Baldwin celebrated with his rail, including his mother, before dedicating the victory to his late father, who passed away three years ago. "In a lot of ways, this one is for him,” he said. "It was a lot of hours of poker and a lot of short-handed play, that really sucks your mental energy," Baldwin added. "But man it's fun! I wish everyone could experience this. It's so cool!” Final Table Results: Eric Baldwin - $319,580 Ian Steinman - $197,461 Enrico Rudelitz - $140,957 Aaron Massey - $101,819 Robert Georato - $74,434 Michael Finstein - $55,077 Stephen Song - $41,257 Gilsoo Kim - $31,290 Mathew Moore - $24,032 Scott Bohlman Takes Down Mixed Big Bet for $122,138 [caption id="attachment_619647" align="aligncenter" width="657"] First Bracelet for Scott Bohlman[/caption] Another event which ended short-handed on Wednesday night was Event #40: $2,500 Mixed Big Bet. That meant three players returned today, and again, there was a dominating chip leader. Scott Bohlman held 60% of the chips in play three-handed, but had stiff competition from WPT champ Daniel Weinman and two-time bracelet winner Ryan Hughes. Both of those managed to double up and one point the stacks were virtually even with Hughes even holding the chip lead. After a break though, Bohlman returned refreshed and eliminated Weinman in third with trips against kings-up in a 5-card draw hand. He then had a 5:1 lead over Hughes, and finished the job with a set against top pair and low draw in a Big O pot. Bohlman’s bracelet win is his 52nd WSOP cash. It seems the 52nd time was a charm, as he is now $122,138 richer. Final Table Results: Scott Bohlman - $122,138 Ryan Hughes - $75,477 Daniel Weinman - $49,541 Aaron Rogers - $33,344 Marcel Vonk - $23,028 Jeremy Harkin - $16,329 Preston Lee is SHOOTOUT Champ, Wins $236,498 Thursday’s third and final bracelet came in Event #39: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout, which Preston Lee took down for $236,498. [caption id="attachment_619648" align="aligncenter" width="639"] SHOOTOUT Champ Preston Lee[/caption] The final table of ten took over 12 hours to play out, with a four-hour heads-up duel between Lee and eventual runner-up Corey Dodd taking up four of those. The chip lead switched back and forth between the two, before Lee was finally able to take it down with king-deuce holding up against six-five. Lee said he was mostly a cash game player, but that he’d been playing more online to get back into live tournament poker. That work seems to have paid off, giving him his first bracelet. Final Table Results: Preston Lee - $236,498 Corey Dodd - $146,146 Anthony Reategui - $105,907 Dylan Linde - $76,829 Jesse Kertland - $56,763 Young Phan - $42,476 Royce Matheson - $32,198 Alexander Lakhov - $24,728 Bas de Laat - $19,245 Endrit Geci - $15,180 Just 19 Remain in $1,500 Limit Hold’em The field in Event #41: $1,500 Limit Hold’em has been chopped down from 596 to just 19 after Day 2, with Matt Woodward leading the way with 438,000 chips. He’s most closely followed by Jeffrey Scheibner (427,000) and Robert Nehorayan (418,000). Matt Grapenthien bagged a top ten stack (238,000), and he’s the only bracelet winner remaining in the field. Grapenthien took down the $10K Stud Championship back in 2014. Action resumes at 12pm Friday. Top 10 Stacks: Matthew Woodward - 438,000 Jeffrey Scheibner - 427,000 Robert Nehorayan - 418,000 Matt Russell - 361,000 Brad Albrinck - 323,000 Oleg Chebotarev - 312,000 Kevin Song - 290,000 Brian Vollick - 286,000 Matt Grapenthien - 238,000 Michael Jex - 232,000 Ben Yu Leads Final 35 in $25K PLO High Roller One of the biggest events on the WSOP schedule is down to 35 players from the 230 who entered. Event #42: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller has a massive $1,402,683 for the winner, and right now the player closest to it is chip leader Ben Yu. Yu bagged up 3,695,000, having enjoyed a massive spin-up late in the day. Yu had just 200,000 at the dinner break, before busting two players and riding the wave to the largest end-of-day stack. His closest competitors are Jason Koon (2,540,000), Ryan Tosoc (2,220,000), and Shaun Deeb (2,120,000). There are plenty of big names still in the field though, including multiple bracelet winners Scotty Nguyen (2,010,000), Jason