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  1. One of the largest tournaments in the history of the World Series of Poker began on Thursday, as a $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Monster Stack drew 7,862 entrants. Two flights occurred during the day, the first attracting 4,020 players, the most the Rio could handle at one time. The second flight drew nearly the same number of bodies, meaning first place will take home $1.3 million, nearly 900 times the buy-in. --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Play Real Gaming, real money poker on any device. Play now for Final Table Freerolls. Skip straight to the final table and win cash daily. --- A total of 1,941 players from Flight A of the Monster Stack moved onto Day 2 on Friday, which begins at 3:00pm local time. It's unclear how many players from Flight B advanced, but players were looking at the tournament as a potential tune-up for the Main Event, which starts next week. Take Jeff Gross, for example, who Tweeted, "Up over 30K in #wsop51 monster stack tourney... Started at 11pm tonight, this feels like a good warm-up for the Main!" A field of 7,862 is the third largest tournament in WSOP history, trailing the 2006 Main Event, which had 8,773 players, and this year's Millionaire Maker, which had a field of 7,977. Prior to this year's WSOP, the largest non-Main Event tournament in WSOP history was last year's Millionaire Maker, which had 6,352 players. To give you a little taste of the mayhem that was the second flight of the day, coverage on WSOP.com noted, "The 5pm second flight quickly filled up and some of the 'Day 1b first wave' registrants had to wait nearly three hours before they were seated for play. Four more 'waves' for seating players were planned, but ultimately the large majority seemed to have to wait until the start of level six to be able to play some poker." Registration closed just before 11:00pm local time. PocketFivers were Tweeting about the tournament, several of whom started quite late, but still managed to move on to Day 2. Falling under that banner was Randy nanonokoLew, who Tweeted, "Only played for 4 hours today, but made Day 2 of the Monster stack! Got 28,300." Revealing his experience of reaching Day 2 was former skateboarder Darryll DFish Fish, who Tweeted, "Bagging 21k after a day of mostly folding in the #monsterstack." Two-time bracelet winner John Monnette is the chip leader in the Monster Stack event after Day 1 with 152,000. Incredibly, two former #1 ranked playerson PocketFives cracked the top 10 of the large-field tournament: Jordan Jymaster0011Young and Griffin Flush_Entity Benger (pictured), who bagged the sixth and tenth largest chip stacks on Thursday, respectively. Here are the top 10 stacks, according to WSOP.com: 1. John Monnette - 152,000 2. Alexander Ziski - 139,800 3. Matt Weber - 136,300 4. Jonathan Luckett - 110,800 5. Javier Ofbravetight Swett - 109,600 6. Jordan Jymaster0011Young - 105,000 7. Zachary HustlerGrune Gruneberg - 104,500 8. Gabe Paul - 96,600 9. Jamie mmmWawa Kerstetter - 88,800 10. Griffin Flush_Entity Benger - 87,700 Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP news, sponsored by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. 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.
  3. The 2016 World Series of Poker could have sold some expensive seats in the Amazon Room as the final table of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship crowned a repeat champ, though not the one many expected. The $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller Day 1 field watching the final table while the rest of the Rio was partying it up in the $1,000 Tag Team event. Brian Rast Wins $50,000 Poker Players Championship for 2nd Time, 3rd Bracelet [caption width="640"] Brian Rast became the second person to win the Chip Reese Trophy twice.[/caption]Brian Rast believed in himself, put his money where his mind was – booking additional action on himself – and entered the final table middle of the pack in chips. Rast got short as Justin Bonomo looked to have all the momentum in the world, played his way back to even and won his second PPC bracelet in a blockbuster hand. Rast pushed his WSOP earnings past $5.5 million at a final table that featured a Mixed Game format. “I ran good but this gives me a little validation,” he said. “I felt a little slighted by some the lines against me and took more action on myself, so it’s nice to get to punish too.” “This says I know how to play Limit and I can play all the games,” he added. “The first (PPC win) was my first major win and the rush that went with that I’ll never top in my poker career.” “There were a lot of crazy ICM situations at the final table,” Rast said. “I was short and had to pick spots and ladder up. I started making a run at three-handed.” The final hand came during a round of No Limit Hold’em and around ten big blinds separated Bonomo and Rast. Bonomo opened, Rast called and the flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="td"][poker card="5c"]. Rast check-called 350,000, the turn came [poker card="ac"] and Rast checked again. Bonomo bet 2,200,000, Rast called after some thought and the river came [poker card="ks"]. Rast checked a third time, Bonomo moved all in and Rast called after re-checking his hole cards. Bonomo turned up [poker card="qc"][poker card="js"] for Broadway but Brian Rast tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="ts"] for the full house. Bonomo threw his hands in the air with a heavy breath and Rast became the second player to win the event twice. Final Table Payouts Brian Rast - $1,296,097 Justin Bonomo - $801,048 Eric Wasserson - $545,772 Michael Mizrachi - $380,942 Wil Wilkinson – $272,558 Ray Dekharghani - $200,027 Marius Gierse Leads 47 Players to Day 3 in $5,000 No Limit Event Day 2 of the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event began with 359 survivors playing for the 130 spots that made the money. A full ten levels later 47 players remain and Marius Gierse holds an average stack-lead over second place Jordan Knackstedt. Ismael Bojang, Byron Kavorman and Fedor Holz return with healthy stacks while Andy Hwang, Isaac Baron and Chris Hunichen will have a steeper hill to climb on Thursday. Zvi Stern, Tom Marchese, Tom Middleton, David Vamplew and former Main Event champs Ryan Riess and Martin Jacobson all made deep runs in the 863 entrant field. Day 3 has cards in the air at noon and the field will play down to a final table before bagging and tagging. They’ll return for a final table on the ESPN Feature Table stage and play for $800,586 and the bracelet. Top Ten Chip Counts Marius Gierse – 1,496,000 Jordan Knackstedt – 1,013,000 Yue Du – 902,000 Kane Kalas – 863,000 Matt O’Donnell – 853,000 Dominik Nitsche – 734,000 Javier Gomez – 687,000 Upsheka De Silva – 661,000 Justin Adams – 650,000 Georges Georgiou – 646,000 John Monnette Looking for Fifth Final Table of Summer in $1,500 Stud Hi-Lo The final Stud event of the 2016 WSOP drew 521 entries, brought 124 of them to Day 2 and full day of action left 14 players remaining with John Monnette looking for his 5th final table of the summer. A loaded field features Jameson Painter, Calvin Anderson, Bryan Devonshire, Michael Ross and Brandon Shack-Harris. Phillip Hui, Paul Sokoloff and Jimmy Fricke all made deep runs but fell short of Day 3. Daniel Negreanu, Chris Klodnicki, Ben Yu and Mike Leah min-cashed in the event. Play resumes at 2 PM and though the pace of Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo is deliberate, they should crown a winner by day’s end. Top Ten Chip Counts David Prociak – 701,000 John Monnette – 420,000 Al Barbieri – 382,000 Jameson Painter – 379,000 Gaurav Kalro – 375,000 Calvin Anderson – 347,000 Bryan Devonshire – 243,000 Michael Ross – 214,000 Phillip Penn – 184,000 Louis Russo – 163,000 First $1,000 Tag Team No Limit Hold’em Event Draws 836 Teams Team events are not new to the WSOP, Doyle Brunson won a Mixed Doubles event bracelet, but the Tag Team format is new. A player had to register as captain and each teammate had to play at least one round of blinds before the end of registration to be considered official. The event drew 836 teams and 130 remain but it’s anyone’s guess as to how many players are actually still in the event. A team captained by