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  1. [caption width="640"] Kenny Hallaert has a career in poker - just not as a player (WSOP photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] Tournament director Kenny Hallaert wants to make something clear. Poker is not a job to him. Instead, it is a passion. The fact that the November Niner honoured commitments to work as a tournament director at two tournaments following the conclusion of this year's World Series of Poker shows that it is his passion for poker which is the driving force behind a lot of what he does. But with the additional label of being a November Niner, did that add anything extra to his work? "No, not at all! I did two tournaments: one in Copenhagen and one in Belgium. They both went very smoothly. Being a November Niner had no influence on me as a tournament official. "I always try to have a high degree of professionalism when I'm organising a tournament. I was always going to work these tournaments and make sure that the players have a good experience playing in it." Hallaert has been managing the Belgium Poker Challenge for several years. His first job in poker involved marketing, but he has since moved into tournament directing and hasn't looked back since. The success of the BPC and Hallaert’s involvement in it has come in a golden era for Belgian poker, an era which Hallaert says he is honoured to be part of: "With Belgium being such a small country, it's quite amazing all of the performances that we've been making around the world over the last few years." "We have Pierre Neuville of course, but then also Davidi Kitai and Michael Gathy who have both won three bracelets. Potentially the greatest online cash game player in the world is Belgian - OtB_RedBaron." Hallaert was on the rail last year to see his friend Pierre Neuville make the November Nine and he said that he had talked with him and others about the experience as well as the do's and don't of preparing for the biggest final table of his life. "I have that experience of knowing how things work and what to expect, which I suppose is an advantage." "I obviously didn't sit at the final table but I've been there for the last two years with Pierre [Neuville] and Jorryt van Hoof. And I'm in contact with Michiel Brummelhuis too" "Regardless, all of these results were good for the popularity of poker. The results of all Belgian players are really very good for the popularity of the Belgian poker scene. Having played poker for around 12 years, Hallaert says that making the final table of the Main Event stands out from all the success he has enjoyed in the past. "It's a tournament that takes place only once a year and it's not exactly a final table you can make purely from skill. I had my run good at good moments. This is a little bit of a reward for all the work that I've put in throughout those 12 years." Despite this, Hallaert says he has never considered quitting being a tournament director in favour of pursuing a full-time professional career. "I never wanted to be a 100% professional player. It brings a lot of pressure because you have to make results. Having a job next to playing was a perfect combination for me. However, he admits that the outcome of the final table could have an influence on his future. "I haven't thought about what happens after the final table, because my future will obviously depend on the result a lot." "Things will change after the main event. Especially because right now my focus is still on the tournament. I mean I'm still playing in a tournament, but there just happens to be a very long break in between of course" In between working and preparing for the Main Event final table, Hallaert also found time to jump onto the online tables and take down the Partypoker $500k Online Grand Prix for $63,891. ‘FCBSpacey’ as he is known online said that it gave him a well-timed boost of confidence in his preparations. "It felt really good. There were over 4,000 runners and for me personally it helped because you know that it is possible for you to win big tournaments. Also, I was happy because personally it had been a while since I had a big score online." "$64K isn't a lot if you compare it to the $1,000,000 I had won from the Main Event, but for an online tournament it's still quite big, so I was very happy with it." "It motivated me to continue to work hard with my work towards the final table of the Main Event itself." And with just under two weeks to go until the final table gets underway, Hallaert says he is still feeling very comfortable. "I don't feel any pressure at all right now, and there's no stress going on. I'm sure there will be a little bit of nervousness when I arrive in Vegas and maybe a couple of days before that." "There's a lot of money on the line and it's a once in a lifetime opportunity" He laughs, perhaps remembering Mark Newhouse's legendary back-to-back final tables in 2013 and 2014. "Well, it normally is a once in a lifetime experience! I definitely don't want to finish ninth! I would rather finish once for $2M than finish ninth twice" "It's a unique opportunity and I'm trying to prepare myself so that I'm in a good condition at the start of the event." "It's poker and anything can happen and I'm starting to realise that myself. If you flop set under set first hand, there's nothing you can do about it. I might win it but I might as well be out after ten minutes!"
  2. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] With just 12 big blinds to come back to, Fernando Pons was unsure how to prepare for the November Nine (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Two years ago, in 2014, for the first time since the November Nine format was created, a Spanish player reached the final table of the WSOP Main Event. His name was Andoni Larrabe, a 22-year-old guy that eventually finished in sixth position in a tournament won by Martin Jacobson. This year, in 2016, Spanish poker is again represented again at the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio. Andoni Larrabe's successor is Fernando Pons. Unlike Andoni, who already had extensive experience as an online player and with important results in international circuits like the European Poker Tour, Pons has virtually no experience as a live player. Pons defines himself as a recreational player, who combines his passion for poker with a full-time job, something that recently has changed slightly. "I asked for a leave of absence a year in my work. I want to live this experience and play all the tournaments I can. In a year from now, I will think if I come back or not," said Pons. Many might think that being one of the nine finalists of the world's most important final table, Pons come to it with a great experience behind him, but nothing is further from reality. All his live results are practically limited to a second place finish in the Spanish Poker Championship in Mallorca, his hometown, in 2012, where he earned €14,858. There begins and ends his live tournament success. Pons' greatest triumphs have come from the online tables where he has achieved important victories in most ".es" rooms. When gaming regulation came into force in Spain, Pons didn’t think - like many other Spaniards players did - to move to countries like the UK, Malta or Portugal. He stayed in Spain, trying to be the best in the Spanish rooms. He has a victory in an ESCOP event (Spanish Championship of Online Poker) and is a regular in the most important tournaments that can be played from his country, but if there was an online result that for sure Pons will not forget, it's the €30 satellite on 888poker which ended up giving him a seat into the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. You may remember 2003, when a man named Chris Moneymaker came to the Main Event through a $39 satellite and ended up winning? Who knows, maybe that story could be repeated, however, Pons tries not to compare him with Moneymaker, at least not yet. “I just want to be compared with Moneymaker in case I win the tournament; until then, I prefer not to be compared”, said the Spanish player. Pons traveled to Las Vegas with the dreams familiar to most recreational players: he wanted to visit Sin City, breathe in the atmosphere of the best poker tournament of the world and enjoy a unique experience, which perhaps he never could repeat. Without any pressure, Pons was gradually advancing one day after another, surpassing the goals he was setting and eventually found himself the final table. Pons had so little expectation to reach such an advanced stage in the tournament, he had to call his boss to warn that he wasn't going to be able to return to work as planned. Fortunately for him, his employer was well informed of what was happening in Las Vegas without that call. His wardrobe also wasn't ready for such a long performance in the Main Event. As he progressed through the days, he had to go buy new clothes, or at least asking some friends who were there to buy them. It was an unexpected expense, but sense it came with a $1,000,000 pay day, he wasn't too worried. Pons has been 100% focused on the preparation of the final table. Last August he participated in a lot of EPT Barcelona events, getting some good results there for him. In September he played in several tournaments in Spain and the World Poker Tour in Marrakech. Meanwhile, Pons continued to achieve good results in the Spanish online rooms. On August 11th he won the SuperJueves BigStack Turbo at PokerStars.es (336 players) earning a € 2,947 prize. A month later, on September 19th, in 888poker.es, Fernando won the Gran Domingo € 20,000 Guaranteed tournament in which 186 players participated, achieving a €4,300 prize, something that surely have helped Pons to prepare his performance in Las Vegas next October. Once he confirmed he was one of the November Nine, Pons was unsure about how to deal with the preparation. He was reluctant to seek help in a personal coach, as their starting stack will be 12 big blinds, but finally reached out for help in the Spanish community. Meanwhile, as sure others are doing, Pons also wanted to know what the other eight were doing, how they are preparing. Some of them are considered as the best in the world as Cliff Josephy or Vojtech Ruzicka, but if there is someone who would like to see eliminated as soon as possible, this is Griffin Benger. "The sooner he goes, the better. Everyone considers him as one of the favorites, and I also think that," said Pons. Nevertheless, Pons arrived in Las Vegas without any pressure. He has already gone much further than he could imagine. He will live an unforgettable experience, knowing he will have the support of all the Spanish poker community, and a small rail that will be close to him at the Penn & Teller Theatre in Las Vegas. "Some friends will come with me, not many. What is certain is that I will not have a rail like Bruno Politano," laughed Pons.
  3. [caption width="640"] Just two players stand between Qui Nguyen and the 2016 WSOP Main Event championship (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] The first day of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table was all about Qui Nguyen. The Vietnamese-born Nguyen got into it with chip leader Cliff Josephy on hand #1 and finished with the chip lead. The storyline from the second day wasn't much different. Nguyen started play Monday, with five players remaining, with more than double that of his nearest competitor. When play wrapped up late Monday night, Nguyen again had more than double either of the other two players remaining and almost 59% of the chips. The fireworks started early on Monday night with Michael Ruane and Nguyen finding an all in preflop situation. Nguyen opened to 2,350,000 with [poker card="6d"][poker card="6h"] from the button. Ruane found [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"] in the big blind and moved all in for 23,100,000. Nguyen wasted no time in calling. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="qc"][poker card="kh"] to double Ruane up and drop Nguyen below 100,000,000. Another double up three hands later ultimately lead to the first elimiantion of the night. Gordon Vayo raised from the button with [poker card="8c"][poker card="8s"] to 2,300,000. Vojtech Ruzicka three-bet to 8,150,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] from the small blind and Vayo called. After the [poker card="qc"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3c"] flop, Ruzicka bet 6,150,000 and Vayo called. Ruzicka then bet 11,400,000 after the [poker card="7h"] turn and Vayo called again. The river was the [poker card="5s"] and Ruzicka announced he was all in for 28,700,000 having Vayo covered. Vayo called and took down the pot to take over the chip lead and leave Vayo with less than one big blind. The Czech pro was eliminated on the next hand by Nguyen. Over the next 50 hands Vayo and Nguyen each took turns as the chip leader. That changed for good on hand after Nguyen claimed another victim. From UTG Nguyen raised to 2,700,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="js"], Ruane moved all in for 15,700,000 from the small blind with [poker card="kh"][poker card="qh"] and Nguyen called. The board ran out [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="jc"][poker card="8d"] to completely miss Ruane and send him out in fourth place. After that hand Nguyen has 178,400,000 chips and a stronghold on the lead. Nguyen has now eliminated the last three players from the final table. He ended play on Sunday by eliminating Kenny Hallaert in sixth place and then continued on Monday by busting Ruzicka and Ruane. The final three players return to action on Tuesday night just after 8 pm ET with just under an hour left in the 600,000/1,200,000 (200,000 ante) level. The ESPN broadcast begins at 9 pm ET. Chip Counts Qui Nguyen - 197,600,000 (164 bbs) Gordon Vayo - 89,000,000 (74 bbs) Cliff Josephy - 50,000,000 (41 bbs) Payouts Michael Ruane - $2,576,003 Vojtech Ruzicka - $1,935,288 Kenny Hallaert - $1,464,258 Griffin Benger - $1,250,190 Jerry Wong - $1,100,076 Fernando Pons - $1,000,000
  4. Don’t look but Jason Mercier is heading to his fourth consecutive Day 3 of a $10,000 Championship event at the 2016 World Series of Poker. The current WSOP Player of the Year front runner is among the final 16 players in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship. He’s going to have to overcome a group of talented players, including chip leader Matt Glantz, if he plans to win his third bracelet of the summer on Tuesday. While Mercier was chasing WSOP history, Monday’s action also featured two players winning the first bracelets of their careers, including one player who overcame a record field to win over half a million dollars. Event #27: Johnnie Craig Wins Record-Breaking Seniors Event [caption width="640"] Johnnie Craig is 8,204 richer after winning the Seniors Event (WSOP photo).[/caption] It took an extra day of play, but Johnnie Craig won the largest WSOP Seniors event ever, beating out Jamshid Lofti heads up to win the bracelet, the Golden Eagle trophy and $538,204. “I can’t even describe this feeling. It’s amazing,” Craig said.*“I had the feeling I was going to win, and it worked out.” Craig, who served in both Irag and Afghanistan, finished 140th in this event in 2014. "I felt really good coming into the final table.*I was fourth in chips,” Craig said.*"I lost a pretty big hand off the bat, but I was still in the middle of the pack.*From that point on, I decided I wasn’t going to make any big moves unless I had a really big hand.*I started to chip away and got the chip lead, then once I did that I began to apply pressure.” The 4,499-player field was the largest ever Seniors Event, beating out the 2014 event by 74 players. Final Table Payouts Johnnie Craig - $538,204 Jamshid Lotfi - $332,413 Roger Sippl - $245,389 Joseph Somerville - $182,536 Wesley Chong - $136,829 Paul Runge - $103,366 Eugene Solomon - $78,699 Mike Lisanti $60,392 Alan Cutler - $46,713 Event #29: Two Players Remain in $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Monday was supposed to be the final day of play in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, but Jens Grieme and Alexander Ziskin played 215 hands of heads-up poker before having to bag up for the night. Grieme, who had Ziskin down to one big blind at one point, finished with 7,790,000 chips and a slight lead. Ziskin finished with 5,690,000. Among the 29 players who busted on Monday were Justin Young (18th - $15,490), Matt Stout (14th - $19,457) and WSOP bracelet winner and MasterChef contestant David Williams (12th - $24,718). Grieme and Ziskin resume their heads-up battle at Noon PT. Heads Up Chip Counts Jens Grieme - 7,790,000 Alexander Ziskin - 5,690,000 Event #30: Viatcheslav Ortynskiy Wins $3,000 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha Bracelet [caption width="640"] Viatcheslav Ortynskiy won his first career WSOP bracelet on Monday (WSOP photo).