Mercier (1,905,000), Robert Mizrachi (1,005,000), Luis Velador (1,045,000), Erik Seidel (725,000), Mike Leah (660,000), Craig Varnell (625,000), Christopher Frank (565,000), David Benyamine (425,000), Sam Soverel (380,000), Paul ‘paulgees91’ Volpe, and Jarred Graham (300,000). Defending champ James Calderaro (705,000) is still in too, as is Tom Marchese (440,000). Adam ‘adamyid’ Owen is the short stack with just 85,000. A few players who failed to cash in this one include Daniel Negreanu, Anthony Zinno, Jens Kyllonen, JC Tran, Scott Seiver, Chris Ferguson and Michael Mizrachi. Play resumes at 2pm, with all players now guaranteed a min-cash of $37,500. Top 10 Stacks: Ben Yu - 3,695,000 Jason Koon - 2,540,000 Ryan Tosoc - 2,220,000 Shaun Deeb - 2,120,000 Scotty Nguyen - 2,010,000 Jason Mercier - 1,905,000 Jonathan Depa - 1,180,000 Luis Velador - 1,045,000 David Prociak - 1,020,000 Robert Mizrachi - 1,005,000 $2,500 NLHE Gets Going One of the two new events to get started on Thursday was Event #43: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em. It attracted 1,071 entries, and after ten levels just 297 remain. While Ashwin Sarin holds the overnight chip lead with 166,200, it’s David ‘dpeters17’ Peters who headlines the top 10 stacks with 140,500. Former PocketFives no.1 player Chris ‘Big Huni’ Hunichen also finished in the top 10 with 131,500. They’ll all return for Day 2 at 12pm tomorrow. Top 10 Stacks: Ashwin Sarin - 166,200 Steve Foutty - 155,800 Josh Bergman - 145,000 Markus Gonsalves - 143,700 David Peters - 140,500 Andrew Brokos - 140,100 Kainalu Mccue-Unciano - 131,800 Chris Hunichen - 131,500 Brett Shaffer - 130,900 Mark Dube - 130,300 Big Names Advance in $10K 2-7 Triple Draw Championship The second new event of the day was Event #44: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship, which saw 100 players take a shot. When all was said and done after ten levels of play, it was Michael Noori who could call himself the overnight chip leader over the 41 survivors, bagging up 335,000. He’s followed by professional soccer player Max Kruse (282,000). There are plenty of other big names through, including Christopher Kruk (247,500), Luke Schwartz (200,000), Lawrence Berg (171,000), Andrey Zhigalov (170,500), Chris Vitch (159,500), Benny Glaser (156,000), Eli Elezra(155,500), Mike Matusow (136,500), Vanessa Selbst (120,000), Cary Katz (114,000), and Jesse Martin (88,500). Some of those less fortunate today were Daniel Negreanu, John Hennigan, Michael Mizrachi, Stephen Chidwick, John Monnette, Jean Robert-Bellande, James Obst, and David "ODB" Baker. Registration remains open until the start of Day 2 tomorrow, which kicks off at 2pm. Top 10 Stacks: Michael Noori - 335,000 Max Kruse - 282,000 Christopher Kruk - 247,500 Luke Schwartz - 197,000 Lawrence Berg - 171,000 Brant Hale - 171,000 Andrey Zhigalov - 170,500 Quek Sheng - 161,500 Chris Vitch - 159,500 Benny Glaser - 156,000 Tomorrow’s Action (June 22) It will be a busy day in the Rio tomorrow. Not only do we have all the aforementioned events resuming play, but four other events kick off too (albeit one online). At 11am, Event #45: Big Blind Antes $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em (30 minute levels) gets going. That’s then followed by Event #46 $2,500 Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better at 3pm. A little later at 3:30pm, Event #47: $565 WSOP.com ONLINE Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed gets started, while the evening sees Event #6D: GIANT - $365 No-Limit Hold’em play out.
  25. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Listen in this week as Lance Bradley and Matt Clark discuss Michael Mizrachi's third Poker Players Championship victory and whether or not that guarantees him a place in the Poker Hall of Fame once he's eligible. They also wax poetically about John Hennigan and whether or not the poker world doesn't appreciate the five-time bracelet winner enough. They wrap up the episode by getting into the details of the Alex Foxen-Kristen Bicknell win at the Venetian and the controversy that followed. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THIS EPISODE ON STITCHER GET THIS EPISODE ON GOOGLE PLAY

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