Vladimir Geshkenbein leads the field with 100,000 but those captained by Mike Leah and Alex Bolotin also landed in the top ten. Andy Philachack, Huy Nguyen, James Dempsey, Ben Yu, Cory Waaland, Conor Drinan. Leo Wolpert and Doug Polk all advanced to Day 2. Brian Rast won $1.3 million in the PPC and recorded a cash in the Tag Team event as part of a team with Jeff Gross and Antonio Esfandiari. Each teammate will receive a cash in the event for the amount divided evenly among all members regardless of time played. The field generated a $776,700 prize pool, five-figure payouts start at the final table and the winning team earns $153,358. Top Ten Chip Counts (Team Captain listed) Vladimir Geshkenbein – 100,000 Nick Yunis – 98,300 Mike Leah – 91,400 Nicolas Fischer – 82,700 Alex Bolotin – 81,500 Akash Malik – 79,200 Chris Lindh – 78,100 DNR – 74,400 Matthew Leecy – 68,500 Jeremy Joseph – 65,300 Michael Huntress Tops Elite Field in $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller The $25,000 High Roller event always draws players we're not used to seeing at the WSOP and this summer the event is Eight Max Pot Limit Omaha. It drew 163 entrants and 95 players advanced, but registration remains open until the start of Day 2. Michael Huntress is the first of three huge stacks with Ludovic Geilich and Cary Katz also sitting comfortably. Dan Shak, Josh Pollock and Ryan D’Angelo all bagged up top ten stacks with Paul Volpe, Galen Hall, Max Silver, Christian Harder and Dan Smith all ending with above average stacks. George Danzer, Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Joey Ingram and Scott Seiver return with short stacks. The prize pool swelled to over $3.8 million but will most likely go up with a few stragglers deciding to join the field late. Isaac Haxton, Mohsin Charania, Talal Shakerchi, Mike Gorodinsky, Anthony Zinno, Phil Galfond, Ben Lamb and Scott Clements are among the players eliminated on Day 1. Top Ten Chip Counts Michael Huntress – 685,000 Ludovic Geilich – 663,000 Cary Katz – 576,500 Joshua Ladines – 452,000 Dan Shak – 450,500 Josh Pollock – 396,000 Arie Miller – 388,000 Dmitry Savelyev – 386,500 Sean Winter – 383,500 Ryan D’Angelo – 369,000 Main Event Madness Creeping Up The Rio’s hallways come to bursting point as the Main Event draws near and the crowds will love Thursday’s schedule of $1,000 No Limit Hold’em at 11 AM PT and the $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event in the afternoon.
  4. [caption width="640"] Tyler Smith topped the biggest Pot Limit Omaha field ever to win his first WSOP bracelet (WSOP photo)[/caption] The second weekend of the 2017 World Series of Poker has come to an end, so while you sip your Monday morning coffee and prepare yourself for another week, why not catch up on all of Sunday’s action from the Rio? Tyler Smith wins first bracelet in largest ever live Pot Limit Omaha event Last year’s $565 PLO tournament attracted a staggering 2,479 entries. Pot Limit Omaha might be the ‘great game’ to some, but to many it’s still unexplored water. How refreshing, then, to see that this year’s $565 PLO (Event #18) shattered last year’s turnout, bringing 3,186 runners into the Rio, and creating the largest ever live PLO tournament. Late Sunday night, when all was said and done, just one man remained with the chips, the cash, and his first gold bracelet: Tyler Smith, now $244,344 richer. Smith battled his way through an international final table line-up, featuring Americans, Canadians, Russians, Czechs, and Belgians. And when Smith got heads-up with fellow American Jason Stockfish, it took him just one hand to get the job done. With a roughly 13:1 chip advantage, Smith opened to 600,000 before calling Stockfish’s all-in with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"][poker card="8s"][poker card="7s"]. Stockfish held the [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"][poker card="8d"][poker card="5h"], but after a [poker card="jh"][poker card="6h"][poker card="4h"][poker card="js"][poker card="2s"] runout, Smith’s ace-queen held up to take it down. ”It feels amazing," said Smith. "You know, when you enter these things and there are so many people, it's a minefield, but they seem unwinnable to an extent. So, kind of every level that you go and you make it a little bit further. It's like a surreal experience.” Primarily a cash game player, Smith added that his experience with the roller coaster ride of PLO helped him remain in the right frame of mind. "I guess I've just played so much PLO that I'm used to it,” he said. "I don't really play no-limit [hold'em] at all anymore. I'm pretty much exclusively a PLO guy. I guess you just expect it. You just understand that that is part of the landscape and that is the nature of the game. Whatever happens, just kind of happens." Final table payouts: Tyler Smith - $244,344 Jason Stockfish - $138,655 Igor Sharaskin - $102,045 Scott Davies - $75,699 Marek Ohnisko - $56,607 Jessie Bryant - $42,673 John Dallaire - $32,432 Ryan Wince - $24,852 Yves Kupfermunz - $19,201 Ten remain for $1,500 8-Game Mix 6-Handed Finale (Event #21) Monday sees ten players return to the Rio to battle it out for the $1,500 8-Game Mix 6-Handed bracelet. Among them are a couple of well-known Frenchman, and a guy whose closest WSOP run was ended by another well-known Frenchman. Gregory Jamison is the chipleader coming into the finale, having eliminated two players in a monster pot at the business end of Day 2 Sunday. Back in 2008 he finished runner-up to David Benyamine in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, so he’ll be hoping to go one better than that today. However, he’ll have to fight his way through two more formidable Frenchman, what with Fabrice Soulier and Alex ‘alexonmoon’ Luneau still in contention, sitting fifth and seventh in chips respectively. Soulier is aiming for his second WSOP bracelet, while anyone who saw Luneau in the excellent documentary ‘Nosebleed’ knows that winning one means a lot to him. He’s still seeking his first victory. The same can’t be said for Christopher Vitch, who’s also still alive in this one. Vitch took down his first bracelet at the 2016 WSOP in the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) (Event #40). Final Day chip counts: Gregory Jamison - 714,500 Ron Ware - 511,000 Sachin Bhargava - 470,000 Ryan Himes - 410,000 Fabrice Soulier - 346,000 Christopher Sensoli - 345,000 Alexandre Luneau - 310,500 Georgii Belianin - 168,000 Christopher Vitch - 148,000 Michael Ross - 118,500 Millionaire Maker Day 1B concludes One of the more exciting lower-buy-in events on the WSOP schedule is the $1,500 Millionaire Maker. While Day 1A took place on Saturday, Sunday saw 4,323 hopefuls take their seats on Day 1B, making a total field of 7,761. After a full day’s play, just 678 remained. The man who bagged the most yesterday was Brian Altman (227,800), followed by Billy Graybeal(209,200), Scott Skirba (207,500), Adam White (182,000), David Peters(173,200), Dustin Fox (168,600), and Kenny Hallaert (148,500). Just a few of the notable names who will return for Day 2 today include recent bracelet winners David Pham(68,500) and John Racener (32,100), plus Antonio Esfandiari (73,900), Joe Elpayaa (91,800), Dan O’Brien (65,300), Ravi Raghavan (108,000), Tristan Wade(19,400), Darryll Fish(63,600), Jeff Gross (9,000), Dutch Boyd(68,500), Johanssy Joseph (62,000), Matt Waxman (46,600), and Jake Bazeley (108,600). The 1,187 remaining players will be back to work at 11am Monday, with only 1,165 making the money. That means it’ll be bubble time almost from the get go. a min-cash is worth $2,249, but nobody wants just that; not when there’s $1,221,407 and a gold WSOP bracelet for the winner. A who’s who come out for the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship Sometimes referred to as the ‘Nick Schulman Invitational’, due to the fact that Schulman has won this event twice, the$10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship (Event #22) brought out all of the big guns, each allowed one re-entry. Ten one-hour levels saw 67 unique entries and 25 re-entries whittled down to 30 survivors, with Jon ‘Pearljammer’ Turner (367,300) and Mike Leah (361,500) leading the bunch. Other big stacks at the end of play include John Monnette (265,400), Robert Mizrachi(255,000), Shaun Deeb (230,700),Phil Galfond(223,100), Mike Watson (218,600) and Mike Gorodinsky (109,000). Schulman himself is also doing nicely, bagging up 186,000, good for ninth right now. Recent bracelet winner Jesse Martin also had a nice day (105,900), while all-round beast Paul Volpe also survived (97,700). It was not a good tournament for others though. Both Jason Mercier and Phil Hellmuth fired two bullets and won’t be returning, while Chris Klodnicki, Eric Wasserson Stephen Chidwick, Felipe Ramos, Richard Ashby, Jennifer Harman, Ben Tollerene, and Benny Glaser all tried their luck to no avail. Just fourteen players will make the money, and there’s $256,610 up top. The final 30 will play down to a final table today. Top 10 chip counts: Jon Turner - 367,300 Mike Leah - 361,500 John Monnette - 265,400 Robert Mizrachi - 255,000 Shaun Deeb - 230,700 Xavier Kyablue - 228,800 Phil Galfond - 223,100 Mike Watson - 218,600 Nick Schulman - 186,000 Darren Elias - 179,400