[/caption] Prior to Monday Viatcheslav Ortynskiy had made three WSOP final tables in his career, never finishing better than third. On Monday however, he chased those demons away, beating out Rafael Lebron heads-up to win the $3,000 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha event and the first bracelet of his career. Lebron had to settle for $212,779. Finishing third was Randy Ohel for $141,187. The mixed game specialist now has four cashes at the 2016 WSOP and all are top ten finishes. Final Table Payouts Viatcheslav Ortynskiy - $344,327 Rafael Lebron - $212,779 Randy Ohel - $141,187 Matthew Humphrey - $95,623 George Wolff - $66,134 Joshua Gibson - $46,727 Event #31: Fred Berger Leads Final 14 of Super Seniors Just over 14 years ago Fred Berger beat Chris Ferguson to win the first WSOP bracelet of his career. He’s had a few close calls since, including four final tables, but on Monday he put himself in position to finally grab the second bracelet of his career after bagging up the Day 2 chip lead in the Super Seniors event with just 14 players remaining. Just two days ago Berger finished 45th in the Seniors Event. Right behind Berger is Eugene Spinner. He finished 114th in this event in 2015. The shortest remaining stack belongs to Maureen Feduniak, who has just 112,000 (7 BBs) to work with. Defending Champion Jon Andlovec started Day 2 with the chip lead but eventually busted out in 20th place, earning $6,955. The remaining players return at 11 AM PT. Top Ten Chip Counts Fred Berger1,751,000 Eugene Spinner - 1,175,000 Charles Barker - 806,000 Arthur Loring - 518,000 Charles Rinn - 496,000 James Moore - 477,000 James Parrott - 449,000 James Ciotti - 408,000 Steven Krupnick - 351,000 David Forsberg - 287,000 Event #32: Matt Glantz Leads $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo, Jason Mercier Still in the Hunt Matt Glantz was the only player to finish Day 2 of the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event with a seven-figure but, as has been the case for last 10 days, the story really is more about Jason Mercier. Mercier finished Day 2 with 444,000 - slightly below the 509,000 average - with just 16 players remaining. This marks the fourth consecutive $10,000 buy-in event that Mercier has cashed in. For his part, Glantz finished with 1,066,000 which puts him ahead of Grzegorz Trelski (945,000), Daniel Alaei (828,800), Todd Brunson (745,000) and Eli Elezra (715,000). Mercier might have finished with a less-than-average stack, but his confidence remains high. Alaei won this event last summer for his fifth career bracelet. The final 16 players return at 2 PM PT to play down to a winner. Top Ten Chip Counts Matt Glantz - 1,066,000 Grzegorz Trelski - 945,000 Daniel Alaei - 828,800 Todd Brunson - 745,000 Eli Elezra - 715,000 Douglas Lorgeree - 650,000 Benny Glaser - 461,000 Jason Mercier - 444,000 Andrew Brown - 390,000 Robert Campbell - 372,000 Event #33: Bruno Vendramini On Top of Summer Solstice Being indoors playing poker on the longest day of the year was just fine for Bruno Vendramini. The Brazilian finished Day 1 of the $1,500 Summer Solstice event with 105,900 chips, edging out Ronald Lee for the end of day chip lead. Lee bagged up 104,825. The event, which has 90 minutes levels instead of the standard 60, drew 1,840 players, down slightly from the 1,914 that played the event in 2015. Just 445 players advanced to Day 2 including some familiar names and faces. Former November Niner Antoine Saout finished with 84,150 - the fourth biggest stack. Olivier Busquet ended up just behind him with 83,575. 2014 WSOP APAC Main Event winner Scott Davies, Ray Henson, Matt Haugen, Adrian Mateos and Jamie Kerstetter also advanced to Day 2. Top Ten Chip Counts Bruno Vendramini - 105,900 Ronald Lee - 104,825 Jason Helder - 96,025 Antoine Saout - 84,150 Olivier Busquet - 83,575 Idan Raviv - 82,150 Austin Hughes - 81,000 Dmitrii Shchepkin - 80,300 Andrew Moreno - 79,700 Shashank Jain - 79,650 Event #34: Bart Lybaert Leads $1,500 Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Prior to this summer, Belgian poker pro Bart Lybaert had just four WSOP cashes. He’s already recorded seven cashes this year and may be on his way to another one after finishing with the Day 1 chip lead in the $1,500 Deuce to Seven Triple Draw. Lybaert finished with 113,100, putting him just ahead of Lawrence Berg’s 110,200. Just 65 of the 358 entrants advanced to Day 2 including Matt Waxman, Terrence Chan, Vanessa Selbst, Greg Raymer, Chris Klodnicki and arguably the greatest lowball player of all time, Billy Baxter. The top 54 players will get paid with the eventual champion earning $117,947. Top Ten Chip Counts Bart Lybaert - 113,100 Lawrence Berg - 110,200 Christopher Kaltenbach - 105,300 Jameson Painter - 97,500 David Snobl - 96,500 Iakov Onuchin - 82,400 Clemens Manzano - 79,700 Matt Waxman - 78,800 Gleb Kovtunov - 76,200 Patrice Biton - 74,000
  5. On Tuesday, Jason Mercier found himself at yet another final table of a $10,000 buy-in event, but this time he wasn't able to seal deal and had to settle for an eighth place finish in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event. Three players, including Benny Glaser, had to bag up at the end of another ten levels and will return on Wednesday to finish. While that event didn't quite reach a conclusion, two more did, including the Super Seniors event and another $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event. Event #29: Alexander Ziskin Wins $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em [CAPTION=100%]Alexander Ziskin managed to overcome Jens Grieme's comeback to win the first WSOP bracelet of his career[/CAPTION] Alexander Ziskin managed to avoid being the answer to a WSOP trivia question Tuesday night and in the process won the first gold bracelet of his career. Ziskin beat out Jens Grieme heads-up after action resumed for an unscheduled fourth day. Ziskin and Grieme were originally scheduled to finish up on Monday night, but over 200 hands of heads-up play resolved nothing and the two players bagged up and returned Tuesday. During Monday night's heads-up play, Ziskin had Grieme down to just one big blind and his victory seemed inevitable but Grieme actually battled back from that and entered Tuesday with a chip lead of 7,790,000 - 5,690,000. It took 91 hands On Tuesday for Ziskin to turn the tide and win the bracelet, earning $401,494 in the process. Had Grieme come back from just one big blind, it would have been the first time that a player had done that heads-up. Final Table Payouts Alexander Ziskin - $401,494 Jens Grieme - $248,067 Kam Low - $179,187 Patrick Powers - $130,780 Severin Schleser - $96,452 Craig Mason - $71,891 Marino Mura - $54,160 David Juenemann - $41,244 Aaron Kweskin - $31,754 Event #31: James Moore Wins Super Seniors [CAPTION=100%]James Moore was barely old enough to enter the Super Seniors event, but he did manage to outlast the field to capture his first WSOP bracelet.[/CAPTION] James Moore topped a field of 1,476 players to win the $1,000 buy-in Super Seniors event for $230,626. The 65-year-old radiologist from New Hope, PA barely meets the 65 years or older age requirement for the event but was thrilled to have accomplished something every poker player desires. "This is an unbelievable thrill for me," Moore said. "I had absolutely no expectations. It's every poker player’s dream, and mine just came true." Moore beat our Charles Barker heads-up for the win. Barker earned $142,461. Final Table Payouts James Moore - $230,626 Charles Barker - $142,461 Steven Krupnick - $102,052 Charles Rinn - $73,943 Eugene Spinner - $54,197 Fred Berger - $40,191 Arthur Loring - $30,159 James Parrott - $22,902 Vern Soeldner - $17,604 Event #32: Glaser Leads Final Three of $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship Once again all eyes were on Jason Mercier on Monday as he was at yet another final table of a $10,000 buy-in Championship event - his fourth straight. Mercier was eventually eliminated in eighth place and as the night wrapped up there were still three players remaining including another player going for his second bracelet of the summer. Benny Glaser, who won the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event just three days ago, finished up Day 3 with the chip lead over the other two remaining players, Douglas Lorgeree and Matt Glantz. Glaser ended the day with 3,225,000. The day started with 16 players still in contention for the win. Former bracelet winners Andrew Brown, Eli Elezra, Shaun Deeb and Daniel Alaei - the defending champion in this event - were all eliminated before the final table. Mercier was eliminated by Greg Trelski. The event drew 384 players leading to a $896,250 prize pool and $213,186 first place prize. Top Ten Chip Counts Yen Wu = 114,200 Denny Axel - 105,600 Gleb Kovtunov - 97,700 Josh Arieh - 96,500 Hani Awad - 93,600 Bruce Walters - 93,100 Chip Jett - 85,700 Eric Rodawig - 76,600 Jack Duong - 76,500 Dzmitry Urbanovich - 76,000
  6. [caption width="640"] The Casino Employees saw a rise in entries this year.[/caption] The waiting is finally over. The 2016 World Series of Poker officially got underway Wednesday with the $565 Casino Employees Event. The event marks the start of 52 straight days of WSOP events at the Rio Hotel & Casino. Before cards were in the air, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel addressed the players and staff and invoked the Muppets with his opening statement. "It's time to play a little poker. It's time to win some bracelets. It's time to build some bankrolls. It's time to destroy some bankrolls. It's time to have some fun," said Effel. Event #1: $565 Casino Employees Event For the first time in event history, the Casino Employees Event featured re-entry. Players who busted out during the first six levels of play were allowed to re-enter one time. That helped push the final field to 731 players – a 6.25% increase over last year. The event brings out a number of familiar faces, including WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, former winner Chad Holloway and the live stream play-by-play man himself, David Tuchman. PocketFives New Jersey beat writer Will O’Connor also made his way into the field. None of those four players were able to survive into the money though. After 20 levels of play just 23 players remain with Spencer Bennett sitting on top with 627,000 – nearly double that of the next biggest stack. Kerryjane Craigie, who runs poker operations at the Hippodrome Casino in London, has 323,000. Sitting in third is a name that longtime fans of the WSOP on ESPN may recognize. Nicholas Sliwinski, who finished 13th in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, finished with 301,000. There were a few familiar faces among the 87 players to bust in the money on Wednesday. One of those is usually the one dealing final tables. Shaun Harris, who has dealt multiple WSOP Main Event final tables in his career, is taking a break from dealing this summer to take a shot at breaking through as a player. Harris busted his first bullet but made the second one work. Harris eventually busted out in 56th place for $1,131, meaning he profited $1 on the opening day of the WSOP. Tana Karnchanakphan, who runs the Run Good Poker Series and Run Good Gear, also managed to find the cashier’s cage. Karnchanakphan finished 52nd for $1,278. Top 10 Chip Counts Spencer Bennett - 627,000 Kerryjane Craigie - 323,000 Nicholas Sliwinski - 301,000 Tanja Vujanic - 195,000 Amanda Wheeler - 182,000 Eric Stack - 178,000 Allison Arvey - 164,000 Ashkun Lajevardi - 160,000 Tom Ratanakul - 141,000 Emmauel Ravelo - 135,000 Looking Ahead to Thursday The Casino Employees event restart is at Noon with the final 23 players playing down to the first WSOP bracelet winner of 2016. While that event is playing down to a winner, the WSOP could well be on its way to breaking their own record. Colossus II, the $565 buy-in event that allows players to enter each of the six starting flights one time, gets underway at 10 AM PT. The second starting flight gets underway at 4 PM PT. Both flights will play 18 30-minute levels on Thursday. Given the overwhelming success of Colossus last summer, the second version of the event is expected to break even more records.
  7. [caption width="640"] 2015 Colossus champ Cord Garcia was among the 5,000 entries on Thursday.[/caption] While the 2016 World Series of Poker officially got underway Wednesday with the start of the Casino Employees event, things really started on Thursday with the opening of the first open event, the $565 buy-in Colossus II. After drawing a record field last year, the 2016 version of the event was expected to be even bigger and while neither the Day 1A or Day 1B flight sold out, over 5,000 players, including defending champion Cord Garcia, made their way into the event, with just over 200 surviving. Employees Event Winner CJ Sand Dedicates Win to His Mom [caption width="640"] CJ Sand made his second-ever WSOP cash with a win in the Employees Event. (WSOP photo)[/caption] The first WSOP bracelet of 2016 went to CJ Sand, a sportsbook employee from Caesars Palace. Sand beat out Hippodrome Head of Poker, Kerryjane Craigie heads up for the title to win the bracelet and $75,157. Day 2 began with 23 players still in contention for the bracelet and it tookjust six hours to reach the final table. Once there Sand had the second biggest stack behind Kerryjane Craigie, setting up the eventual heads up battle between the two. Spencer Bennett, who began the day as chip leader, was active early, busting Robert Ostler in ninth and Tom Ratanakul in sixth after Craigie busted Tiankang Xing in eighth and Michael Coombs sent Nicholas Sliwinski out in seventh. But with five players remaining, Sand became the story, eliminating the remaining four players for the victory. The hand that propelled him to the top of the chip counts for good came with just five players remaining. From under the gun, Brian Mikesh opened to 80,000 and Sand defended his big blind. The flop came [poker card="jd"][poker card="td"][poker card="8d"] and Sand check-called Mikesh’s bet of 60,000. The turn was the [poker card="9h"] and Sand checked again. Mikesh bet 135,000 and Sand raised to 310,000. Mikesh responds by moving all in and Sand called immediately. Mikesh tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"] for a flopped king-high flush but Sand tabled [poker card="9d"][poker card="7d"] for a flopped straight flush. The river was the [poker card="6c"] and Mikesh was eliminated in fifth while Sand’s stack grew to 2,150,000 - well over half of the chips in play. Sand then eliminated Bennett and Michael Coombs to reach heads-up with Craigie. Sand held a nearly 3.5-1 chip lead when heads-up play began and needed just 40 minutes to eliminate Craigie. After the win Sand reflected on the person that introduced him to the game of poker – his mom. "My mom first taught me how to play poker when I was 13 years old, so this is 30 years in the making,” said Sand, 45. "Poker is one of the best memories I have of her. Poker is in my veins and now I have this -- all because of her." Both Sand and Craigie each had only one previous WSOP cash to their credit and both came from the 2015 WSOP when they both finished in the money in Colossus. Final Table Payouts CJ Sand $75,157 Kerryjane Craigie $46,420 Michael Coombs $32,249 Spencer Bennett $22,753 Brian Mikesh $16,308 Tom Ratanakul $11,877 Nicholas Sliwinski $8,792 Tiankang Xing $6,616 Robert Ostler $5,063 Colossus II Opens Up With Two Flights, Over 5,000 Players The first open event of the summer began Thursday with two opening flights of Colossus II. Last summer the $565 buy-in event drew a record 22,374 players. Thanks to the popularity of the 2015 event, the WSOP added another starting day and two more starting flights to this year’s schedule. The first flight got under way at 10 AM PT and once registration closed there were 3,249 players in the field. Finishing the flight on top of the chip counts was David Polop with 513,000. Only 108 players survived the 18 levels. Justin Zakin, Max Silver and Alex ‘lynskey99’ Lynskey all finished with top ten stacks. Dan O’Brien, Maria Ho, Rep Porter and former WPT500 winner Craig Varnell also advanced to Day 2 from Day 1A. O’Brien was happy with the changes to the Colossus structure, which included shortening levels on Day 1 and having some players cash on Day 1. More Colossus Starting Flights on Friday Call it poker’s version of Groundhog Day as Friday will feel an awful lot like Thursday at the WSOP. Two more Colossus II starting flights are the only events on the schedule and as the weekend draws closer the field sizes are only expected to increase.
