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In the first moments after winning the $565 Casino Employees event at the 2019 World Series of Poker, 39-year-old Nicholas Haynes had a lot of things going through his mind. About 2.5 years ago, Haynes' dog passed away after a bout of cancer, so he brought his ID tag to the final table hoping it would bring him some good luck. So he was thinking about him. He was also thinking about the players he'd just beaten and some of the things he'd experienced during his playing days. Most notably though, Haynes was thinking about his job as a poker dealer in the ARIA Resort & Casino poker room. He had no intention of quitting after picking up $62,000 along with the bracelet, he was more focused on the pride he felt in helping ARIA accomplish something pretty special. "One of the things that really jumped out at me is the fact that an ARIA dealer has won two years in a row. The other dealer, they had a really long heads-up battle - I believe it was four hours - and ours was so short," Haynes said of Jordan Hufty's 2018 victory. "It's just amazing that where I work, ARIA dealers, we were able to take it down two years in a row. That's awesome." Haynes has been dealing at ARIA for a little over a year and a half after moving to Las Vegas from Michigan. He credits his time in the box at ARIA as having an impact on his abilities as a player. "There's a lot of incredible players there and I watch them and just pick up little bits here and there and over time you just become better, you sharpen your edges," said Haynes. "I feel like they were very instrumental in my play today and that's why I'm thankful for my job and the players there." Sean McCormack, Director of Poker Operations for ARIA, was beaming with pride after seeing another one of his charges see a lifelong dream of winning a WSOP bracelet come to fruition. "Nick's fantastic. He loves the game and obviously, a lot of these guys go over to play the Casino Employees event," McCormack said. "Anytime my guys ask 'Hey, can I get the day off to play the Employees event? We're like 'Yes!' This is a dream to win a World Series bracelet, spin it up into something. It's a dream of all of us." The ARIA hosts everything from low buy-in daily tournaments and cash games to high roller events and high stakes cash games and Haynes deals all of them. McCormack has seen the passion Haynes has for the game, not just dealing or playing, but in learning and improving every day. "Nick actually gets to deal in the (PokerGO) studio quite often, so he gets to deal to those players," McCormack said. "I've heard him say, 'I think I've picked up a couple of things.' So it's really cool to see him not only learn while he's dealing but be able to apply and go win something that we've all dreamed of doing." Haynes, who was supposed to deal WSOP events as well as his normal shifts at ARIA, has decided to forego dealing at the WSOP after winning a little more than $60,000. He has no intentions of quitting his job at ARIA though. "I would never call myself any kind of pro or anything like that. I play a lot in spurts. I travelled for a year and a half playing in major tournaments, but it turned out okay, nothing great. I've had a couple of cashes throughout the years, but nothing monstrous like this. This is the biggest cash for sure," Haynes said. Even with the bracelet and a little bit of notoriety that comes with winning one, Haynes doesn't expect anything to change when he gets back to work this week. Not even a little raise. "He might actually give me less. I don't know," Haynes joked about how McCormack might react when they see each other next. "I'm sure he'll shake my hand and we'll have a moment and talk but it will be work like usual."
The madness continued at the 2019 World Series of Poker on Friday as the second flight of the Big 50 brought out another massive field that impacted nearly every other event on the schedule. ARIA Dealers Go Back-to-Back in $565 Casino Employees Event Last year, Jordan Hufty, a dealer at the ARIA poker room, won the Casino Employees event. Friday afternoon on the ESPN main stage, Nicholas Haynes, another ARIA dealer, picked up his first bracelet and $62,248 for winning this year's Casino Employees event. Haynes, 39, believes being able to deal to some of the world's best players at ARIA has helped him develop as a player. "There’s a lot of incredible players (at ARIA) and I watch them and just pick up little bits here and there and over time you just become better," Haynes said. "I feel like they were very instrumental in my play today. That’s why I’m thankful for my job and the players there.” WSOP media relations manager Isaac Hanson finished as the runner-up and walked away with $38,447. Final Table Payouts Nicholas Haynes - $62,248 Isaac Hanson - $38,447 Jorge Ruiz - $26,642 Jesse Kertland - $18,758 Adam Lamers - $13,421 Jeffrey Fast - $9,761 Big 50 Day 1B Draws Capacity Field, Creates Chaos for Other Events Another 6,000+ players filled the tables at the Rio for Day 1B of the $500 Big 50 event. This puts the Big 50 on pace to surpass the 2015 Colossus event as the largest live poker tournament in history. In anticipation of having almost all tables in play, WSOP officials initially told Day 2A players on Thursday night that their restart, which was originally scheduled for 2 PM, was pushed back to 5 PM. On Friday, that restart was pushed back again and players didn't get cards in play until nearly 7 PM. To help thin the field in for Day 2B, players were made to play extra level on Friday night and will play one less on Saturday. There were so many players on Friday that WSOP officials were forced to put tables in an abandoned bowling alley in the casino portion of the Rio. The chaos that filled the Rio hallways on Friday reminded some players of another recent event that had great intentions in the planning but struggled with execution. Alexander Kartveli had no trouble with the big field though. He ended with the largest Day 1B stack, putting 892,000 in the bag when play wrapped up for the night. Brenton Rincker ended with the second biggest stack at 762,000. Some of the notables who bagged chips on Friday include Phil Hui (414,000), Chris Ferguson (345,000), Jake Schwartz (257,000), and Jamie Kerstetter (115,000). Top 10 Chip Counts Alexander Kartveli - 892,000 Brenton Rincker - 762,000 Michelle Porter - 703,000 Jordan Bane - 685,000 Michael Abratique - 660,000 Aaron Duczak - 625,000 Michael Anton - 622,000 Jesse Solano - 610,000 Patricia Altizer - 598,000 Azad Arazm - 597,000 Mikhail Vilkov Overcomes Chaos to Build Big 50 Day 2A Top Stack Once the 1,580 returning players were able to take their seats and play some cards, only three other players managed to surpass the 3,000,000 mark: Mikhail Vilkov (3,475,000), Joshua Thibodaux (3,215,000), and Amer Torbey (3,025,000). Some of the notables that managed to make Day 3 include Daniel Zack (1,700,000), Marvin Rettenmaier (1,365,000), Blake Bohn (1,265,000), John Racener (980,000), Matt Berkey (750,000). Those players will now to wait until Day 3 on Wednesday to resume. Top 10 Chip Counts Mikhail Vilkov - 3,475,000 Joshua Thibodaux - 3,215,000 Amer Torbey - 3,025,000 Justin Powell - 2,800,000 Yuliyan Kolev - 2,800,000 Bao Le - 2,600,000 Omer Mecica - 2,555,000 Anthony Marquez - 2,300,000 Amit Makhija - 2,275,000 Sarkis Karapetian - 2,200,000 Rick Fuller Leads Final 36 in $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo The decision by WSOP officials to make most $1,500 tournament four-day tournaments was front and center on Friday night as 36 players advanced to Day 2 in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event. Some players voiced concern that too many advancing late into Day 2 and Day 3 might not have the impact WSOP officials expected. Rick Fuller finished Day 2 with 474,000 and now finds himself in pole position heading into Day 3. Ben Yu, Mike Matusow, Andrey Zaichenko, Patrick Leonard, Shannon Shorr, Jeff Madsen, and John Monnette were among the notable names to advance to Day 3. Top 10 Chip Counts Rick Fuller - 474,000 Clifford Schinkoeth - 448,000 Tom McCormick - 400,000 John Esposito - 350,000 David Halpern - 349,000 Curtis Phelps - 314,000 Nathaniel Wachtel - 314,000 Ben Yu - 294,000 Danny Chang - 270,000 Zachary Hench - 270,000 Ali Imsirovic Rides Early Success to $50,000 High Roller Day 1 Chip Lead Ali Imsirovic already has a runner-up finish in this year's WSOP. Based on what he did Friday night, he has plans to improve on that finish soon. Imsirovic finished with the Day 1 chip lead in the $50,000 50th Annual WSOP High Roller after eliminating Ryan Laplante, Chance Kornuth, and Elio Fox in the first level of play. He finished the night with 1,549,000 from a 300,000 starting stack. Fox shook off the first bullet elimination, re-entered and ran his stack up to 1,185,000 to sit second heading into Day 2. Ben Heath is right behind him at 1,180,000. The opening day drew 92 entries and registration remains open until mid-way through Day 2. 52 players managed to survive Day 1 and the field is full of notable names. Daniel Negreanu finished with 861,000 for the 12th biggest stack. Other players that will be back battling on Day 2 include Nick Petrangelo, Adrian Mateos, Bryn Kenney, Isaac Haxton, and Erik Seidel. Top 10 Chip Counts Ali Imsirovic - 1,549,000 Elio Fox - 1,185,000 Ben Heath - 1,180,000 Barry Hutter - 1,081,000 Sean Williams - 1,060,000 Dmitry Yurasov - 1,000,000 Chance Kornuth - 999,000 Justin Bonomo - 947,000 Tobias Ziegler - 936,000 Manig Loeser - 912,000