  5. [caption width="640"] John Monnette now has three WSOP bracelets after taking down the K No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship. (WSOP photo)[/caption] Through the first 20 events or so at the 2017 World Series of Poker, one of emerging themes is the number of bracelets being won by players who already have won from a previous year. That trend continued on Wednesday with John Monnette winning his third career bracelet. That was the only bracelet awarded on Tuesday, but there were five other events on the schedule. Ralph Perry Leading Millionaire Maker into Final Day Just 136 of the 7,761 entries in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker unbagged chips on Monday afternoon and after another 10 levels of play, just 14 were putting chips back in the bag. Leading the way is Ralph Perry with 7,765,000, but his lead over the second biggest stack isn't huge. Daniel Chan finished with 7,585,000. Senovio Ramirez III, who started the day with the chip lead, managed to survive and will begin Day 4 with the third shortest stack at 3,520,000. 2016 November Niner Kenny Hallaert finished 17th for $53,962. Other notable players to bust on Tuesday included Jessica Dawley (30th - $34,718), Matt Affleck (31st - $34,718), Joe Cada (42nd - $28,160), Brian Rast (75th - $13,147) and Jonathan Karamalikis (78th - $13,147). Action resumes at 11 AM PT on Wednesday and will play down to a winner. Top 10 Chip Counts Ralph Perry - 7,765,000 Daniel Chan - 7,585,000 Bryce Yockey - 6,315,000 Yuriy Boyko - 5,300,000 Alexander Farahi - 5,295,000 Jonathan Gray - 5,160,000 Chen Yu Hung - 4,550,000 Senovio Ramirez III - 3,520,000 Hector Martin Merced - 2,910,000 Dejuante Alexander - 2,440,000 John Monnette Adds Third Bracelet with $10K Deuce Victory The $10,000 Championship events always draw out the best players in the world and the No Limit Deuce to Seven event always seems to have the cream rise to the top. That was the case on Tuesday as John Monnette beat out a final table that included Paul Volpe, Mike Leah, Mike Gorodinsky and Darren Elias. Monnette beat Per Hildebrand heads-up to win the bracelet, his third, and $256,610. "I had some good hands," said Monnette. "Those were some really tough players -- Paul (Volpe), who won this event last year. And Darren (Elias), on my left, who is excellent at this game." Volpe finished eighth for $24,408 for his fourth cash in five years in this event. During that span he's finished eighth (2013), first (2014) abd 12th (2015). Monnette's previous bracelets came in Seven Card Stud (2012) and Eight Game Mix (2011). Final Table Payouts John Monnette - $256,610 Per Hildebrand - $158,596 Darren Elias - $110,944 Xavier Kyablue - $79,016 James Chen - $57,316 Mike Gorodinsky - $42,357 Mike Leah - $31,903 Paul Volpe - $24,498 Maurice Hawkins Running Away with Marathon Chip Lead We've chronicled Maurice Hawkins' start to his 2017 WSOP and while he hasn't managed to post a big score, and even expressed concern about being bored, he did admit he was looking forward to the Marathon the most. "That's like my Main Event," said Hawkins. And he showed it on Tuesday, finishing Day 2 of the five day tournament with 920,000 - more than 300,000 more than any other player. The rest of the field is no joke though. Alexander Lynskey sits second with 618,000, just ahead of three-time bracelet winner Adrian Mateos with 599,500. Just 268 players remain with the plan to play seven 100-minute levels on Wednesday. Top 10 Chip Counts Maurice Hawkins - 920,000 Alexander Lynskey - 618,000 Adrian Mateos - 599,500 Matthew Parry - 586,000 Maxim Sorokin - 553,500 Rigoberto Rodriguez - 532,500 Michael Kane - 515,000 Eric Baldwin - 492,500 Sampath De Silva - 478,500 Thomas Lutz - 457,000 Nancy Nguyen Leads Final 15 in $1,500 Limit Hold'em Nancy Nguyen finished Day 2 of the $1,500 Limit Hold'em with the chip lead and just 14 players standing between her and her first WSOP bracelet. Mark Bassaly sits second with 461,000 and Ray Henson, also looking for his first bracelet, is third with 373,000. Michael Reed, who began the day as chip leader, sits fourth with 364,000. Of the 117 players eliminated on Day 2 were Andrey Zaichenko (91st - $2,246), Jesse Martin (82nd - $2,285), Justin Bonomo (79th - $2,381), John Racener (66th - $2,547) and Alex Luneau (48th - $3,080). Nancy Nguyen - 574,000 Mark Bassaly - 461,000 Ray Henson - 373,000 Michael Reed - 364,000 Shane Buchwald - 343,000 Shane Fumerton - 341,000 Hod Berman - 337,000 Barry Greenstein - 316,000 Ray Pulford - 297,000 Venkata Tayi - 287,000 $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha Down to 102 The $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha event kicked off Tuesday afternoon with 1,058 players entering. Leading the way after Day 1 is Casey Carroll with 210,800. Michael Mizrachi also bagged up a top three stack, finishing with 153,800. Day 2 begins at Noon PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Casey Carroll - 210,800 Jia Mai - 168,000 Jesse Fulmer - 164,700 Michael Mizrachi - 153,800 Yashuo Chin - 146,200 Jesse Chinni - 140,200 Allan Le - 138,000 Alexandre Fradin - 128,900 Igor Sharaskin - 118,600 Andrew Lukovsky - 116,500 Frank Kassela Chasing Second '17 Bracelet in $10K Razz Championship Frank Kassela has already won a bracelet this year, and on Tuesday he put himself in position to win another one. Kassela finsihed Day 1 of the $10,000 Razz Championship with 364,500, good enough for the chip lead. Don Zewin finished with the second biggest stack, 303,000 while Anthony Zinno finished third with 254,000. James Obst, who has cashed four times already, also finished with a top five stack. The event drew 97 players - three fewer than last year - with 44 making it through the day. Other notables still in contention include Mike Watson, Scott Clements, Nick Schulman, Mike Leah, Brandon Shack-Harris and Mike Gorodinsky. Top 10 Chip Counts Frank Kassela - 364,500 Don Zewin - 303,000 Anthony Zinno - 254,000 Andrey Zhigalov - 241,000 Konstantin Maslak - 216,500 James Obst - 210,000 Russell Clayton - 200,000 Mike Watson - 190,000 Viacheslav Zhukov - 187,500 Jared Talarico - 185,000