  8. [caption width="640"] Kyle Julius now has a WSOP bracelet thanks to his win in the ,000 Turbo Top-Up[/caption] Monday’s action at the 2016 World Series of Poker featured Robert Mizrachi winning the fourth bracelet of his career and Kyle Julius getting rid of the goose egg next to his name while Colossus II, the second biggest live event in history, reached a final table. Robert Mizrachi Wins $10,000 Seven Card Stud for Third Bracelet in Three Years [caption width="640"] Robert Mizrachi now as four career WSOP bracelets after winning the ,000 Seven Card Stud Championship.[/caption] Robert Mizrachi beat out a final table that included bracelet winners Calvin Anderson, Bill Chen, David Benyamine, Ted Forrest, George Danzer and eventually Matt Graphenthien heads-up to win the fourth bracelet of his career and $242,662. Mizrachi was a wrecking ball on Monday, eliminating the last four players including Grapenthien after the pair played heads-up for over three hours. This marks the third straight year that Mizrachi won a bracelet. In 2014 he won the $1,500 Dealer's Choice Six-Handed tournament and last year he took down the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event. His first bracelet came in 2007 when he won the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship. Final Table Payouts Robert Mizrachi - $242,662 Matt Grapenthien - $149,976 George Danzer - $103,230 Ted Forrest - $72,971 Steve Weiss - $53,012 David Benyamine - $39,611 Bill Chen - $30,466 Calvin Anderson - $24,142 Kyle Julius Wins First Bracelet in $1,000 Top Up Turbo No Limit Hold'em Prior to Monday, Kyle Julius had never been the last player standing in any live tournament he’d ever played in. He’d come close to victory though. In 2012 he finished second to Peter Vilandos in a WSOP $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event and last summer he was third in a $25,000 High Roller event at the Aria in Las Vegas. But on Monday he found himself as the last player standing in the $1,000 Top Up Turbo NLHE event. “Actually, this is the first live tournament I’ve ever won, so for it to be a bracelet event is pretty cool,” Julius said. “To start the Series off with a win in just the second tournament is obviously what I would want.” The 29-year-old, who won $142,972 for the win, had extra equity in the event – just nothing monetary. Julius and his fiancée are expecting their first child. “We’ve been arguing about (baby) names, and my fiancée said that if I won a gold bracelet I could pick the name of the baby,” Julius said. “It’s still going to be mutual. We’re going to name the kid together but now I have a little more say.” Julius eliminated three of the last four players and heads-up play between Julius and Bart Lybaert lasted just one hand, but didn’t come without drama. Julius moved all in from the button with [poker card="4h"][poker card="4s"] and Lybaert called his last 860,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="tc"][poker card="2c"] flop gave Lybaert a pair of kings and while the [poker card="ad"] was a blank, the [poker card="4c"] river gave Julius a set of fours and his first WSOP bracelet. Other notables to cash in this event included Ben Yu (3rd - $61,137), Vinny Pahuja (9th - $9,506), Liv Boeree (29th - $3,277), Kevin Eyster (32nd - $3,277) and Eric Baldwin (52nd - $2,447). Final Table Payouts Kyle Julius - $142,972 Bart Lybaert - $88,328 Ben Yu - $61,137 Karl Held - $43,001 Hugo Perez - $30,742 Christian Blech - $22,345 Nitis Udornpim - $16,518 George Dolofan - $12,422 Vinny Pahuja - $9,506 Jiri Horak Leads Colossus II Final Table, Jonathan ‘Itsmejon’ Borenstein in Sixth The second largest live poker tournament ever has just nine players remaining and Jiri Horak sits atop the chip counts. The Czech player has 25,425,000 chips, nearly 6,000,000 more than that of his nearest competitor, Ben Keeline . PocketFiver Jonathan ‘Itsmejon’ Borenstein sits in sixth place with 7,400,000. The day started with 78 players still in contention for the $1,000,000 first place prize and bracelet but over the course of nearly 10 hours of play, 69 players were sent the cashier window. Included in that group were David 'ODB' Baker (66th - $12,452), Austin Buchanan (57th - $15,166), Marco Johnson (47th - $18,592), Ylon Schwartz (46th - $18,592), Amir Lehavot (36th - $28,479) and the player who began the day as chip leader, Ben Lindemulder (27th - $25,584). The final table gets underway at 2 PM PT with streaming on WSOP.com. Final Table Chip Counts Jiri Horak - 25,425,000 Benjamin Keeline - 19,900,000 Richard Carr - 14,400,000 Alex Benjamen - 14,275,000 Marek Ohnisko - 10,550,000 Jonathan Borenstein - 7,400,000 Xiu Deng - 6,000,000 Farhad Davoudzadeh - 5,925,000 Christopher Renaudette - 4,250,000 Former #1-ranked Paul Volpe Bags Big Stack in Dealers Choice Just nine players remain in the $1,500 Dealers Choice Six-Max event with Lawrence Berg finishing Day 2 with the biggest stack. Berg bagged up 836,500 but right behind him is none other than Paul ‘paulgees81‘ Volpe. The former top-ranked player on PocketFives finished with 674,500. Other notables still in contention include Andrew Brown and Randy Ohel. Day 2 began with 85 players left in the field and with just 59 spots paid, some players were going home without cashing. Included in that group were David Sklansky, Mike Matusow, Stephen Chidwick, Barry Greenstein and eventual bubble burster Jameson Painter. Some of the players who did manage to cash but not advance to Day 3 were Richard Ashby, Shawn Buchanan, Mike Wattel, Justin Gardenhire, Jeff Madsen, Vladimir Shchmelev, Sorel Mizzi and the first WSOP cash in five years for Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson. Action resumes at 2 PM PT and plays down to a winner. Chip Counts Lawrence Berg - 836,500 Paul Volpe - 674,500 Yueqi Zhu - 418,500 Andrew Brown - 250,000 John Templeton - 215,500 Joseph Couden - 192,000 Ryan Himes - 125,500 Daniel Habl - 106,000 Randy Ohel - 99,500 First $1,500 NLHE Event Draws 2,016, Roman Rogovskyi Leads The first $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event of the 2016 WSOP drew 2,016 players and after Day 1, Roman Rogovskyileads the 321 survivors. The Ukranian, who recently made five final tables at the GipsyTeam Live Poker Festival in Famagusta, got his big stack after eliminating Phil Hellmuth and another player in one hand towards the end of the day. Right behind Rogovskyi is Mark ‘Eppy12588’ Epstein with 188,300. Another former #1-ranked player also bagged a top 10 stack. Steve 'gboro780' Gross finished with 142,800, good enough for the seventh biggest Day 1 stack. Other notables still in contention for the $438,417 first place prize money include Bob Bounahra, Matt Berkey, Justin Young, Jonathan Tamayo, Randal Flowers, Alex Masek and former WPT Player of the Year Anthony Zinno. Top 10 Chip Counts Roman Rogovskyi - 188,700 Mark Epstein - 188,300 Karen Sarkisyan - 160,800 Michael Page - 157,700 Ferenc Riech - 155,700 James Ohlweiler - 145,500 Steve Gross - 142,800 Jeremiah Fitzpatrick - 141,400 Quang Ngo - 136,500 Kindah Sakkal - 134,300 Konstantin Maslak Leads $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven The first No Limit Deuce to Seven event of the summer, which allowed players to re-enter once after being eliminated prior to Level 6, had 279 entrants pay the $1,500 buy-in and the 52 players to survive Day 1 include a number of notable players. Konstantin Maslak leads the way with 119,800 but he’ll have to fight off the likes of Yuval Bronshtein, Benny Glaser, John Monnette, Niall Farrell, Barry Greenstein, Joao Vieira, Jen Harman, Eric Wasserson, James Obst, Erik Seiel, and, making his first Day 2 of the 2016 WSOP, 21-year-old Dzmitry Urbanovich. Day 2 gets underway at 2 PM PT and will play 10 more levels. Top 10 Chip Counts Konstantin Maslak - 119,800 Yuval Bronshtein - 108,125 Daniel Weinman - 93,950 Bob Morgan - 84,800 Benny Glaser - 79,725 Alex Dovzhenko - 73,750 John Marlowe - 65,075 John Monnette - 64,725 Michael Laake - 60,000 Michel Leibgorin - 58,650
  9. The first day of July crowned one new bracelet winner, left six players to return in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship and two more events return a handful players for Day 3. The $888 Crazy Eights event brought out the crowds with two flights in the re-entry event. Safiya Umerova Upsets Niall Farrell for First Bracelet in $1,500 Shootout [caption width="600"] Safiya Umerova came back from down 3-1 in chips heads-up to win her first bracelet.[/caption]Day 3 of the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout kicked off with two six-handed tables, they made the final table at nine players and upstart Safiya Umerova defeated Niall Farrell for her first bracelet and $246,046. “I think women poker players are underestimated, it happens to me." Umerova said. “They underestimate my thinking and my game overall. I’ve only been playing poker for a very short time. It’s exciting, this is a great start for my career.” “I dream big. I want to be the best poker player in the world,” she added. “I know I am not there yet, but I want to have the most gold bracelets anyone has ever had. That’s the goal. That’s what you’re supposed to go for, right?” Heads-up play began with Farrell holding a 3-1 chip advantage but Umerova won a key pot when all in with queens. Farrell held [poker card="ac"][poker card="9d"] but two queens on the flop doubled up Umerova’s stack. A few hands later, down 3-1, he shoved holding queen high and Umerova called with an ace. An ace hit on the flop and Umerova became the second female bracelet winner in as many days. Final Table Payouts Safiya Umerova - $246,046 Niall Farrell - $163,158 Michael Mixer - $118,109 Yuliyan Kolev - $86,513 Damian Salas - $64,129 Raymond Ho - $48,115 Daniel McAulay - $36,543 Daniel Tang - $28,101 Alexander Lakhov - $21,881 Brandon Shack-Harris Leads Final Six in $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship Day 3 of the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship began with 28 returning players after a brutal Day 2 bubble and after ten levels of play Brandon Shack-Harris leads the six-handed Day 4 table. Matthew Parry, Loren Klein, Melad Marji, Harley Stoffmaker and Tommy Le round out the final six. It’s an odd lineup for the event with the unknowns totaling 11 WSOP cashes while Shack-Harris, Klein and Le have 51 cashes and more than $2.5 million combined. Jason Mercier, Mike Watson, Taylor Paur, Mike Matusow and Erik Seidel all made the money but ultimately found the rail. Play resumes Saturday at noon and will be live-streamed with hole cards. Final Six Chip Counts Brandon Shack-Harris – 5,425,000 Matthew Parry – 4,775,000 Loren Klein – 3,530,000 Melad Marji – 2,930,000 Harley Stoffmaker – 2,265,000 Tommy Le – 1,600,000 Jay Farber, James Akenhead and James Akenhead Headline Day 3 in $3,000 No Limit Hold’em The $3,000 No Limit Hold'em event began with 287 returning players for Day 2 and after ten levels of play the field was trimmed to 31 players – well short of the intended final table mark. Tony Ruberto bagged up the lead with three November Niners sliding into the top 10. James Akenhead, Simon Deadman and Daniel Rudd lead a contingent of British players after finishing in the top 20. Andrew Lichtenberger, Tristan Wade, John Hennigan and John Racener also advanced but in the bottom half of the counts. Players return at noon on Saturday with over $500,000 on the line for the winner and they’ll play to a winner is crowned. Depending on the finish of the PLO Championship and the lineup, it could be live-streamed later in the day on WSOP.com. Top Ten Chip Counts Tony Ruberto – 1,165,000 Jay Farber – 1,077,000 Nick Yunis – 1,056,000 Thomas Miller – 970,000 Linglin Zeng – 858,000 James Akenhead – 851,000 Erhan Iscan – 798,000 Pierre Neuville – 770,000 Salvatore Dicarlo – 763,000 Sevan Markarian – 690,000 Allen Le & John Monnette Lead Stacked Field of 27 to Day 3 in Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo The Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo event of three variants is new for the 2016 WSOP schedule and the field returned 207 players to Day 2. Ten levels of play reduced the field to 27 survivors littered with bracelet winners but Allen Le and John Monnette were the only two players to finish above the 500,000-mark. Gary Bolden, Bart Hanson and Keith Ferrera landed in the top 10 counts while Timothy Burt, Gavin Smith, David Bach and Jason Somerville all return with shorter stacks. Michael Mizrachi, John Holley, Mike Leah and Ted Forrest made deep runs into the money but didn’t survive the day. Play resumes for Day 3 at noon as one of three events playing to a winner. Top Ten Chip Counts Allan Le – 562,500 John Monnette – 531,000 Cody Crouch – 435,500 Yuval Bronshtein – 348,000 Gary Bolden – 323,500 Philipp Eirisch – 311,500 Alexey Makarov – 278,000 Bart Hanson – 217,500 Keith Ferrera – 206,000 Mark Johns – 193,500 Two Flights for Crazy Eights Event Combine for 2,816 Entrants The multiple re-entry $888 Crazy Eights Eight Max No Limit Hold’em event ran two of the four opened flights on Friday and combined for 2,816 entrants collectively. Despite those huge numbers, only 36 players advanced from Flight 1A and 50 survivors from Flight 1B – 86 total. Andy Spears bagged the most with 499,000 from the late wave and Daniel Fried led the first flight. Dimitar Danchev, Loni Harwood, Jason Les, Allen Kessler and Jennifer Shahade standout from the 36 Flight 1A survivors. John Gordon, Scott Davies and Hank Sitton advance from Flight 1B pool of 50 advancing players. Day 2 returns to action Sunday at 2 pm in the Amazon Room, bringing all four flights together for the first time. Flight 1C has cards in the air at 10 am and Flight 1D gathers for a start at 4 pm on Saturday. Top Ten Chip Counts A & B Combined Andy Spears – 499,000 Daniel Fried – 366,000 Gytis Bernatavicius – 360,000 Francis Rusnak – 341,000 DNR – 336,000 Joshua Field – 323,000 Lev Mimma – 315,000 Jennifer Shahade – 285,000 Henry Grunzweig – 279,000 Joep Raemaekers – 278,000 Saturday’s Crazier Eights & Poker Players Championship The WSOP will be stretched to its limits on Saturday with three events playing down to a winner in the Amazon Room, while shoehorning in two more flights of the $888 Crazy Eights event. Then the prestigious $50,000 Poker Players Championship kicks off at 3 pm, scheduled for five days and arguably brings together the toughest field each year.
  10. [caption width="640"] Jason Mercier continues to lead the WSOP Player of the Year race (WSOP photo)[/caption] It’s no secret that the WSOP Player of the Year rankings are slightly weighted towards bigger buy-in events and through the holiday weekend, those bigger buy-in events are starting at the 2016 World Series of Poker. The $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship began Saturday and the $25,000 High Roller Pot Limit Omaha begins on Wednesday. The $111,111 High Roller for One Drop begins at the end of that week and if anyone is going to catch Jason Mercier at the top of those POY rankings, those events are going to play an important role. Unfortunately for the chase pack, last year, Mercier cashed in two of those events, including a runner-up finish in the Pot Limit Omaha Championship. That means that not only will Benny Glazer, Max Silver and the rest of the top-five have to make deep runs, they’ll also have to stop Mercier, which has seemed like a nearly impossible task so far this summer. After winning two bracelets in the course of a week, Mercier has continued to crush. He now has 10 cashes in 2016, including a cash at the end of last month in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship. Glaser has gone for more quality than quantity, while also doing all his damage in mixed game events. After winning back to back Omaha Hi-Lo events, he’s added a $1,500 Mixed NLHE/PLO and $1,500 Seven Card Stud cashes. He sits second on the current POY standings with 1,352, well off the 2,121 pace set by Mercier. While there is a gap at the top, Silver is making a push up the leaderboard, jumping into the top-three after being outside the top-ten a week ago. That’s because Silver has seemingly saved his best for the second half of the summer, pushing his cash total to nine and adding two deep runs in the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event and the $10,000 PLO Championship. Throw in a 24th place finish in the $10,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em Championship and Silver is proving himself across a wide variety of disciplines and buy-in levels. The Brits are separated by just seven POY points but their podium spots aren’t guaranteed, as Michael Gathy is entering July on a rush. He won the $5,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em event, good for his third career bracelet and then nearly won a forth, finishing runner-up to John Hennigan in the $10,000 Triple Draw Championship. The Belgian has never cashed in the above ‘big three’ events, so it will be interesting to see what his schedule is moving forward. Prior to the start of the summer, Stephen Chidwick was pegged as one of the must watch players that could breakthrough to win his first bracelet. Unfortunately that win hasn’t come yet but he has recorded eight cashes, including two final table appearances. Primarily a mixed game player as well, he’ll certainly not only look to claim his first piece of WSOP hardware but also continue to move up the POY rankings. WSOP POY Top 10 Jason Mercier - 2,121.69 Benny Glaser - 1,352.30 Max Silver - 1,345.39 Michael Gathy - 1,280.91 Stephen Chidwick - 1,278.09 Michael Watson - 1,273.05 Randy Ohel - 1,256.91 Martin Kozlov - 1,252.58 Michael Semenov - 1,214.69 Justin Bonomo - 1,197.99
  11. Even with a city packed full of tourists for the July 4th weekend, the 2016 World Series of Poker continued on Monday with one bracelet winner and another day of action in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship event, which got past the bubble and saw the same name at the top of the chip counts throughout the day. Event #54: Hung Le Wins $888 Crazy Eights Event [CAPTION=100%]Hung Le turn $888 into "life-changing money" on Monday (WSOP photo)]/CAPTION] Many amateur poker players dream of going to the WSOP and hitting the jackpot. Whether it's a bracelet, a big score or both, the WSOP is where poker players come to make it happen. That's exactly what Hung Le did on Monday night, winning the $888 Crazy Eights event and walking away with $888,888. “I tried to come out to Las Vegas to get lucky,” Le said, “I have five kids. We are a lower middle class family. We work hard. This is life changing money for us.” The 53-year-old Vietnamese immigrant beat out a final table that included bracelet winner Loni Harwood and former PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event champion Dimitar Danchev. His previous biggest score came in 2014 when he won $8,208 for taking down a Hollywood Poker Open event in Columbus, OH. Final Table Payouts Hung Le - $888,888 Michael Lech - $401,888 Dimitar Danchev - $297,888 Rafael Yaraliyev - $222,888 Henry Grunzweig - $167,888 Loni Harwood - $126,888 Aurelien Guiglini - $96,888 Yang Zhang - $74,888 Event #55: Justin Bonomo Leads $50,000 Poker Players Championship Day 3 of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship began with Justin Bonomo leading the final 42 players. Jason Mercier and Howard Lederer were also in the hunt for the bracelet and Chip Reese Memorial Trophy. Ten levels of play didn't change the name at the top but those three players, and 26 others were eliminated on Monday. Bonomo finished on top with 3,127,000. Behind him is the player who denied Mercier a bracelet earlier this summer, Ray Dehkharghani, with 2,662,000. Lamar Wilkinson rounds out the top three with 2,659,000. Michael Mizrachi. who won this event in 2010 and 2012, is still in contention for his third PPC title after bagging up 2,016,000 on Monday. Georgios Sotiropoulos was eliminated by Eric Wasserson on the bubble. A few minutes later, Robert Mizrachi was eliminated in 14th place. Lederer and Mercier weren't the only notable eliminated without cashing on Monday. Todd Brunson, James Obst, Scott Seiver and Phil Hellmuth were also among the Monday casualties. Hellmuth took his elimination in stride. The final 13 players get cards in the air at 2 PM PT. Final 13 Chip Counts Justin Bonomo - 3,127,000 Ray Dehkharghani - 2,662,000 Lamar Wilkinson - 2,659,000 Rep Porter - 2,056,000 Michael Mizrachi- 2,016,000 Eric Wasserson - 1,920,000 Brian Rast - 1,569,000 Paul Volpe - 1,500,000 Tommy Hang - 1,400,000 Elior Sion - 1,247,000 Daniel Alaei - 1,045,000 Daniel Negreanu - 995,000 Mike Gorodinsky - 526,000 Event #56: Matt Affleck on Top After Day 2 of $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Matt Affleck was one of just two players to finish Day 2 of the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event with over one million chips. Affleck finished on top with 1,420,000 while Kilian Kramer ended the day with 1,250,000. Just 28 players remain in event after Day 2. Included in that group is David Peters (579,000), Dar O'Kearney (484,000) and Faraz Jaka (423,000). Action resumes at Noon Top 10 Chip Counts Matt Affleck - 1,420,000 Kilian Kramer - 1,250,000 Jason Seitz - 757,000 Muhammad Abdel Rahim - 739,000 Chahnhoon Jung - 657,000 David Peters - 579,000 Pablo Gordillo - 567,000 Michael Aron - 551,000 Chun Law - 548,000 Benjamin Zamani - 530,000 Event #57: David Nowakowski Leads $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo into Day 3 David Nowakowski ended Day 2 of the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event with the chip lead after eliminating two players on one hand. Nowakowski bagged up 1,203,000 - almost 500,000 ahead of any other player. Nowakowski has two previous WSOP cashes - both in Omaha Hi-Lo variants - but his last one came in 2011. Canadian Timothy Vukson is the player closest to Nowakowski. He ended Day 2 with 721,000. Only 16 players remain in the field including two-time bracelet winner Marco Johnson and former Main Event runner-up Martin Staskzo. The tournament resumes at 2 PM PT and is scheduled to play down to a winner on Tuesday. Top 10 Chip Counts David Nowakowski - 1,203,000 Timothy Vukson - 721,000 James Alexander - 595,000 Marco Johnson - 447,000 Jonathan Bascom - 424,000 Victor Chang - 420,000 Stephen Johnson - 306,000 Kenneth Po - 260,000 Scott Anderson - 255,000 Matt Lefkowitz - 239,000 Event #58: $1,000 Turbo No Limit Hold'em With the July 4th holiday occupying a good number of the players in Las Vegas, the WSOP schedule had only one event on the docket on Monday - a $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold'em event with 30-minute levels. A total of 1,397 players played the event with only 28 making it through the first day. Leading the pack is Germany's Enrico Rudelitz. He finished with 904,000 - exactly 300,000 more than his closest competitor, Mikhail Petrov. Some of the notables who made it through Day 1 include Fatima Moreira de Melo, Jordan Young, Ryan Riess and Martin Kozlov. The final 28 players will be back in action beginning at Noon PT on Tuesday and will play to a winner. Top 10 Chip Counts Enrico Rudelitz - 904,000 Mikhail Petrov - 604,000 William Liang - 602,000 Nikolay Mantsurov - 601,000 Benjamin Reinhart - 501,000 Marc MacDonnell - 404,000 Ryan Pochedly - 387,000 Ryan Leng - 377,000 Fatima Moreira de Melo - 270,000 Gualter Salles - 238,000
  12. The Rio hosted one 2016 World Series of Poker final table – the last Stud event on the schedule and the vaunted $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event brings six players to final table Friday. Registration closed on Day 2 in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller, the Tag Team event has nine remaining and two budget-priced, big bet games kicked off for the arriving Main Event crowd. David Prociak Outduels Brandon Shack-Harris and John Monnette for First Bracelet [caption width="640"] David Prociak faced off against two of the best Limit players today and came out on top.[/caption]David Prociak was the short stack at the final table of the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event with nine players remaining and had two of the game’s best Mixed Game tournament players and a couple guys with 20 WSOP cashes in Calvin Anderson and Jameson Painter ahead of him. Prociak played beyond his experience and battled his way all the way back to his first bracelet and $156,546. “I can’t put it into worlds, there’s nothing I can say,” Prociak said moments after besting Shack-Harris heads-up. “I’m still in shock. I came in to the day with a lead but lost it pretty quick to him (Shack-Harris) in five straight pots.” “I was able to put it all behind me and kept him from putting it on me,” he added. “I’ve been locked in all week – waking up when I’m supposed to and eating healthy." Prociak's win is just his third WSOP cash in his first year at the WSOP. He previously cashed in Colossus II and finished 30th in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Mixed Event. Shack-Harris won his second career bracelet a week ago in the Pot Limit Omaha Championship and recorded his third final table of the summer. He also played the entire final table wearing a hooded polar bear jacket. Monnette’s Series improved to eight cashes with five final tables. He’s made $319,906 for his efforts of a runner-up and third place finishes. Bryan Devonshire finished 10th and Al Barbieri 12th. Final Table Payouts David Prociak - $156,546 Brandon Shack-Harris - $96,750 John Monnette - $66,601 Alex Livingston - $46,652 Louis Russo - $33,263 Gaurav Kalro - $24,148 Jameson Painter - $17,855 Calvin Anderson - $13,452 Yue Due Holds Half the Chips in Play with Six Remaining in $5,000 No Limit Event The penultimate day of the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event returned with 47 players and the pace of elimination was a bit brisker than planned, so the field played down to six players before stopping. Yue Du holds half the chips in play with 11.73 million in the bag. German standout and three-time bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche is second in chips with 3.66 million and Jason Mercier’s better half, Natasha Barbour, sits in the middle with 2.45 million. Austrian Ismael Bojang, Michael Gentili and Marius Gierse round out the table. Matt O’Donnell (7th), Sertac Turker (8th) and Arne Coulier (9th) made the final table but didn’t survive the day. Kane Kalas bubbled the final table in 10th place as Andy Hwang, Byron Kaverman and Isaac Baron all made deep runs. Final Table Chip Counts Yue Du – 11,730,000 Dominik Nitsche – 3,665,000 Natasha Barbour – 2,455,000 Ismael Bojang – 1,785,000 Michael Gentili – 1,415,000 Marius Gierse – 730,000 Nine Tag Teams Advance, Polk/Fee Lead by Wide Margin Day 2 began with 130 returning teams and ten levels of action has the field trimmed to a final table headlined by Doug Polk and Ryan Fee. They have 1.2 million in the bag and John Gale and TJ Shulman sit second with 606,000. Top pros Mohsin Charania and Marvin Rettenmaier sit third, Jonathan Little has a team with his parents, James Dempsey and Chris Godfrey formed a team and Bart Lybaert, Adam Owen, Benny Glaser and Owais Ahmed formed a four-man squad that returns. Leo Wolpert and Ryan Laplante finished 22nd, Michael, Robert, Eric and Daniel Mizrachi finished in 26th place and Jeff Gross, Brian Rast and Antonio Esfandiari finished in 28th place. Final Table Chip Counts (by Last Player Sitting) Doug Polk – 1,243,000 John Gale – 606,000 Mohsin Charania – 505,000 Michael Padula – 475,000 James Dempsey – 447,000 Niel Mittelman – 425,000 Adam Owen – 293,000 Reuben Peters – 209,000 Larry Little – 113,000 Elite Field of 20 Return in $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller Day 2 returned 95 survivors with chips and 21 player waited until the start of action to get in the event. Ten levels of action trimmed the field down to 20 players with Ludovic Geilich on top with 3,025,000 in the bag. Michael and Robert Mizrachi sit second and third in chips one day after Michael finished fourth in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and the same day they cashed in 26th place with brothers Eric and Daniel in the Tag Team event. Ryan D’Angelo, Sean Winter and Paul Volpe finished in the top ten with Dan Smith, Cary Katz and Yevgeniy Timoshenko in the second half of the counts. Day 2’s additional entrants that skipped Day 1 pushed the prize pool to $4.37 million. The top 28 players made the money with Sam Stein, Taylor Paur, Rep Porter and Isaac Baron earning a payout before busting. Top Ten Chip Counts Ludovic Geilich – 3,025,000 Michael Mizrachi – 2,435,000 Robert Mizrachi – 2,245,000 Ryan D’Angelo – 1,640,000 Sean Winter – 1,560,000 Paul Volpe – 1,430,000 Chris Lee – 1,245,000 Veselin Karakitukov – 1,215,000 Tommy Le – 1,200,000 Jens Kyllonen – 1,165,000 Event 63: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em The budget No Limit event at 11 am drew a huge crowd of 2,452 entrants and after a long day at the felt 268 players remain. Daniel Weinman missed out on the overall led by a few chips but is one of 15 to bag up six-figure stacks. Matt Jarvis, Hiren Patel, Nick Guagenti, Tony Dunst and Mark Radoja all bagged up above average stacks. The field combined for a $2,206,800 prize pool for the top 368 finishers. All returning players have $1,750 guaranteed but the big money up top nabs all the attention – the top four players earn six-figures with the winner walking with $339,254. Top Ten Chip Counts Frederick Goff – 144,300 Daniel Weinman – 140,400 Raffaele Castro – 130,000 Patricia Kananda – 127,600 Michael Wang – 127,300 Paolo Cusinato – 117,600 Sean Gibson- 117,500 Massoud Eskandari – 114,900 Sergio Cabrera – 114,800 James Salters – 104,900 Event 64: $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha HiLo The afternoon event picked up 478 entrants and ten levels of play reduced the field down to 156 players. Jon Turner built the largest stack but Allan Le, Kyle Bowker and Leif Force all bagged up in the top five spots. 2005 Main Event Champ Joe Hachem landed in the top ten with Ashton Griffin, Ari Engel and Ben Yu with stacks way above average. Richard Ashby, Scott Clements, Ylon Schwartz and David Paredes also return. The field built a $1,291,290 prize pool for a little less than half of the returning field – 71 players. First place earns $294,960 and top three spots earn six-figures. Top Ten Chip Counts Jon Turner – 116,900 Allan Le – 112,700 Tark Abboud – 111,500 Kyle Bowker – 110,700 Leif Force – 110,500 Sirous Jamshidi – 109,800 Anil Gurnaney – 101,300 Terrance Bott – 97,000 Joe Hachem – 95,200 Timothy Vukson – 94,800 Expensive Chairs in the Amazon Room or Playing for a Bracelet in Underwear The $111,111 High Roller for One Drop returns Friday for one of the most expensive buy-ins this side of the Atlantic. The event drew X in 2014 when Tony Gregg earned $x for his first bracelet. For those that prefer much less media attention the online bracelet with unlimited re-entries starts at 1 pm and plays down to the final six for a live final table in the Amazon Room. The Ladies Championship returns with a 90% discount of the $10,000 buy-in for female players. Technically, men can enter but their +EV argument takes a huge hit.