  6. [caption width="640"] Ron Ware captured the first WSOP bracelet of his career on Monday night in the ,500 Eight Game (WSOP photo)[/caption] There was just one bracelet awarded Monday at the 2017 World Series of Poker as a mixed game grinder who got oh-so-close to winning one last year, finally got his hands on poker's most desired piece of jewelry. That might have been the only bracelet handed out, but there was plenty of other action including the start of the Marathon event and a pre-WSOP Player of the Year pick taking the chip lead to a $10K final table. Just 136 Left Chasing the Milly Monday saw 1,187 Day 1A and 1B survivors combine into one field in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker and through 10 levels of play Senovio Ramirez III sits on top of the final 136 players. Ramirez, who finished third in the Little One for one Drop in 2015, ended the day with 1,570,000. Nine of the top 10 stacks are in seven-figure territory when the average stack is just 428,000. Joe Cada, Kenny Hallaert, Bertrand Grospellier, Jason Strasser, Brian Rast, Jonathan Karamalikis and Bryan Piccioli all managed to bag chips on Day 2. A number of notables were among the 1,029 players who got through the bubble on Monday, but ultimately didn't survive. Frank Kassela (142nd - $8,054), Barry Hutter (187th - $6,948), David Peters (212th - $6,948), Upeshka De Silva (224th - $6,948), Tim West (250th - $6,043), Kevin Saul (312th - $5,298), Yevgeniy Timoshenko (821st - $2,659), Chris Moorman (834th - $2,659), John Racener (880th - $2,493), Martin Jacobson (954th - $2,493), and Jason Koon (960th - $2,493). Action resumes at 11 AM PT on Tuesday. Top 10 Chip Counts Senovio Ramirez III - 1,570,000 Lucas Blanco - 1,339,000 Daniel Lee - 1,196,000 Scott Baumstein - 1,187,000 Michael Falcon Ravn - 1,135,000 Brian Altman - 1,112,000 Victor Wan - 1,101,100 Brayden Gazlay - 1,101,000 Yervand Boyadjian - 1,023,000 Harsukhpaul Sangha - 980,000 Ron Ware Rides Good Fortune To Eight Game Mix Win Tuesday morning Ron Ware woke up with a chance to win his first bracelet in the same event he finished third in last year. Ware started the day second in chips in the $1,500 Eight Game Mix and navigated his way through the final 10 players to win $145,577 and the first bracelet of his career. The night before his win, a fortune cookie promised him good things. Michael Ross finished second for $89,948 - also a career high. For Ware, the key to bettering his third place finish was patience. "It's a slow grind. You've got to be patient and just wait for chips," said Ware."I still stayed out of trouble and I still waited for good hands." Final Table Payouts Ron Ware, $145,577 Michael Ross, $89,948 Fabrice Soulier, $58,968 Sachin Barghava, $39,945 Chris Vitch, $27,142 Ryan Himes, $19,077 John Monnette Leads $10K No Limit Deuce to Seven Final Table When Day 2 of the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven event started there were 30 players still in contention for the bracelet. Through 10 levels of play on Monday only eight players remain with John Monnette, who was one of three players chosen by PocketFives writers to win WSOP POY, on top. Monnette, who has final tabled this event before, ended the day with 1,051,000 and a sizable lead over the rest of the field. The second biggest stack belongs to Darren Elias with 637,000. The shortest stack belongs to former #1-ranked PocketFiver Paul Volpe with 315,000. Six players managed to cash but not advance to Day 3 including Robert Mizrachi, Shaun Deeb, Mike Watson and Jon Turner. Day 3 begins at 3 PM PT. Final Table Chip Counts John Monnette - 1,051,000 Darren Elias - 637,500 Mike Leah - 618,500 Mike Gorodinsky - 591,000 Xavier Kyablue - 484,500 Per Hildebrand - 474,500 James Chen - 428,000 Paul Volpe - 315,000 Igor Yaroshevskyy in front of Marathon After Day 1 Longer levels and a bigger starting stack were enough to draw out 1,647 players to play in the $2,620 Marathon event. A little less than half survived the first day with Igor Yaroshevskyy bagging up the biggest stack. Yaroshevskyy finished with 292,000, just ahead of Rigoberto Rodriguez (283,600) and Maurice Hawkins (263,000). Registration remains open until the start of Day 2 which begins at Noon PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Igor Yaroshevskyy - 292,600 Rigoberto Rodriguez - 283,600 Maurice Hawkins - 263,000 Bill Germanis - 214,200 Saurabh Patel - 213,000 Matthew Parry - 187,300 David Gonia - 179,400 Dietrich Fast - 170,400 Rubem Mourao - 166,600 Troy Southerland - 165,600 Michael Reed Leads $1,500 Limit Hold'em After Day 1 Michael Reed is one of two players to finish Day 1 of the $1,500 Limit Hold'em event with more than 100,000 in chips. Reed finished with 111,600 and Jeff Thompson finished with 108,700. They are just two of the 132 players to make it through Day 1 from a starting field of 616. Some of the notables still in the field include Ray Henson, Barry Greenstein, Alex Luneau, Terrence Chan, Justin Bonomo, and John Racener. Day 2 begins at 2 PM PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Michael Reed - 111,600 Jeff Thompson - 108,700 Jeff Norman - 93,100 Harun Sapmaz - 84,000 Joshua Turner - 78,500 Mike Cordell - 72,500 Sean Berrios - 71,900 Shane Buchwald - 69,700 Brandon Gee - 69,600 Robert Scott Pendergrast - 66,300
  7. [caption width="640"] John Monnette leads the race for WSOP Player of the Year.[/caption] The 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year race has had more than a handful of leaders and even more controversy over who the real leader should be over the last six weeks. Current frontrunner John Monnette doesn’t care much for the controversy, but he’s clearly doing everything in his power to hold onto his lead as he plays Day 2C of the Main Event. Monnette took the lead on Sunday night after his fifth place finish in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship, his 14th cash this summer. Chasing down POY honors wasn’t something Monnette had planned before the WSOP began though. “I didn’t intend to when I started, I didn’t just really know how things were going to go, but once i saw what was going on, I have been a little bit, but I also haven’t been ridiculous about it,” said Monnette. He didn’t play Colossus, the $565 Pot Limit Omaha or the $888 Crazy Eights event, even though many of the other contenders did. John Monnette’s 2017 WSOP Results Event #TournamentPositionWinningsPOY Pts 8$333 WSOP.com Online Little Grind299th$60232.1 9$10,000 Omaha High-Low9th$29,39166.4 14$1,500 HORSE71st$2,61240.7 22$10,000 NL 2-7 Single Draw1st$256,610136.8 29$2,500 NL Hold'em79th$5,20947 37$1,000 NL Hold'em298th$1,50236.2 46$1,500 PLO High Low76th$2,67741 48$10,000 Stud High-Low17th$15,18253.3 51$10,000 PLO High-Low16th$19,31357.8 54$25,000 PLO 8-Max14th$38,34772.6 63$1,000 NL Hold'em6th$46,758113.9 66$1,500 NL Hold'em150th$2,91542.2 68$3,000 NL Hold'em176th$4,67944 72$10,000 Seven Card Stud5th$53,62181.2 TOTAL$479,418865.2 Known as one of the best mix game cash game players in the world, Monnette has played a good chunk of Hold’em this year. His six NLHE cashes this summer account for 40% of his lifetime NLHE cashes at the WSOP. He admits it’s a slight change from the approach he’s previously taken. “I enjoy No Limit, I’m playing it a little bit more. I busted out of the (non-Hold’em events), so I would just late reg those No Limit events,” said Monnette. “Because it was late reg, you get just 10 or 15 bigs. I would happen to double up and was kinda running good and would just run up a stack. Some I got far in, others I didn’t, but I kept cashing. I mean, they’re paying 15%, so when you late reg you double once and you’ve got a pretty good shot at cashing.” Playing as much as he has this summer means Monnette, who makes his living playing high stakes cash games, has had to pass up the super soft cash game action that pops up every summer in Vegas. “It’s hard for me to play my best when I’m playing cash and I’m playing tournaments. So I kind of just focus on one or the other. The last five or six summers I’ve pretty much focused on tournaments,” said Monnette. “I’ll still go over there and play a little bit. That’s also why if I bust out of a tournament, I’d rather register for a small No Limit tournament then go and play big cash where I might be tilted or not play my best and I’m just in tournament mode, not in cash game mode.” Monnette became a serious contender for POY after he won the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven event in mid-June. That bracelet win was a special one for him because it was the first one he’d win since getting married last year. “Bracelets always mean a lot, and winning the bracelet this year was great because my wife Diana was there and she’s always so supportive and I haven’t won one since we’ve been together. She’s always been there for me and wanted to see me win one and I’ve been close several times and never actually won one so that was really cool to do that with her,” said Monnette. Even though many players have voiced disappointment over the new WSOP POY system, Monnette still thinks the award carries a certain level of prestige. For a guy that doesn’t play the tournament circuit at all, being within striking distance of the award means something and gives his friends and family a chance to support him. “I just don’t play tournaments all the time so this is the one time of the year that I do play tournaments and I enjoy it and it’s also cool that friends and family can sweat online or watch and see how you’re doing and they’ll shoot me a text ‘oh I saw you’re leading Player of the Year. That’s awesome! Good luck in the Main!’ So that’s cool because it’s the one time of year where there’s a little bit of reporting on stuff because cash games is just kinda quiet,” said Monnette. If Monnette manages to maintain his hold on top spot through the end of the Main Event, he’ll win a €10,000 seat to the WSOP Europe Main Event later this fall. The race for POY continues with the 12 events on the WSOPE schedule. “I assume if I get that seat, I would go because I don’t want to throw away a $10K seat and that would mean that I’m also in first so I’d try and go,” said Monnette. “I haven’t looked at the schedule, I know it’s in October or November - I don’t really know. I’ve been so busy and caught up in all of this that I haven’t looked too far forward.” The type of schedule that Monnette has played this year makes it difficult to come in every single day fresh and ready for the challenges ahead. Monnette has done his best to find some life-work balance and knows that’s had a hand in his results, but now that the Main Event is here, he knows he’s getting close to finally being able to rest. “It’s always draining. I’ve been trying to be a little healthier this year, not drink as much and eat a little better, which has been going downhill, haven’t worked out in a while which that usually helps," said Monnette. "But towards the end of the Series I’m just trying to stay focused and play my best and look forward to the end when I can go on vacation.” Monnette has 113,000 through Level 6.
  8. [caption width="640"] Shaun Deeb and Chris Moorman were just two of the 4000+ players who showed up for Day 1C of the 2017 WSOP Main Event.[/caption] While a number of the bigger names were expected to make it to the Rio Monday for Day 1C of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event, most people were simply watching to see how many players were going to play. In the end, Day 1C turned out to be a record-setting-day with 4,262 players registering, pushing the total field size to 7,221 - the third largest Main Event field of all time.$67,877,400 prize pool means the eventual champion is walking away with $8,150,000 while a min-cash is worth $15,000. A total of 1,084 players will finish in the money. The biggest stack from the Day 1C crowd belongs to Jerome Brion. The Frenchman finished with 247,900. Right behind him is Rudolphk Sawa with 2388,600 while Carl Carodenuto rounds out the top three with 237,800. Some of the notables moving on to Day 2C action on Wednesday include Andre Akkari (189,900), Bryce Yockey (178,700), Jason Koon (166,600) and Aditya Agarwal (150,900). John Monnette, the current leader in the WSOP Player of the Year race, finished with 123,800. Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier and Daniel Negreanu spent their entire Day 1C playing at the same table. Mercier finished with 28,500 while Negreanu finished with 26,200. Mercier’s wife Natasha finished with 218,400 - good enough for a top 10 stack. To the surprise of nobody, Phil Hellmuth was one of the last players to make it into the Main Event, registering just after dinner break. His table draw was anything but soft. Hellmuth finished play on Monday with 85,000. Another Phil, 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey, was a notable who did not enter the 2017 WSOP Main Event. There was a number of players that did enter but won’t be coming back to the Main Event at all, unless it’s watch from the rail. Blair Hinkle, Ari Engel, John Juanda, Mark Newhouse, Russell Thomas and POY contender John Racener were all unable to make it through all five levels on Monday. Day 2A/B, which keeps the players from Day 1A and 1B separate, resumes at 11 AM PT with ESPN airing play live from 4:30 - 8 pm PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Jerome Brion - 247,900 Rudolphk Sawa - 238,600 Carl Carodenuto - 237,800 Eric Nathan - US 228,500 David Mock - 228,500 Daniel Barry - 224,500 Jason Mann - 223,600 David Toneman - 221,300 Adam Levy - 220,700 Natasha Mercier - 218,400
  9. [caption width="640"] Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson feeling the Player Of The Year the pressure[/caption] This year's World Series of Poker Europe begins Thursday at King's Casino in Rosvadov, Czech Republic and along with it the race for the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year is enters its final lap. Players have 11 bracelet events left in which they can rack up cashes and add-on to their current point totals from this past summer. The player who finishes in first will be crowned the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year, get free entry into the 2018 WSOP Main Event, and have a banner of themselves draped in rooms of the Rio for 2018 and years to come. Former Full Tilt Poker officer Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson has returned to the spotlight and this time he's looking to get away with the WSOP Player of the Year award. After an impressive summer of results, having cashed in 17 events and posting 898.46 points, Ferguson sits atop the current leaderboard putting him in the driver's seat to take the title. Giving Ferguson an extra leg up on those that would overtake him is a free entry into the €10,350 WSOPE Main Event, one of the benefits of being the points leader after the summer in Las Vegas. Right behind Ferguson sits two-time WSOP bracelet Winner, Ryan Hughes (876.35). Hughes is only 22.11 points out of first and after a stellar summer of his own, making three final tables in the midst of 16 cashes, the Arizona grinder find himself in the best position to make a move on first place. Capturing his third WSOP gold bracelet in 2017 in Event #22 ($10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship) helped put well-rounded poker pro John Monnette (865.21) in third place in the POY race. Only 33.25 points out of first, should Monnette decide at the last minute to make the trip to Rozvadov rather than stay in the States to root on his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, he would be one to watch down the stretch. Former November Niner John Racener (853.16) also won a bracelet, his first, in 2017. His victory in Event #17 ($10,000 Dealers Choice Championship), along with a monster summer, complete with 17 scores at the Rio, catapulted Racener into fourth place – 45.3 points behind Ferguson. The recently-married Racener is currently on honeymoon in Europe, perhaps planning to wrap up the celebration of love with a stop at King's Casino. Over the course of two weeks, Raymond Henson (768.49) sat at 4 final tables and posted a string of five-figure scores allowing him to round out the POY Top 5. His nearly 130 point gap is by no means insurmountable. Using the 2015 WSOP as a barometer, it would require something akin a deep run in the Main Event or an outright victory in a side event, while those above him stay static, in order to make the leap. It seems unlikely though that the Houston resident will make the trip abroad to take a crack at getting the banner. The second half of the top 10 is littered with top-tier pros, all who could make a real run at the crown if the right amount of heat is applied. Two-time bracelet winner Ben Yu (766.49) sits right behind Henson in sixth and poker pro Alex Foxen (754.36) has already confirmed that he'll be in Rozvadov trying to finish strong. Two-time WSOP Player of the Year winner Daniel Negreanu (717.26) has never made any pretenses that he would like to win it yet again. To get there the six-time bracelet winner would need to post some serious results, perhaps even adding a seventh bracelet to his collection could do it. Despite his previous intentions, Negreanu has confirmed that he plans on skipping the WSOPE this year. Italy's Dario Sammartino (710.96) and tournament director turned poker crusherKenny Hallert (686.81) complete the top 10. The fact is, as the formula to determine points this year is based on ROI, taking into account buy-in and amount won, if any of these players, or even some further down on the list, make amazing strides and win all the money they may find themselves earning the prestigious title of World Series of Poker Player of the Year. The sprint to the finish begins when those who make the trek to Leon Tsoukernik's King's Casino take their seats on October 19.