  13. [caption width="640"] George Danzer won the ,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event on Monday (WSOP photo)[/caption] George Danzer beat a stacked final table on Monday night at the 2016 World Series of Poker to win the fourth WSOP bracelet of his career and first since 2014. Danzer now has more bracelets than any other German players after breaking the tie with Dominik Nitsche. “Everybody always tries to race for bracelets. But (Germans) do not have a rivalry among our players. We all try to help each other out and are cheering for each other, but we also try to be the best we can," said Danzer. ".I hope Dominik wins his fourth soon, so I can then go out and win my fifth.” While Danzer was busy cementing his own legacy, the Monster Stack field featured a number of players who have already done great things in poker including David Pham and TJ Cloutier. Event #41: David Pham Leads Monster Stack, TJ Cloutier in Top 10 After three complete days of play, the Monster Stack has a dragon on top. David 'the Dragon' Pham leads the final 26 players with 8,895,000 - almost 600,000 more than his closest competitor. Pham, who last won a WSOP bracelet in 2006, isn't the only old-school player still chasing down the $1,120,196 first place prize money. Six-time WSOP bracelet winner TJ Cloutier bagged up 4,600,000 for the eighth biggest stack. Right behind Pham is Cody Pack with 8,330,000. Irish poker legend Donnacha O'Dea is also still in the mix. O'Dea finished Day 3 with 2,900,000. The final 26 players return at 11 AM PT and will play another 10 levels - or down to a winner. Top 10 Chip Counts David Pham - 8,895,000 Cody Pack - 8,330,000 Gina Stagnitto - 6,955,000 Dorian Rios - 6,600,000 Marshall White - 6,505,000 Mitchell Towner - 6,155,000 Rafael Da Silva Moraes - 5,770,000 TJ Cloutier - 4,600,000 Michael Lang - 4,555,000 Andrew Moreno - 3,860,000 Event #43: George Danzer Wins $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Two years ago German poker pro George Danzer had no WSOP bracelets to his credit and just a few close calls at final tables. On Monday night he won his fourth bracelet, beating out a final table that included David Grey, Scott Clements, Todd Brunson and Justin Bonomo to win the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event. “It’s not like you win three (bracelets) every year. That’s tough to do,” Danzer said. “Last year was a brick year for me, so this is becoming a much better year, so far.” Danzer won three bracelets, and WSOP Player of the Year, but cashed just four times last year, making only one final table. Three weeks ago Danzer finished third in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud championship. Randy Ohel finished second for his fifth cash of the 2016 WSOP. Brunson, who began Day 3 with the chip lead, was unable to continue his momentum from Day 2 and ended up finsihed fifth. Mike Leah, who sold pieces for this event on YouStake, finished 11th for $23,665. Final Table Payouts George Danzer - $338,646 Randy Ohel - $209,302 Justin Bonomo - $148,601 Esther Taylor-Brady - $107,551 Todd Brunson - $79,381 Eli Elezra - $59,773 Scott Clements - $45,935 David Grey - $36,044 Event #44: Just 19 Remain in $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em; Young Sik Eum Leads Young Sik Eum is one of just two players to finish Day 2 of the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event with over 1,000,000 chips in their bag. Eum finished with 1,400,000 and the overnight chip lead. Right behind him is Michael Shanahan with 1,079,000. Just 19 players remain in the hunt for the bracelet and $298,849 first place prize money. No matter who wins this tourney they will be a first-time bracelet winner as none of the remaining 19 have ever tasted a WSOP victory before. The most accomplished tournament player remaining is Justin Zaki. With over $1.6 million in lifetime earnings, including $218,771 from a fourth place finish at the 2013 WSOP, Zaki's accomplishments dwarf the rest of the final 19 combined. Action resumes at Noon PT and will play down to a winner. Top 10 Chip Counts Young Sik Eum - 1,400,000 Michael Shanahan - 1,079,000 Dejan Boskovic - 898,000 Julien Martini - 710,000 Steven Wolansky - 708,000 Brad Myers - 670,000 Niel Mittelman - 670,000 Danny Illingworth - 668,000 Todd Hayes - 620,000 Sven Reichardt - 600,000 Event #45: Loren Klein Leads $1,500 NLHE/PLO into Day 3 Finishing Day 1 with a chip lead rarely means much at the WSOP, but Loren Klein took his Day 1 chip lead and carried it over to Day 2 in the $1,500 Mixed No Limit Hold'em/Pot Limit Omaha event. Klein finished Day 2 with 1,079,00 and that puts him on top with just 15 players remaining. Right behind Klein is Steven Gagliano with 957,000. Former WPT500 winner Craig Varnell finished with the fourth biggest stack with 689,000. Varnell already has one final table appearance at the 2016 WSOP, finishing seventh in the $2,00 No Limit Hold'em event two weeks ago. Among the players who busted on Monday but still managed to find a cash out of it were Ashton Griffin (16th - $8,367), Jason DeWitt (17th - $8,367), John Racener (19th - $6,820), Niall Farrell (21st - $6,820) and Taylor Paur (56th - $3,550). Top 10 Chip Counts Loren Klein - 1,079,000 Steven Gagliano - 957,000 Dmitry Savelyev - 760,000 Craig Varnell - 689,000 Matthew Humphrey - 504,000 Rick Alvarado - 394,000 Sergio Fretes - 363,000 Chris Back - 355,000 Kyle Bowker - 324,000 Eric Penner - 320,000 Event #46: Jonathan Dimmig Leads $1,500 Event The $1,500 Bounty No Limit Hold'em event brought out 2,158 players on Monday with just 308 advancing to Day 2. Jonathan Dimmig finished Day 1 with the biggest stack after putting 270,800 in his bag at the end of the opening 10 levels. Joao Vieira sitsthird with 187,000 and Kitty Kuo finished fifth with 168,200. Other notables still in the field include Martin Jacobson (110,100), Matt Stout (98,500), Chris Moorman (86,600) and Ryan Riess (58,600). The $1,500 event is the only Bounty event on the WSOP schedule this year but some players are already campaigning for bigger events for 2017. Top 10 Chip Counts Abe Mosseri - 334,000 Paul Volpe - 333,500 Dan Shak - 311,500 Erik Sagstrom - 302,000 JC Tran - 286,500 Brandon Delnano - 270,000 Danny Wong - 232,000 Scott Abrams - 228,500 Brant Hale - 220,000 Viacheslav Zhukov - 219,500
  14. [caption width="640"] Valentin Vornicu is the only player with over 600,000 chips in the 2016 WSOP Main Event.[/caption] Valentin Vornicu has dominated the WSOP Circuit over the years. The California poker pro has won eight Circuit rings and on Day 2AB of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, he took a gigantic step towards winning his first WSOP bracelet. Vornicu bagged up 838,600 after 5.5 levels of play on Tuesday. He is 252,600 ahead of the next closest player, Jamie Shavel. Despite being one of the most successful players in WSOP Circuit history, this marks the first time he’s played the WSOP Main Event. Even as a WSOP rookie, he recognizes just how early they are in the tournament. “It’s Day 2. This is a 10-day tournament, anything can happen,” said Vornicu. “I’m happy. I played good I think. I made good calls, made good bets, cards came my way, but it’s just one day.” Vornicu has been in Las Vegas all summer grinding away and has four WSOP cashes to show for it. One thing he hasn’t had is any real rest days. That all changes now. “It's probably my second day off in a month and a half,” said Vornicu, who indicated he plans on catching up on some sleep on Wednesday. “If we make it further, there's not going to be any more rest days, so I've got to take advantage.” Chad Power, who had a deep run in the 2015 WSOP Main Event, appears to be up to his old tricks. Power finished with 546,800 - good enough for a top five stack. Another player who has already enjoyed one deep Main Event run in their career and is now in position for another one is Gaelle Baumann. After stone-bubbling the November Nine in 2012, Baumann finished Tuesday with the ninth best stack at 504,600. Jason Somerville also managed to survive on Tuesday, but will have some work to do coming back on Day 3 with just above starting stack. Other notables to make it through Day 2AB include Maria Ho (435,500), Alexander Kostritsyn (388,900), former #1-ranked PocketFiver Conor Beresford (386,900), Dietrich Fast (359,500), Prahlad Friedman (332,300) and Antonio Esfandiari (327,400). Two players who did not manage to make it to Day 3 were former Full Tilt Poker pros and executives Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson. After the fireworks at the end of Day 1B, Lederer had a relatively quiet Day 2 until being eliminated halfway through the day. A total of 760 players advanced from Day 2AB and will now take Wednesday off as the Day 1C survivors play 5.5 levels beginning at 11 AM PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Valentin Vornicu - 838,600 Jamie Shaevel - 586,000 Alvaro Lopez - 573,200 Ramin Hajiyev - 558,400 Chad Power - 546,800 Petr Bartagov - 546,000 Ronnie Pease - 518,100 Jonas Lauck - 510,000 Gaelle Baumann - 504,600 Eric Afriat - 501,000
  15. [caption width="640"] John Hennigan was one of three WSOP bracelet winners on Wednesday. (WSOP photo)[/caption] Three players found their way into the winner's circle on Wednesday at the 2016 World Series of Poker. John Hennigan won his fourth career WSOP bracelet, taking down the $10,000 Triple Draw Championship. Hennigan admitted after his win that he only played the event to get himself away from the cash games where he'd been losing recently. Jason Mercier didn't win a bracelet on Wednesday, but he did advance to Day 2 of the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship. He was one of a handful of former bracelet winners to advance. Event #44: Steven Wolansky Wins Second Bracelet in $1K No Limit Hold'em [caption width="640"] Steven Wolansky now has two WSOP bracelets after his victory on Wednesday (WSOP photo)[/caption] Two years ago Steven Wolansky won his first WSOP bracelet in a $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven event. On Wednesday he grabbed his second one, beating Wenlong Jin heads-up to win the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event and nearly $300,000. “This win is just as meaningful, if not more,” Wolansky said. “The first one I won was more about me wanting to avenge my second place finish the previous year. I lost heads-up and that motivated me to prove to myself I could do it. But this time, it was a lot more money and plus the odds I had to overcome.” Wolansky and Jin were the only two players to return on Wednesday afternoon after the tournament was stopped Tuesday night after playing the maximum number of levels. When heads-up play began, Jin had Wolansky down 3-1 in chips. Final Table Payouts Steven Wolansky - $298,849 Wenlong Jin - $184,631 Bradley Myers - $133,955 Young Sik Eum - $98,150 Justin Zaki - $72,634 Dejan Boskovic - $54,294 Walter Rodriguez - $40,999 Zaher Sayegh - $31,278 Danny Illingworth - $24,111 Event #46: Kristen Bicknell Looking for Second Bracelet in $1500 Bounty Event So far this summer no female player has managed to win a bracelet. There have been close calls, Kerryjane Craigie finished runner-up in the Casino Employees event, and kindergarten teacher Lisa Meredith finished third in the Millionaire Maker. Former Ladies Event champ Kristen Bicknell is hoping to do one better than both of those finishes. Bicknell bagged up the chip lead with just three players remaining in the $1,500 Bounty event. Action was haulted on Wednesday night after playing down from 36 players over 10 levels of play. Bicknell finished Day 3 with 7,080,000, ahead of Norbert Szecsi's 5,600,000 and John Myung's 3,550,000. Among the 33 players who were eliminated on Wednesday were Calvin Anderson (31st - $7,550), Matt Stout (17th - $11,557), Jared Hamby (13th - $14,52) and Steve Gee (7th - $$40,203). Action resumes Thursday at Noon PT. Final Three Chip Counts Kristen Bicknell - 7,080,000 Norbert Szecsi - 5,600,000 John Myung - 3,550,000 Event #47: John Hennigan Wins $10,000 Triple Draw Championship John Hennigan won the fourth WSOP bracelet of his career, overcoming a final table full of bracelet winners and one of the players considered to be amongst the best without one. Hennigan outlasted the eight combined bracelets of Abe Mosseri, Viacheslav Zhukov, JC Tran, Michael Gathy and Chris Klodnicki. By his own estimation, Hennigan feels he didn't play all that well. "What was really striking to me is, I didn’t play that well. I got very lucky in this tournament. I didn’t really have it. But I got lucky at the right times," said Hennigan. "I bluffed and then caught, and I made so many hands. I normally think I played pretty well. But not this time. I played like shit." Hennigan admitted that he's been playing in the normally lucrative high stakes cash games that happen in Las Vegas during the WSOP, but was candid about how they've been going for him. "I’ve just been playing in the cash games this summer. But I’ve been losing. I was out of gas in the cash games, so I came over here to kill time," said Hennigan. "Those games are so big that it’s hard to concentrate on tournaments. So, I registered late at midnight - which is foolish. I gave up so many so many levels, but that’s what I did – and I’m glad I did." Klodnicki came into the final way with the chip lead and a shot at removing his name from the best-players-without-a-bracelet list that he's been a mainstay on for some time now. It didn't quite pan out for Klodnicki and he had to settle for a fourth place finish. Final Table Payouts Ankush Mandavia - $548,139 Daniel Strelitz - $338,774 Christian Nilles - $232,934 Thiago Macedo - $162,924 Pedro Oliveira $115,957 Sean Getzwiller $84,004 Sergey Lebedev - $61,964 Phil Hellmuth - $46,553 Kyle Julius - $35,636 Event #49: Eugene Katchalov Leads $1,500 Seven Card Stud Final Table Six of the final eight players in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud have already won a WSOP bracelet while the other two players have combined for one previous WSOP cash between them. Eugene Katchalov finished Day 2 with 521,000 and the chip lead over the likes of bracelet winners Shaun Deeb and Adam Friedman. Yaniv Birman has just one previous WSOP result, a 78th place finish in a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event in 2011, and Katherine Fleck has never cashed in a WSOP event before. Max Pescatori, John Monnette and Cory Zeidman round out the rest of the final table. Action resumes at 2 PM PT Thursday and will play down to a winner. Final Table Chip Counts Eugene Katchalov - 521,000 Shaun Deeb - 485,000 Adam Friedman - 396,000 Yaniv Birman - 386,000 Max Pescatori - 315,000 Katherine Fleck - 256,000 John Monnette - 85,000 Cory Zeidman - 44,000 Event #50: Selbst, Hastings, Farrell Advance to Day 2of $1,500 Shootout Day 1 of the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em shootout event saw 1,050 players enter hoping to win three straight sit n gos to win a WSOP bracelet. Among the group of players to win their first round match were Niall Farrell, Vanessa Selbst, Brian Hastings, Jeff Kimber, Sofia Lovgren, Tobias Reinkemeier and Konstantin Puchkov. The 120 players who advanced to Day 2 will play ten-handed tables on Thursday beginning at Noon Pt. Event #51: Steven McCuller Bags Huge Day 1 Chip Lead in $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship Germany's Steven McCuller finished Day 1 of the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship with nearly 500,000 chips - more than 50% more than any other player. McCuller finished with 498,600 while the second biggest stack, 330,200, belongs to Hokyiu Lee. Rep Porter and Michael Mizrachi also finished with top 10 stacks on Thursday. The event drew exactly 400 players including most of the biggest names in poker. Right now there is no bigger name than Jason Mercier. Seeking his third bracelet of the summer - and a massive prop bet for doing so - Mercier finished Day 1 with 218,800, a top 20 stack. Phil Hellmuth, fresh off of busting the $5,000 Turbo final table, Scott Clements, Joe Hachem and Antonio Esfandiari are among the players who entered but didn't make it to Day 2. Top 10 Chip Counts Steven Mcculler - 498,600 Hokyiu Lee - 330,200 Rep Porter - 293,700 Arie Miller - 292,000 Bobby Oboodi - 282,600 Michael Mizrachi - 276,900 Ivan Naumov - 271,000 Taylor McFarland - 264,700 Christopher Kruk - 263,800 Peter Park - 259,100
  16. On Friday, the dates for the 2016 World Series of Poker were announced. The annual festival in Las Vegas will run from May 31 to July 18 at the Rio. It's the 47th running of the series and its first open event will be the second edition of the Colossus, which begins June 2. In 2015, the first time the Colossus was run, the $565 buy-in re-entry tournament drew 22,374 entrants, making it the largest-field WSOP event ever and shattering numerous other records in the process. Some players, however, were a tad irate at the "Golden Ratio" payout structure that gave a first place prize of $638,000, or 5.7% of the prize pool. This year, Caesars is trying to break the 22,374-player mark and is installing a $7 million guaranteed prize pool, up from $5 million in 2015, and a $1 million guaranteed first place prize. It'll also include two more entry flights. A press release sent by WSOP explained, "Colossus II will use the format successfully introduced at WSOPE's Oktoberfest event where each starting flight plays into the money. This will not only ease congestion observed last year, but also allow a player to potentially cash multiple times in the event." The Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack, and Little One for One Drop will all return as well. No mentions of a High Roller for One Drop or Big One for One Drop were given, but Caesars Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky told PocketFives that the full schedule was still being worked out and an additional One Drop event may still be held. Ending the 2016 WSOP will once again be the Main Event, which begins on July 9 with the first of three starting days. The Main Event will play down to nine players nine days later on July 18. Joe McKeehen won the Main Event this year: The annual Senior Event will be held on June 17 and take the form of a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em tournament. The Casino Employee Event will occur on June 1 and be a $565 No Limit Hold'em tournament that will run for two days. WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart commented, "We want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2016. We hope some of your New Year's Resolutions will include capturing a WSOP gold bracelet in the coming year. We expect another well-rounded schedule offering something for everyone and another record-breaking opening with Colossus II on tap to make a millionaire right out of the gate." The 2016 WSOP will, according to Caesars, spread almost 500 poker tables and sprawl over 100,000 square feet of space. Over 60 bracelet events will likely be held, the full schedule of which will be released in the next two months. Due to the 22,000-man Colossus, the 2015 WSOP attracted 103,512 entrants, the largest attendance in the WSOP's 46-year history.
  17. [caption width="640"] Shaun Deeb joined Paul Volpe as the only former #1-ranked players to win a bracelet this summer[/caption] Shaun Deeb beat out a stacked final table towin the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event and earn the second bracelet of his career and second for former PocketFives #1-ranked players. Deeb's victory was one of just 21 cashes by this group in the last week. They've now recorded 75 WSOP cashes this summer earning a total of $870,602. Here are the highlights from the last week. Shaun 'shaundeeb' Deeb2016 WSOP cashes: 5 2016 WSOP earnings: $162,112 Shaun Deeb became just the second former PocketFives #1-ranked players to win a bracelet in 2016 when he took down the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event last week. He beat out a final table that included former bracelet winners Cory Zeidman, John Monnette, Eugene Katchalov, Max Pescatori and Adam Friedman to win 111,101. With $162,112 in winnings, Deeb now has the second most of any former #1-ranked player behind Paul Volpe. That appears to be as close as he's going to get though as an urgent family matter made for an early end to his WSOP. Dan Kelly2016 WSOP cashes: 10 2016 WSOP earnings: $62,625 Dan Kelly is one of just three players to have cashed 10 times so far at the 2016 WSOP along with Jason Mercier and Ryan LaPlante. Four of Kelly's cashes came in the last week. He finished 714th in the Monster Stack, 236th in the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em, 78th in the $5,000 Turbo and 114th in the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em event. He's averaging a cash every three days so far this summer. Paul 'paulgees81' Volpe2016 WSOP cashes: 6 2016 WSOP earnings: $253,682 With one bracelet already in the bag, Paul Volpe continues to lead the group of former PocketFives #1-ranked players in terms of money earned. He's now made $253,682 this summer - 29% of all the money earned by this group. In the last week he recorded two more cashes including a close call in the $10,000 Six Max Championship where Volpe finished 10th. That put another $49,677 into his total earnings. He followed that up with a 52nd place finish in the $5,000 Turbo for $9,566. Patrick 'pleno1' Leonard2016 WSOP cashes: 4 2016 WSOP earnings: $57,755 With just one cash in the first four weeks, Patrick Leonard wasn't having the best WSOP. That may have turned around in the last week as Leonard scored two five-figure scores. He finished 26th in the $10,000 Six Max Championship for $20,767 and then 14th in the $5,000 Turbo event for another $22,119. Steve 'gboro780' Gross2016 WSOP cashes: 6 2016 WSOP earnings: $57,830 After four cashes over the first four weeks, Steve Gross found two in the last week including his biggest of the summer. Gross finished 11th - one spot behind Volpe - in the $10,000 Six Max Championship for $38,268. He then made it through his first table in the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Shootout before busting for a 96th place finish and a $4,955 cash. Other NotablesWhile Fedor 'crownupguy' Holz has only cashed twice in WSOP events for a little over $26,000, he's done just fine away from the WSOP tables. Since May 27th he's cashed four times in high roller events, including the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl, for a total of $4,928,000. Kevin 'bel0wab0ve' Saul finally hit the scoreboard this past week, finishing 63rd in the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em event.
  18. Sunday at the 2016 World Series of Poker included a couple of players winning their first WSOP bracelets and a couple of brothers continuing to crush one of poker’s most prestigious events. Andrew ‘luckychewy’ Lichtenberger and Allan Le each won an event on Sunday while Michael and Robert Mizrachi are both in hot pursuit of $50,000 Poker Player Championship chip leader Justin Bonomo. Event #52: Andrew Lichtenberger Wins $3,000 No Limit Hold'em [caption width="640"] Andrew Lichtenberger now has a WSOP bracelet after winning the ,000 NLHE event (WSPO photo)[/caption] Andrew Lichtenberger credited a healthy lifestyle to helping him win his first WSOP bracelet Sunday in the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em event. Lichtenberger beat Craig Blight heads-up to win the bracelet and $569,158. “Nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and a positive attitude were all integral factors in my victory today,” Lichtenberger said. “Without adopting these choices, I wouldn’t be here. The human body is simple, but also very deep in its workings. To sit for so many hours and not nourish it, you’re going give yourself more difficulty when the crucial moments come. So, just by doing what I do, I was able to make good decisions that really mattered today.” Lichtenberger and Blight returned on Sunday to finish the event after being unable to get to a winner on Saturday night. Lichtenberger now has a WSOP bracelet to go along with his WSOP Circuit ring and Alpha8 title. “It feels amazing to win this,” Lichtenberger said. “I’ve been playing the World Series since 2009 and I’ve been watching it since I was a kid when I saw Chris Moneymaker win his.” Other notables to cash in this event include Jay Farber (15th - $25,485), James Akenhead (18th - $20,382), Pierre Neuville (19th - $16,536), John Hennigan (27th - $16,536), Tristan Wade (31st - $13,612), Kevin ‘BeL0WaB0Ve’ Saul (63rd - $8,304). Final Table Payouts Andrew Lichtenberger - $569,158 Craig Blight - $351,721 Chris Johnson - $249,336 Mac Sohrabi - $179,015 Linglin Zeng - $130,191 Erhan Iscan - $95,925 Thomas Miller - $71,617 Roger Teska - $54,190 Daniel Wagner - $41,563 Event #53: Allan Le Wins Inaugural Running of Omaha HI-Lo Trio [CAPTION=100%] One of the new events on the 2016 WSOP schedule was the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Trio – the game included Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and Big O Hi-Lo and nobody mastered the rotation of those three games better than Allan Le. He walked away with the first bracelet of his career and $189,223. Germany’s Phillipp Elrisch finished as runner-up, earning $116,915. The event also featured another 2016 WSOP final table appearance Gavin Smith. The Canadian poker pro came into Day 4 with the chip lead and eventually finished fourth for $54,889. Smith, who made the final table of the $1,500 Eight Game Mix earlier in the Series, hadn’t been at a WSOP final table since 2013. Other notables to cash in John Monnette (9th - $11431), Bart Hanson (14th - $8,850), Jason Somerville (26th - $5,639) and Ted Forrest (63rd - $2,663). Final Table Payouts Allan Le - $189,223 Philipp Eirisch - $116,915 Cody Crouch - $79,403 Gavin Smith - $54,889 Keith Ferrera - $38,634 Yuval Bronshtein - $27,696 David Bach - $20,229 Gary Bolden - $15,059 John Monnette - $11,431 Event #54: Just 12 Remain in $888 Crazy Eights Chase Johnson leads the final 12 players in pursuit of the $888,888 first place prize money and bracelet in the $888 buy-in Crazy Eights event. Johnson bagged up 4,405,000 to put himself just ahead of Michael Lech who finished with 4,250,000. 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event winner Dimitar Danchev sits fifth with 3,165,000. The only WSOP bracelet winner still in contention is Loni Harwood – she ended Day 2 with 2,060,000 and seems confident heading into the final day.2 fuckin million in the bag going to 80kbb tomorrow with 12 people left
  19. [caption width="640"] Shaun Deeb grabbed his second WSOP bracelet on Thursday in the ,500 Seven Card Stud event (WSOP photo)[/caption] Just two bracelets were awarded on Thursday at the 2016 World Series of Poker and for both winners it was there second time winning one. Shaun Deeb beat a stacked final table to win the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event just one year after winning his first bracelet. Kristen Bicknell, the 2013 Ladies Champion, won her second career bracelet by coming out on top of the $1,500 Bounty event. While Deeb and Bicknell were winning their second career bracelets, Jason Mercier was a man on mission trying to win his third bracelet of the summer. Mercier played three events simultaneously in an attempt to advance a stack in all three events. Deeb's first bracelet came last year when he won the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold'em Championhip. Final Table Payouts Shaun Deeb - $111,101 Adam Friedman - $68,666 Max Pescatori- $46,312 Katherine Fleck - $31,899 Eugene Katchalov - $22,448 Yaniv Birman - $16,147 John Monnette - $11,878 Cory Zeidman - $8,941 Event #50: Vanessa Selbst Highlights 12 Players Left in $1,500 Shootout Day 2 of the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Shootout event saw 120 players return to play 12 10-handed tables with the winner of each moving on to the final day. The group of 12 who won their tables to advance includes Sam Greenwood and Niall Farrell but the real headliner is Vanessa Selbst. The remaining 12 players will start play with two six-handed tables on Friday and play down to a winner beginning at Noon. Final 12 Chip Counts Safiya Umerova - 654,000 Damian Salas - 654,000 Sam Greenwood - 653,000 Niall Farrell - 651,000 Erkut Yilmaz - 651,000 Alexander Lakhov - 646,000 Daniel McAulay - 641,000 Daniel Tang - 640,000 Vanessa Selbst - 639,000 Michael Mixer - 635,000 Yuliyan Kolev - 631,000 Raymond Ho - 630,500 Event #51: Tommy Lee Leads $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship Day 2 of the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship saw just 28 players of the 159 who started the day move on to Day 3. Leading the pack is Tommy Lee with 2,100,000. He's the ony player to finish with more than 2,000,000. The group behind Le includes Brandon Shack-Harris (1,630,000), James 'Andy McLEOD' Obst (1,552,000), recent bracelet winner Loren Klein (760,000) and Max Silver (726,000). With the top 60 players all making the money in this event, there were 32 players eliminated on Thursday that managed to make a profit in the event including Erik Seidel ($15,113), Mike Matusow ($17,113), Taylor Paur ($17,113), Mike Watson ($18,925) and Jason Mercier ($18,925). The final 28 players return to play at 2 PM on Friday to play down to a winner or another 10 levels. Top 10 Chip Counts Tommy Le - 2,100,000 Brandon Shack-Harris - 1,630,000 James Obst - 1,552,000 Melad Marji - 1,300,000 Junayed Khan - 1,122,000 Travis Pearson - 1,108,000 Harley Stoffmaker - 1,050,000 Dominique Mosley - 817,000 Loren Klein - 760,000 Benjamin Reinhart - 739,000 Event #52: Erhan Iscan Leads $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Erhan Iscan has just one previous tournament cash to his credit - a 32nd place finish in a $120 buy-in tournament in 2009. On Thursday he took a gigantic step towards his second cash, this time with a much bigger payout available. Iscan leads after Day 1 of the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em event with 281,000. He is one of 286 survivors from Day 1 action. Former PocketFives #1-ranked player Jordan Young finished with 177,000, good enough for a top five stack. Just two days after finishing runner-up to Ankush Mandavia in the $5,000 Turbo, Daniel Strelitz finished with a top 10 stack, after amassing 163,600 on Day 1. The event drew 1,125 players to create a $3,071,250 prizepool with the eventual champion walking away with $569,158. Some of the other notables to move on to Day 2 include Kevin Saul, Jay Farber, Stephen Chidwick, Joe Cada, Bryn Kenney and 888poker pro Sofia Lovgren. This is the only event of the day that Mercier managed to advance in. He'll have his work cut out for him on Friday however as he bagged up just 21,800 chips - the 251st biggest stack. Top 10 Chip Counts Erhan Iscan - 281,800 Oliver Bosch - 201,600 Keith Lehr - 188,200 Jordan Young - 177,000 Michael Kane - 174,000 Dorian Rios - 167,700 Christopher Kruk - 164,500 Daniel Strelitz - 163,600 Ivan Freitez - 156,900 Roman Valerstein - 142,800 Event #53: John Monnette Leads $1,500 Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo After Day 1 One of the new events on the 2016 WSOP schedule this year, the $1,500 Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo event rotates between Omaha Hi-Lo, Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and Big O (five card Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo). To the surprise of few, a player that has vast experience playing all three variations of the game in Las Vegas cash games made his way to the top of the chip counts after Day 1. John Monnette, who has already cashed six times this summer, finished with 87,650 and the Day 1 chip lead. Right behind him is Yuval Bronshtein with 81,725. Former $50,000 Poker Players Championship winner David Bach sits third with 75,050. Other former braclet winners to advance to Day 2 include Michael Mizrachi, Eli Elezra, Mike Leah, Jason Somerville, Barry Greenstein, Allen Cunningham and Andrey Zaichenko. The event brought out 668 players with 207 moving on to Day 2. Top 10 Chip Counts John Monnette - 87,650 Yuval Bronshtein - 81,725 David Bach - 75,050 Cody Crouch - 74,400 Randy Schatz - 70,200 Michael Mizrachi - 67,325 Mark Johns - 65,050 Viliyan Petleshkov - 64,000 James Alexander - 63,100 Woody Deck - 61,325