  10. The World Series of Poker is the largest festival in the poker world for both their No Limit and Mixed Game offerings. Buy-ins reaching up to $50,000 for non-Hold'em games can only be found at the Rio for seven weeks every summer. These events often have a great impact on the WSOP Player of the Year race and should have a dense population of familiar faces for the full schedule. Only a single new addition to the schedule game-wise comes from Pot Limit Omaha. Three events are listed, two live and the third online. The PLO Giant follows the template of its No Limit cousin with flights every Sunday for the schedule leading up to the Day 2 restart on July 2. Flights are available June 3-July 1 with unlimited re-entry and payouts for each flight. The $565 Six Max PLO event adds a new element to the WSOP.com bracelet offerings. For the first time ever on June 22, players can compete for a four-card online bracelet. As usual, Pot Limit Omaha is available this summer for standard events at the $1,000, $1,500, $3,000, $10,000, and $25,000 buy-in levels. The inaugural $1,500 PLO Bounty event premieres on July 6. The standard offering of $1,500 and $10,000 mixed games returns. All games from the 8-game mix (HORSE, PLO, 2-7 Triple Draw) are on the schedule in the low and high variety. Also available are the $1,500 and $10,000 2-7 Single Draw events. Other events that claim the $1,500 and $10,000 offering include PLO8 and Dealer's Choice. 8-Game Mix can be found in only the $1,500 bin. HORSE is of the $1,500, $3,000, and $10,000 variety this summer. The $1,500 Omaha-mix returns on June 16. The popular format includes Big O, Omaha Hi-Lo, and PLO8. For the third consecutive year, the $2,500 Triple Draw Mix is back. A-5, 2-7, and Badugi are on the menu in a tough event that claims Chris Vitch and Jesse Martin as it's two winners. The event starts on June 2. The $2,500 price point carries over to the $2,500 Big Bet Mix which premiered last year. Jens Lakemeier overcame a final table of Jerry Wong, Jason Stockfish, and AJ Kelsall to win the $112,232 first-place prize. The field reached 197 entrants. The single re-entry event carries the non-bracelet event games of Big O, No-Limit Five-Card Draw High, and Pot-Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw. The final event on the $2,500 list is the Omaha Hi-Lo/Stud Hi-Lo mix. Smith Sirisakorn won the 2017 edition for $215,902 in his first and only live tournament cash. A total of 405 players entered last year. The $50,000 Poker Players Championship kicks off on June 15. The five-day event brought out 100 entrants in 2017. Elior Sion notched his first bracelet win against a ferocious final table of Paul Volpe, Ike Haxton, and Daniel Negreanu. The Six Max event plays with an eight-game mix. The $10,000 Championship events always include top-tier talent walking away with jewelry and James Obst, John Racener, John Monnette, and Abe Mosseri were among those who posed for winner's photos in 2017. David Bach won his two bracelets last summer in the $1,500 Dealers Choice and the $10,000 HORSE. When the doors to the Rio open on May 30, players from around the globe congregate with varying game specialties looking to bring a piece of hardware home.
  11. It's Christmas Eve for poker players. Or, if you want to borrow from the more contemporary metaphor, it's the day before Poker Summer Camp officially kicks off. Poker players from around the world have been flooding into Las Vegas over the past week to get settled and ready for the 2018 World Series of Poker. So, as the tables are getting set up at the Rio and dealers are getting last minute instructions on how to deal Triple Draw, the staff here at PocketFives take their turn at predicting exactly how some of the things at the 2018 WSOP will go down. The Panel Editor in Chief - Lance Bradley Community Manager - Kevin Mathers Writer & The Fives Co-Host - Matt Clark Writer - Jeff Walsh [caption id="attachment_619256" align="alignnone" width="800"] PocketFives Staff (L to R) Lance Bradley, Kevin Mathers, Matt Clark, Jeff Walsh.[/caption] JUST HOW BIG CAN THIS THING GET? There are a record-setting 78 bracelet events on the 2018 WSOP schedule, including 13 events that being after the Main Event does. Our esteemed panel dove deep into some heavy math and analytics to break down eight key events. EVENT #7 - $565 Colossus Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 16,133 17,425 17,653 16,960 There’s been a steady decline in attendance over the past few years (roughly a 20% drop in runners from year one to year three), potentially due to a small cannibalization of the lower buy-in player pool from the $365 GIANT (which gets underway the same weekend as the Colossus) and also possibly because there may just be so much offered at any given time at the start of the series, the star event that is the Colossus may have just faded a little. -Jeff Walsh EVENT #20 - $5,000 Big Blind Ante Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 659 603 622 645 The Big Blind Ante is all the rage in tournament poker right now and 2018 marks its debut at the WSOP. The price point for this one is definitely going to draw out a certain group of players, many of whom have already played with the big blind ante before and have come to enjoy it more than the traditional ante system. There were two $5,000 full ring NLHE events on the schedule last year drawing 505 and 623 players respectively. I think the hype of BBA puts this one over the top and we end up with over 650. -Lance Bradley EVENT #21 - $1,500 Millionaire Maker Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 7.483 8,049 6,541 7,644 One of the most popular events on the 'Weekend Warrior' schedule, the enticement of a $1,000,000+ guaranteed reward for first brings the droves to the Rio. After a couple of flat years, allowing players to re-enter each flight (for a maximum of four total) brought the field to 7,761 entries, up almost 600 from 2016. I expect another increase, passing the record number from 2014's 7,977 entries, with 8,049 entries after late registration closes. -Kevin Mathers EVENT #33 - $50,000 Players Championship Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 107 110 110 106 Each year, the $50,000 Players Championship attracts a select field of players, all eager to play some eight-game mix. Last year's field drew 100 players and has hovered around that number in recent years after bottoming out to 84 in 2015. This year, I'm predicting another modest increase, to 110 players. -Kevin Mathers EVENT #42 - $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha Eight Max High Roller Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 203 180 210 213 The $25K PLO is one of the true elite field tournaments of the summer. Not only will it attract a regular slate of high rollers but it’s one of those tournaments when $10K regs may stretch into shot taking mode. The last three years this event has been offered there’s been a nice uptick in registration, including a massive 21 player jump from 2016 to 2017. The 2018 Aria Summer High Roller has an event a couple days before and after WSOP’s $25K PLO and I’m going to err on the side of this helping push the PLO player pool up as players may want a break from NLHE but want to play the same stakes. Plus, this event will very likely provide a seven-figure score for the winner and for the players who can afford the buy-in and handle the swings, that’s very enticing. -Jeff Walsh EVENT #61 - $1,000 WSOP.com Online Championship Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 2,729 2,400 2,005 1,802 Last year's number of 1,312 is going to be shattered. The player pool combination is already seeing increases across all WSOP.com tournaments and the bracelet "Main Event" is a great test for the platform. The influx of players in Nevada for the WSOP combined with New Jersey grinders equals 2,005 runners in 2018. - Matt Clark EVENT #74 - $10,000 Six Max NLHE Championship Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 299 340 294 308 In years past, the $10,000 Six Max NLHE event has drawn out the elite short-handed players, many of whom cut their teeth online. It's all been afforded a decent spot in the schedule. That's not the case this year though as it was moved to one of the "post-lim" events on the schedule and will share Rio floorspace with Day 7 of the Main Event. For a lot of players, the end of their Main Event means their WSOP is over. Fatigue - physical, mental and bankroll - comes into play and players look to get out of Vegas. A number of players who normally play this event might decide to skip it out and get a head-start on the post-WSOP detox. -Lance Bradley EVENT #65 - The Main Event Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 7,765 7,294 7,460 7,184 Go ahead and call me crazy, but I think the WSOP Main Event enjoys a big bump this year. I'm