  20. [caption width="640"] Jamie Gold is hoping to return piles of cash for his YouStake investors.[/caption] Ten years ago, before the reigning World Series of Poker Main Event champion was even out of high school, Jamie Gold entertained, confused and shocked the poker world by winning the largest WSOP Main Event in history. A record 8,773 entrants, along with Gold’s $12,000,000 purse for the victory, still stand as the biggest ever in Main Event history but over the last decade, the excitement of the win has never subsided. “It’s never the same but there are is always going to be new excitement,” he said, referencing he return to the game from a six year hiatus that started with a final table during last summer’s WSOP. Gold finished fifth in an over 2,100 player $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, something that proved to himself that he was back and something he predicted. “I planned on playing six events last year and predicted one final table for my backers, so that was the most satisfying.” he said, while also mentioning that his training leading up to last summer was similar to his preparation when he won poker’s biggest prize in 2006. “I was so focused on winning the Main Event, I trained for years with the best players in the world and was so lucky it happened on my first shot,” said Gold. Poker players may cringe when they hear the word “luck” but Gold knows just how fortunate he is and since his career defining and changing win, he’s tried to put the poker community and other’s first. If he hadn’t won, he wouldn’t have been able to take those six years away from poker and he wouldn’t have had, in his own words, “the platform to affect great change in the world through philanthropy.” “I’ve been able to experience the incredible joy of giving back with some of the most wonderful people on earth, including my family and friends. Together, we’re working for the greater good and for that I am continually fortunate,” said Gold. While his philanthropic efforts mainly extend outside the poker community, this summer, as an investor and ambassador of YouStake.com, Gold is hoping to give back to his backers. Gold believes that there is a need for a safe, secure and public marketplace where anyone from any country can be involved and knows that YouStake is that marketplace. As for his own game, he made sure that he was going to make his backer’s pieces count if he was going to put his name on a package. “I took a lot of time away from poker and three years ago, decided to retrain my game for a year before coming back and taking the last two as seriously as any business venture.” he said, while adding, “I would have high returns based on the number of events I played, not some skewed stats based solely on winnings.” So far, so good for those taking pieces of Gold, as he’s averaging six-to-one return on investment over the last two years. Gold is a serious investor away from poker and he’s made sure that he’s had a real track record before offering packages on YouStake. Gold isn’t only trying to change investing within the poker community but also the entertainment factor, something he knows a thing or two about. Whether it be putting Phralad Friedman’s brain in a pretzel during the 2006 Main Event or a nearly $750,000 pot on High Stakes Poker againstPatrik Antonius, Gold has always been one of the more colorful players on the felt. “I feel like poker has lost it’s excitement on TV,” Gold admits, while saying he’s been working on a few celebrity based poker shows for television to get content to the masses. Those shows are still in their infancy but that ‘excitement’ could come sooner, rather than later, if Gold is able to regain his Main Event form this summer. “It would be a blast,” Gold said in reference to another deep run in the Main Event run but in the end, he mostly wants to do it for the backers. His WSOP Main Event package sold out in less than a day, so Gold has also begun selling for the $5,000 Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza III Main Event and the $10,000 Bellagio Cup XII. Both of those events begin after the Main Event. As for how the poker world would feel about another episode of the ‘Jamie Gold Show’ deep in the Main Event, he’s not sure, saying, “I have no clue but I imagine it would make things a lot more interesting!” Interesting has never been a problem for Jamie Gold and over the next few weeks, he’s hoping to make it a very interesting end to the summer for his YouStake.com backers.
  21. [CAPTION=100%]The fourth week of the 2016 WSOP schedule keeps recreational players in mind.[/CAPTION] Week 3 of the 2016 World Series of Poker turned into the World Series of Jason Mercier, and the Week 4 schedule offers a few opportunities for that to continue while there's also a bit of a focus on smaller buy-in, bigger field events with two of the WSOP's famous "gimmick" events running between now and Saturday. Summer Solstice In 2015 the WSOP debuted a new event with 90-minute levels called "Extended Play". The $1,500 buy-in event attracted 1,914 with Adrian Apmann. For 2016 the WSOP has re-branded the event to take advantage of the first day of summer and are calling the event the Summer Solstice. The $1,500 buy-in event runs Monday - Friday and is the first of four events this week targeted towards the always popular "recreational players". The Monster Returns In 2014, fresh off the success of the Millionaire Maker in 2013, introduced another special version of a $1,500 No Limit Hold'em tournament, dubbed the "Monster Stack". While most $1,500 buy-in events have 7,500 starting stacks, the Monster Stack doubles that to 15,000 to give players extra value and wiggle room to play. In the first two years of the event's history it has attracted 7,862 (2014) and 8,192 (2015) players with each champion walking away with over $1.2 million each. The Six Max World Championship While amateurs might be packing the Rio's hallways for the Summer Solstice or Monster Stack, the best No Limit Hold'em players in the world will be playing in the $10,000 Six Max NLHE Championship event. Running Thursday - Saturday, the event usually attracts over 250 players including a number of players who cut their teeth online. Last year Byron Kaverman beat a final table that included Doug Polk, Sam Greenwood and former #1-ranked PocketFives player Paul Volpe to win his first bracelet and $657,351. Mixed Triple Draw Debuts The $2,500 buy-in Mixed Triple Draw event might be one of the strongest fields of the year relative to buy-in. Making its WSOP debut this year, the event rotates between three variations of Triple Draw: Ace to Five, Deuce to Seven and Badugi. All three games, which are popular in the some of the biggest cash games in Las Vegas, will be played with a Limit format. The three-day event goes Thursday until Saturday. Other Notable Events This Week The $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event finishes up on Tuesday. As of Monday morning Jason Mercier was still in the field, chasing what would be a fourth consecutive $10,000 buy-in event cash. Both the Seniors and Super Seniors events will crown their championship this week while on the opposite end of that spectrum, the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship runs next Saturday through Monday.
  22. [caption width="640"] Norm Michalek is the Colossus II chip leader heading into Day 2[/caption] When WSOP organizers announced that the $565 buy-in Colossus event that was such a huge success in 2015 would be back on the 2016 schedule, the expected to break their own record for largest live tournament ever held. To accommodate they added two more starting flights on a third starting day. Saturday saw the the final two Day 1 flights attracted big numbers, but not quite enough to top the size of last year’s field. Flight 1E brought in 4,855 players and Flight 1F brought in 4,487 to put the total field size at 21,613 - 761 players short of last year’s 22,374 players. The packed hallways at the Rio weren’t the only big news on Saturday though. After a five year absence from the WSOP, Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson made his return to the felt, playing in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship event. Ferguson, of course, was one of the key figures in the downfall of Full Tilt Poker and had stayed away from the WSOP since Black Friday. Hai Nguyen Climbs to Top of Largest Colossus II Starting Flight Saturday morning’s 10 AM start time for Colossus II didn’t deter anybody it seems from making their way to the Rio. A grand total of 4,855 players packed the tables and Hai Nguyen bagged the biggest stack with 397,000. Even with the largest starting flight of the six, the top 10 chip counts still include some well known players including David Vamplew, Austin Buchanon and Darren Rabinowitz. Other notables among the 219 players to finish Flight 1E with chips include Tyler Patterson (207,000), Asher Conniff (168,000), Jeff Gross (147,000), Billy Pappas (130,000) and Jamie Kerstetter (90,000). Greg Raymer, who had taken a shot in every starting flight of Colossus, finally found his way to the cashier cage after cashing in this flight. Ronnie Bardah and former WSOP Main Event runner up Martin Staszko also cashed. Flight 1E Top 10 Chip Counts Hai Nguyen - 397,000 Mark Babekov - 354,000 David Vamplew - 325,000 Clausing Johannes - 323,000 Austin Buchanan - 303,000 Darren Rabinowitz - 298,000 Michael Clark - 295,000 Andrea Buonocore - 257,000 Quan Zhou - 247,000 Errol Massey - 244,000 PocketFiver Norman ‘slystyle012’ Michalek Bags Biggest Opening Flight Stack As registration closed on Flight 1F all eyes were on the final number of 4,487 players. That put the total Colossus II field size at 21,613 and pushed the total prize pool to $10,806,500. From the 4,487 players emerged Norman ‘slystyle012’ Michalek. The PocketFives member bagged up 531,000 and not only leads the player from his starting flight, but also sits on top of the remaining 846 players still in the hunt. And former PocketFives writer and PokerNews Podcast co-host Rich Ryan bagged up 289,000 to sneak into the top ten. Ryan now works for the World Poker Tour. Other notables to advance to Day 2 include Joseph Cheong, Ralph Massey, Jack Salter and Melanie Weisner. Zo Karim, David Tuthill, Cate Hal, Eric Baldwin and Shannon Shorr were among the 3,833 Flight 1F casualties. The remaining 846 players will combine into one field on Sunday at 2 PM PT. Day 1F Top 10 Chip Counts Norman Michalek - 531,000 Ryan Hoberg - 439,000 Scott Tiedeman - 387,000 David Lopez - 348,000 Robert Gill - 340,000 Penh Lo - 323,000 Sandeep Pulusani - 295,000 Richard Ryan - 289,000 Christopher Renaudette - 272,000 Christopher Spillane - 272,000 Steve Weiss Leads $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship After Day 1 For many of the game’s top players, the WSOP doesn’t start until the first $10,000 buy-in event. That means Saturday was starting day for many of the biggest names in the game as the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship kicked off with 87 players vying for the bracelet. One of those players was none other than Chris Ferguson. The former Full Tilt Poker pro and executive failed to advance to Day 2. His Full Tilt co-hort Howard Lederer was not in the field. At the end of Day 1 it was Steve Weiss who finished on top. Weiss bagged up 301,500 to edge out Jean-Robert Belannde (282,500) and George Danzer (274,000). Only 33 players survived the 10 levels of play including Calvin Anderson, Stephen Chidwick, Jason Mercier, Mike Leah and Jaso m Somerville. Phil Hellmuth managed to bag one of the smallest stacks, finishing with just 65,000. Others weren’t so lucky. Daniel Negreanu, who skipped Colossus II entirely, failed to advance to Day 2 as did Brian Hastings, who won this event in 2015, did not enter the event and isn’t even in Las Vegas yet. Top 10 Chip Counts Steve Weiss - 301,500 Jean-Robert Bellande - 282,500 George Danzer - 274,000 Chad J Brown - 238,000 Rod Pardey - 215,000 Calvin Anderson - 209,000 Frank Kassela - 199,000 Matt Grapenthien - 178,500 Stephen Chidwick - 175,000 Jason Mercier- 154,000
  23. [caption width="680"] Robert Mizrachi hunts for his fourth WSOP bracelet in the Stud Championship.[/caption]The 2016 World Series of Poker wrapped up its opening weekend with the Colossus II and the $1,000 Top Up Turbo for the No Limit Hold’em crowd and the Seven Card Stud Championship and the $1,500 Dealers Choice for mixed game junkies. Two events reached the final the table – Stud and Turbo, while the Colussus II heads into Day 3 loaded with talent and the Dealers Choice event returns with the money bubble in mind. Ben Lindenmulder Bags Huge Lead in Colossus II Day 2 of Colossus II had 846 returning players from six starting flights, all of which were in the money, and after eight levels of action just 77 players bagged up for Day 3. Ben Lindemulder finished with nearly 2 million more than second-in-chips Richard Carr. Jeff Fielder, Eugene Fouksman, Amir Lehavot, David Gutfreund, David “ODB” Baker, Ylon Schwartz and Marco Johnson are among the notables that survived the day. Dan O’Brien made a money jump along with 845 other players that advanced for Day 2 and made a deep run into the money after finishing 108th in 2015. Justin Zaki, Craig Varnell, Michael Mizrachi and Harrison Gimbel all finished in the top 300 players. Top Ten Chip Counts Ben Lindemulder – 5,325,000 Richard Carr – 3,550,000 Vincent Moscati – 3,300,000 Farhad Davoudzadeh – 2,845,000 Daniel Dizenzo – 2,560,000 Ben Keeline – 2,540,000 Jonathan Borenstein – 2,460,000 Marek Ohnisko – 2,430,000 Alex Benjamen – 2,390,000 Steven Nichols – 2,240,000 Karl Held Holds Lead in Turbo Final Table The $1,000 Top Up Turbo drew 667 players for the two-day event and the blistering pace of the tournament left just nine players returning for Day 2. Karl Held holds the overnight lead with Hugo Perez just behind him. Hugo Perez, Kyle Julius and Vinny Pahuja look for the first bracelet of their careers while Ben Yu looks for number two after taking down the Limit Hold’em Championship in 2015. The top 101 players cashed in the event out of the $681,300 prize pool but they’re all guaranteed at least $9,506 for their efforts. The second player out locks up five figures but the winner walks with $142,972. Mohsin Charania bubbled the final table in 10th place, while Tim Finne, Micah Raskin and Andy Bloch also made deep runs to final three tables but did not advance. A little further back were Liv Boeree, Kevin Eyster, Jordan Cristos and Benjamin Zamani. Final Table Chip Counts Karl Held – 1,175,000 Hugo Perez – 1,065,000 Bart Lybaert – 810,000 Ben Yu – 760,00 Kyle Julius – 530,000 Nitis Udornpim – 435,000 Christian Blech – 315,000 Vinny Pahuja – 310,000 George Dolofan – 160,000 Robert Mizrachi Leads Seven Card Stud Championship Day 2 of the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship returned 33 players to fight for the 14 spots that pay. After ten levels of action they made the money, the official final table and finished with six players remaining. Robert Mizrachi sits comfortably in first, while 2015 WSOP Player of the Year winner George Danzer returns as the short stack. Accomplished vets Ted Forrest and David Benyamine return and the six players have 14 bracelets between them. Final Table Chip Counts Robert Mizrachi – 1,371,000 Matt Grapenthien – 1,157,000 Steve Weiss – 682,000 Ted Forrest – 447,000 David Benyamine – 363,000 George Danzer – 340,000 Dealers Choice Loaded with Bracelet Winners The Dealers Choice event proved to be a popular event with players since it was introduced in 2014 with 19 games available for players to choose from. The event drew 389 entrants who built a prize pool $525,150 to pay out the top 59 finishers. Former WSOP Ladies champ Svetlana Gromenkova bagged up the lead just shy of the 100,000-chip mark. British bracelet winner Richard Ashby sits in second, New York cash game player Jared Bleznick sits in seventh and the guy that quite literally wrote the book on poker, David Sklansky, also finished inside the top ten. Further down the counts are Sorel Mizzi, Jeff Madsen, Eli Elezra, Aditya Prasetyo and Paul Volpe. Former Team Full Tilt players Andy Bloch and Mike Matusow look for their second cash of the summer while Chris Ferguson looks for his first cash since 2010. Top Ten Chip Counts Svetlana Gromenkova – 99,600 Richard Ashby – 82,300 Yueqi Zhu – 81,000 Michael Banducci – 74,000 Joshua Mullins – 71,900 Bryce Yockey – 67,800 Jared Bleznick – 65,000 David Sklansky – 62,000 Justin Gardenhire – 60,300 Clayton Mozden – 58,900 Bargain Monday for the WSOP The first Monday of the 2016 WSOP is a rare day on the schedule where both events kicking off have the same buy-in. The early event is the first $1,500 NLHE event of the summer and the 3 pm event is the single re-entry No Limit Deuce to Seven Single Draw. In addition to the bracelet events, there is a $1,000 satellite to Tuesday’s $10,000 Heads Up Championship in the Pavilion.
  24. [caption width="640"] Don't bet against Phil Hellmuth winning WSOP Bracelet #15 this summer[/caption] The 2016 World Series of Poker gets cards in the air on Wednesday, July 1. Over the next five days PocketFives presents the 2016 WSOP Preview highlighting everything you need as the poker world heads to their own version of Summer Camp. With a record 69 bracelets on the line this year, the 2016 World Series of Poker could be one of the most grueling ever for players who play a busy schedule. That being said, there’s still going to be one or two or three players who rise to the occasion, find themselves on the heater of a lifetime and ride that to a bracelet (or two) and maybe even WSOP Player of the Year. We’ve picked out eight players that are worth watching this summer – some for their WSOP history, some for the promise they bring and some because we all hate them. We’ll let you decide who is who. Phil Hellmuth – 14 bracelets, $13,539,727 million in WSOP earnings The legend doesn’t let anyone forget that he has the most WSOP bracelets in history (14) and he’s always a safe bet to win another. Hellmuth plays tournaments sparingly outside of the WSOP so he will play almost every event he can, including of some of the lower buy-in No Limit Hold’em events that most of his peers skip. Phil Ivey – 10 bracelets, $6,447,630 million in WSOP earnings With the proper motivation and mindset, Phil Ivey may be the most feared player on the WSOP felt. He’s the most likely candidate to pass Hellmuth’s career bracelet record, but seemingly without six-figure side action driving Ivey he might not even show up. Such was the case in 2015 when he only played the One Drop High Roller and the Main Event because the richest cash games in the world were not in Vegas. 2014 was the last year Ivey put in a full schedule and scored his tenth bracelet and four cashes. Dzmitry Urbanovich – 0 bracelets, $0 in WSOP earnings Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Jeff Lisandro, Ted Forrest and Puggy Pearson – the only players in WSOP history to win three bracelets in a single year. But none of them did it their first WSOP and none won $4.1 million at 20 years-old. Dzmitry Urbanovich has $10,000 bet with 200-1 odds with Vanessa Selbst that he can do exactly that. Urbanovich is the first real 21 year-old rookie people have had their eyes on in many years, but the main difference is that he already is used to big stage in a live event with a couple of European Poker Tour wins and two runner-up finishes in Super High Roller events. Ari Engel – 0 bracelets, $695,157 in WSOP earnings Ari Engel hasn’t had a home in over two years, opting instead to live week-to-week travelling to different poker events. He’s won eight WSOP Circuit rings but he’s never won a bracelet despite 23 cashes in bracelet events. If Engel doesn’t win a bracelet soon, he may be remembered as this generation’s Tony Cousineau. Mike Leah – 1 bracelet, $1,410,735 in WSOP earnings Mike Leah’s WSOP resume is that of a grinders’ grinder. He has lived at the Rio the past couple summers in order to play the most events possible – sometimes three in a day. Though he only has one bracelet, he has 37 career cashes and cashed nine times in 2015 alone. He’s been a contender in multiple Player of the Year/Series titles, both live and online, can play all the games well and has the bankroll to play as many events as he can handle. Howard Lederer – 2 bracelets, $1,617,227 in WSOP earnings Perhaps the most hated person in poker, Howard Lederer is seemingly returning to WSOP action this summer. He has been seen here and there over the last couple years at poker events and rooms and recently released a public apology. If Lederer returns to play a number of events at the WSOP an incident-free summer seems highly unlikely. Daniel Negreanu – 6 WSOP bracelets, $16,172,789 in WSOP earnings The most recognizable poker player in the world and only two-time WSOP POY has said many times that he feels he should have more bracelets that he does. His most recent bracelet came during the 2013 WSOP Europe and he hasn’t won a bracelet in Las Vegas since 2008. Negreanu’s deep run in the 2015 Main Event has been eating at him for months and no one should be surprised if he takes home two bracelets this summer. Fedor Holz – 0 WSOP bracelets, $651,849 The German Wunderkind debuted at the WSOP in 2015, cashed four times, finished 3rd in the $10,000 Six Max Championship and finished in 25th place in the Main Event. His big game experience from Europe places him in rare air with a couple other young German players. Outside of the WSOP Holz won two big buy-in events – a High Roller in the Philippines and Alpha8 Bellagio – and final tabled two Super High Roller events at EPT Monte Carlo.
  25. [caption width="640"] William Kassouf is interviewed by ESPN's Kara Scott just moments after being eliminated from the 2016 WSOP Main Event by Griffin Benger.[/caption] “It’s going to be fucking famous,” said Griffin Benger, 2016 November Niner, former #1-ranked player on PocketFives, of the hand that saw him eliminate possibly the most talked about and maybe even most-disliked player of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, William Kassouf. To many of the poker fans who have been tuning in to the 2016 WSOP on ESPN broadcasts over the last several weeks, Benger is the hero. To others, he’s the heel. Kassouf was the focal point of coverage over the final four weeks of 2016 WSOP coverage on ESPN. Beginning with his one round penalty for taunting Stacy Matuson and continuing through to his endless table talk and needling before having an entire table turn on the one-time lawyer, Kassouf had drawn the ire of a good number of viewers at home while some found him an entertaining part of the broadcasts. All of that came to a head on Sunday night during ESPN’s final WSOP broadcast before the final table. THE HAND Down to just two tables remaining in the 2016 WSOP Main Event, Benger and Kassouf found themselves seated together at the feature table on the ESPN main stage inside the Amazon Room. From UTG Benger raised to 875,000. Action folded to Kassouf in the hijack and, as he was prone to doing on seemingly every hand he was in, he took his time with his decision before he re-raised to 2,300,000. Once action was back on Benger, Kassouf began the table chatter that helped make him one of the most unforgettable characters in WSOP Main Event history. Benger remained quiet, ignoring Kassouf and instead responded with another raise, this time making it 5,600,000. At this point Kassouf went into the tank and again, began talking. “It’s one of these coolers again, really? Back to back? If you got it, you got it, right? A big hand here. I don’t think I can pass. If you got me beat, you got me beat. It’s poker isn’t it?,” Kassouf said. “I can’t call; it’s either all in or I pass. What do you want me to do? You want me to go all in or fold? Talk to me. You don’t say anything, I might have to ship it here.” Kassouf continued, “Do you want to gamble? I’m not into that. I’m here to win it. I’m not laddering. Play for the win, right? You doing the same? Or you’re going to wait for the next pay jump at 15? $90K is $90K, right? That’s the Main Event for the next nine years.” At this point Jerry Wong called clock on the talkative British pro. This finally caused Benger to stir and speak for the first time in the hand. “You’re just an abusive person, man. It’s not funny. It’s not a game. You’re being abusive to me,” said Benger. “You’re being abusive. It’s called verbal abuse. What you’re doing to me is verbal abuse.” Kassouf, with action on him, attempted to defend himself, but Benger had heard and seen enough. “You’re a bully. It’s rude, it’s mean,” Benger said. “It’s not called speech play. It’s being called a bad person. You should really check yourself. Check your privilege.” Kassouf looked to the floor person for some assistance and again Benger stepped in. “He’s not your dad. He’s not going to help you. Stop, no one is going to help you,” Benger said. “The bet is 5.6 million chips. That is what the bet is.” This seemed to give Kassouf the information he needed and the talkative British pro moved all in for 13,450,000. Griffin snap-called and happily turned over his hand. Griffin: [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"] Kassouf: [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] The board ran out [poker card="th"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="6c"][poker card="td"]. Kassouf was eliminated in 17th place. Benger went on to make the November Nine. THE AFTERMATH The confrontation wasn't a long time coming as Griffin hadn’t played much with Kassouf prior to Day 7, but he had heard stories about his behavior at the table and his treatment of other players, most notably Matuson on Day 5. “I’d never played with him before. I’d heard peripherally and overheard some of the controversies towards the feature table about what he was doing it was just, it really sickened me,” said Benger. “The thing that made him so dangerous as far as what kind of person he was at least pretending to be, was that he’s someone that is really, really good at bullying. When he suddenly feels any bullying back, he creates this victim mentality kind of barrier where he’s just like, ‘Why are they freaking out? I’m just doing my table talk thing.” Benger may not have known that the hand was coming, but he was preparing for a bigger confrontation with Kassouf from the moment they were seated together. “I needled him at one point, when he first got to the table because I wanted to be combative. I felt really sort of like, there’s this expression that I always hear that I always like to say, ‘Demons run, when good men to go war’. That’s what I felt,” said Benger. “When I got to the table, I wasn’t going to let him run amok with his thing.“ “He was counting out chips, and then looking like he wanted to four-bet and he was taking his time over it, ‘I really have got a big hand here’ and everything. I was looking at the TD and said, ‘you know how many miles from here to Hollywood?’,” said Kassouf. “I knew he was Hollywooding, he’s not really going to four-bet me or come over the top. He’s only pretending that he has got a big hand, but he hasn’t. I know he’s going to four bet, I know he’s got a big hand. I’ve got a monster hand. I’m hoping he’s got ace-king or queens, one of the two.” Kassouf’s read was incorrect and Benger was more than thrilled to show his hand on poker’s biggest stage. “It felt really good (to turn the aces over). I don’t like this expression, I feel like it triggers a very vitriolic thing, but he got what was coming to him. I really feel that way, I genuinely do,” said Benger. “I really hope that’s not the way he lives his life normally, because he’s really fucking good at, pretending to be at least, a bad person and I sincerely hope that’s not the way that he lives his life. I’m sure he said ‘That’s not the way I normally am’ or whatever and that it’s his schtick, but it’s not okay.” Benger’s read on Kassouf apparently extends beyond the table as Kassouf, moments after busting, defended his actions not only in that hand, but also throughout the 2016 WSOP Main Event. “He kept on saying I was being abusive. I was just doing my standard speech play to get a read off him, to give off tells for myself that I was weak, that I only had jacks or queens which I want him to think I have,” said Kassouf. “ Benger realized his actions in the hand may have also shown a side of him that many aren’t used to seeing, one that might not make him any fans. “Yeah, my dark side came out a little bit. My friends call my dark side ‘Gator’. So they said Gator got out of the cage there, out of the swamp a little bit,” said Benger. “It’s not really something I like to do very often.” Benger also knew that this hand would be the highlight of the broadcasts and be something that poker fans and fellow players are talking about for a long time, even if, absent the table talk, the hands really just played themselves. “I think it might become the most famous World Series hand ever. Think of one that’s more famous? Connor (Drinan) running aces into aces? Shit happens. This one, with the context and the build up…,” said Benger. “I don’t think I outplayed him. I think he got coolered.” Kassouf left the Rio, knowing full well that the coverage of his play and this hand was going to be something that left the poker world talking and while he obviulsy would have loved a run into November, he was comfortable with the way it ended. “I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s the way I play. I play within the rules. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. I’ve been here pretty much ever year,” said Kassouf. “It’s my first cash in the WSOP, so I’ll take that. I’m the one who’s going home laughing, rather than all these other Americans. I say, ‘Well played. Thanks for coming to all the 6,720 out that have parted their way with $10,000. Thanks for that, to boost the prize pool’.”

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