going to chalk a lot of it up to the crypto market. On July 8, 2017, Bitcoin was worth roughly $2,500. As of May 28, 2018, it's worth roughly three times that. Yeah, the market is volatile, but so many poker players were invested in crypto markets early. Poker is also in a better place than it has been in years. The bruises from 2011 are starting to heal and the live coverage from 2017 on ESPN/PokerGO will show some dividends. Seeing similar year/year growth this year that we did last doesn't seem out of the question. -Lance Bradley THE SUPERSTARS [caption id="attachment_619251" align="alignnone" width="1024"] This time last year nobody was picking Alex Foxen to do anything at the WSOP. (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Every year a few players emerge from relative obscurity to win a bracelet and launch themselves into the world of poker celebrity. That being said, poker's biggest stage is also where the game's best players want to shine brightest. Our esteemed panel picked seven of the biggest names in poker right now and took a stab at predicting just well each of them will do this summer. Note: the table indicates if each panelist thinks that player will win a bracelet or not. Alex Foxen Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh No No No Yes Frankly, I hate taking the position that any player will win a bracelet in any given year, but by taking a "NO" stance that would be asking me to essentially bet against Foxen. That's not a position I'm willing to take. In 2017, he fired up and down the WSOP schedule resulting in cashing 13 times. Foxen made the final table three times, including taking a 3rd place in a NLHE $1K. Headed into the 2018 WSOP he's got high-roller experience under his belt and he's red hot having earned four six-figure scores in 2018. If he has the same drive he had in 2017 and is playing all the games, it's going to be very difficult to deny Foxen from leveling up his poker career with a WSOP bracelet. -Jeff Walsh Chris Ferguson Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh No No No No Ferguson has made numerous final tables since his 2016 return but carries only a win in Europe to show for it. Expect Ferguson to reach two final tables this summer but finish no higher than third. -Matt Clark Phil Ivey Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes No No No It was a pretty big deal when Phil Ivey announced he would be returning to the WSOP this year. There's a lot of opportunities for Ivey to be distracted in Las Vegas. The cash game scene during the WSOP is amazing, the high rollers offered at Aria and King's Lounge might take some of Ivey's attention, but many don't know that when Ivey went on his November Nine run in 2009, he would leave the Rio and head to Bobby's Room and play all night. He's wired for this. -Lance Bradley Daniel Negreanu Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh No Yes No Yes A revamped WSOP Player of the Year system gives Daniel Negreanu the motivation to play a full WSOP schedule to chase his third POY title. With the battering he's taken for his representing PokerStars in recent years, Negreanu wants to redeem himself in the eyes of the poker community and winning a bracelet, which he hasn't done since 2013, is his way of doing so. I predict Negreanu wins one bracelet and has at least two other top-three finishes, all in non-Hold'em events. -Kevin Mathers Adrian Mateos Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes Yes Yes Yes This is the only player that everybody on the panel agrees is leaving the Rio with new jewelry this year. It's not surprising. He's been one of the top-ranked players in the GPI for a while now and already has three WSOP bracelets to his credit and at 23 years old, fatigues just isn't going to be a factor for him. He'll also play every NLHE event on the schedule. -Lance Bradley Phil Hellmuth Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes No No No The all-time leader in bracelets is on a cold streak since his last win in 2015. Two final tables in the last two years for Hellmuth do not bode well for improvement in 2018. If there were 10 Razz events on the schedule, that would bolster his chances. -Matt Clark Stephen Chidwick Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes Yes No No High Rollers have Chidwick's attention now and his paltry five cashes last year prove his preference. Winning bracelets takes volume and Chidwick won't be putting in enough to make consistent deep runs. -Matt Clark BIGGEST SURPRISE [caption id="attachment_619250" align="alignnone" width="1024"] He's baaaaaa-aacckkkk. Phil Ivey is set to return to the WSOP felt. (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] At the end of every summer camp, there's always a player who two that pulled off something really special or left poker fans wondering what happened. Each member of our esteemed panel took one player who might provide the poker world with a surprise performance - good or bad - this summer. Phil Ivey Phil Ivey's grand return in Montenegro gave poker fans a reason to believe Ivey might play this summer at the WSOP. Ivey confirmed as much when interviewed after the win. Poker fans teased themselves for years with a "Summer of Ivey." Sadly, this summer will not be that year. Cash games in Asia along with legal issues in the United States have Ivey's primary attention now for different monetary reasons. If the right bracelet bet comes along, maybe then Ivey will put in the volume to satisfy the masses. -Matt Clark Allen Kessler I'm going out on a very long limb here, but I'm going to predict than Kessler will win his first WSOP bracelet this year. The Chainsaw is quite the polarizing figure, especially if you're on #PokerTwitter, and I've surely had my war of words with him. He almost took down a bracelet during WSOP Europe in Rozvadov, Czech Republic finishing runner-up in the €2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha. The last time he made a WSOP final table in Vegas was back in 2011, so that means he's gotta be due, right? When you play as many events as he does, eventually he'll be on the right side of variance for once, and I think it's time for him to win some gold. After his win, he'll go on a Twitter rant about the bracelet or some other trivial matter and everyone will turn on him once again #Drama. -Kevin Mathers Connor Drinan Every year since 2013 Connor Drinan has attended the WSOP and every year he's left without a single "trinket." This is the year I think he truly breaks through and not only wins himself a bracelet but perhaps takes down the biggest tournament of the summer - The $1 million Big One For One Drop. Drinan, the current PocketFives Worldwide #17-ranked online player is a consummate grinder, crushing just about any tournament series he dedicates himself to. Over the course of PokerStars' 2018 SCOOP series, Drinan made the money an impressive 32 times, putting him in the upper echelon of the series overall leaderboard. His WSOP resume consists of 25 cashes and nearly $1 million in total earnings, including in-the-money finishes in the $111,111 High Roller For One Drop in both 2017 and 2013. Should he find his way into the $1 million One Drop tournament, he's my pick to take it down. Should he not have the chance I see him taking his 2018 online success and translating it into multiple deep runs during the WSOP, including the Main Event, resulting in him being a player whose success won't be able to keep him out of the headlines. -Jeff Walsh Adam Owen So many people like to pigeonhole Adam Owen as a mixed game specialist. And while he's fantastic at games other than Hold'em (16 non-Hold'em cashes in SCOOP this year), he's also had some deep runs in bigger buy-in NLHE events. He finished second at the partypoker MILLIONS Barcelona Main Event for $1.6 million. He has 22 WSOP cashes over the last three years and given his recent big score, we could see him playing even more bracelet events this year. -Lance Bradley PLAYER OF THE YEAR [caption id="attachment_619252" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Mike Leah could finally capture WSOP Player of the Year this year. (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Outside of Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and apparently Phil Hellmuth, nobody was thrilled to see Chris Ferguson win Player of the Year last year. There were just as many people disappointed in the new system WSOP brass put in place which rewarded min-cashes in big fields with more points than runner-up finishes in Championship events. That same brass has promised the poker community that they fixed the POY issue, so the race is once again wide open. Our esteemed panel each made their pick for who reigns supreme this summer and through the end of WSOP Europe this fall. Mike Leah When you try to answer the ultimate poker question of "Who Loves It More?", you can't go wrong by answering Mike Leah. He loves everything about poker: the cash, the competition, and, yes, the awards. He's not shy about wanting it all and one would have to assume that the WSOP Player of the Year would be high on his list of wanted accolades. As a Canadian, he's faced with stiff tax laws on anything he wins in Las Vegas, but that has not stopped him from racking up 99-lifetime WSOP cashes and a bracelet. He plays everything at every buy-in level and in 2017, he cashed for 14 times in Las Vegas and another six time during the World Series of Poker Europe. His efforts left him in fifth place of the 2017 WSOP POY race but his determination did not go unnoticed. Leah is comfortable playing just about any buy-in level and has plenty of non-NLHE results in WSOP events. Should he get off to a fast start in 2018 or perhaps when capture his second bracelet, expect him to dive headlong into the WSOP Player of the Year race. -Jeff Walsh James Obst James Obst earned his first WSOP bracelet in 2017 and is a force in all games offered at the Rio. Since 2014, Obst has cashes in 10 events with a buy-in of at least $5,000. The Australian's consistency in 2017 put him in the running for POY despite the flawed scoring system. Four top-10 finishes and two podium results equal even more for Obst this summer. Two bracelets plus five total final tables equal a banner in 2019. -Matt Clark Daniel Negreanu The 2017 WSOP Player of the Year race was the most controversial edition yet, as Chris Ferguson took down the title after cashing a record 23 times in Vegas and Rozvadov. Many critiqued the criteria as others decided to not put in the volume to try and chase Ferguson. This year's POY criteria appears to be vastly approved, rewarding deep finishes over cashing. With plenty of events at a $10,000 or higher price point, it's likely someone who goes on a heater in those events will likely win (Ex. Jason Mercier in 2016, Phil Ivey in 2012). Negreanu was the most vocal critic last year, and he heartily approved the changes and I expect him to win WSOP POY for the third time. -Kevin Mathers John Monnette Avid readers will remember that I predicted Monnette would win Player of the Year last year. That was before the 2017 WSOP POY scoring system was discovered to be as ugly as it was. Monnette still managed to finish fifth, but probably put more emphasis on smaller buy-in No Limit Hold'em events than he wanted to. With the new system rewarding bigger buy-in events and mixed games, Monnette might be the odds-on favorite to win. He excels at mixed games and will play nearly every $10,000 or bigger buy-in event.
  12. 2019 marks the 50th annual World Series of Poker. The most prestigious poker festival in history has played a pivotal role in creating many of the legends and superstars of the game. To commemorate the occasion, PocketFives editorial staff each ranked the top 50 players in WSOP history in an effort to define and rank the most important, influential, and greatest WSOP players of all time. #50 - Eli Elezra BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 3 59 $1,882,898 20 When Eli Elezra picked up his first WSOP cash in 1999, nobody knew that it would lead to a career that included 58 more cashes and three gold bracelets. Elezra's first bracelet win came in 2007 when he beat Scotty Nguyen heads up to win the $3,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo title. He defeated another Poker Hall of Famer to win his second bracelet, outlasting Daniel Negreanu in the $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw event in 2013. He won his third bracelet in 2015, taking down the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event. Of his 59 cashes, 14 are in $10,000 Championship events, including three WSOP Main Event cashes. #49 - Mickey Appleman BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 4 48 $1,188,108 25 Mickey Appleman's four WSOP bracelets span 23 years. After playing his first WSOP in 1975, Appleman won the first bracelet in 1980 in a $1,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event. His other wins came in 1992 ($5,000 No Limit 2-7), 1995 ($5,000 Limit Hold'em), and 2003 ($2,500 Pot Limit Hold'em). In 1987 and 2000, Appleman made the final table of the WSOP Main Event, finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. He has three other Main Event cashes (1989, 1990, 2011). #48 - Amarillo Slim Preston BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 4 12 $437,265 4 'Amarillo Slim' took poker to the mainstream after winning the 1972 WSOP Main Event. As much as he seemed to revel in the spotlight provided by The Tonight Show and 60 Minutes, Preston continued to prove his mettle at the table as well. Along with the 1972 win, he earned bracelets in 1974 ($1,000 No Limit Hold'em), 1985 ($5,000 Pot Limit Omaha w/rebuys), and 1990 ($5,000 Pot Limit Omaha). #47 - Max Pescatori BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 4 73 $2,527,086 18 In the 15 years that Italy's Max Pescatori has been coming to the WSOP, he's amassed 73 cashes and his four bracelet wins have come in four different games. He won a $2,500 No Limit Hold'em event in 2006, a $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha/Hold'em event in 2008 and then won the $1,500 Razz and $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship events in 2015. #46 - Vanessa Selbst BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 3 29 $2,201,877 11 It took Vanessa Selbst just nine years to go from respected online poker grinder to three-time WSOP bracelet winner. In 2008, she won a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event for her first bracelet. She followed that up by winning a $2,500 10-Game Mixed bracelet two years later. Her third bracelet came in a $25,000 Mixed Max No Limit Hold'em event in 2014. "Vanessa Selbst is one of the most important players in the modern WSOP era, and it's a shame we may not get to realize the extent of what her dominance could have been as she's moved on from playing poker full time. Her résumé speaks for itself, and if she were to ever return to playing a full WSOP schedule, she'd easily be one of the top contenders to win WSOP Player of the Year." - PocketFives Managing Editor, Donnie Peters. #45 - John Racener BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 1 71 $7,948,710 19 John Racener might be most famous for his runner-up finish in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, but he's also picked up 70 other cashes covering nearly every game offered by the WSOP. Proving his mixed game abilities, Racener's sole WSOP bracelet came in the $10,000 Dealer's Choice event in 2017. He's finished seventh and 11th in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and has eight cashes in $10,000 Championship events. “Some may just remember John Racener from his final table appearance at the November Nine, with his front row seat to one of the wildest hands that ever took place during the WSOP between Jonathan Duhamel and Joseph Cheong. However, he’s been a cashing beast year-in and year-out during the series since 2007. He won a bracelet in the difficult field of the 2017 $10K Dealer’s Choice and he’s racked up a total of 68 cashes during the summer series and another six in Europe.” - PocketFives Senior Writer, Jeff Walsh. #44 - John Monnette BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 3 67 $2,341,395 21 More than two-thirds of John Monnette's WSOP cashes have come in games other than No Limit Hold'em. As a further testament to his diversity, Monnette's three gold bracelets came in $2,500 Eight Game Mix (2008), $5,000 Seven Card Stud (2012), and $10,000 No Limit 2-7 (2017). His 21 top 10 finishes include three runner-up finishes and four third-place finishes. "The only thing keeping John Monnette from more WSP success is the high-stakes cash game scene during the summer in Vegas, because he is as good as they come when it comes to mixed events. Although we always focus on bracelets, Monnette is a great example of how we should look a little deeper. He has three finishes in second place and four in third place. It takes an incredible amount of skill to consistently reach the top three in gold bracelet events, and Monnette is there what seems like every single year." - Donnie Peters. #43 - Paul Volpe BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 3 47 $3,567,941 14 Paul Volpe, a former #1-ranked player on PocketFives, has won three WSOP bracelets while also picking up 20 cashes in $10,000 Championship events. On top of that, he's finished sixth and 11th in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Volpe has also put together three deep runs in the Main Event, finishing 20th (2012), 29th (2016), and 142nd (2018). "The early days of the WSOP were all about the best going against the best. Paul Volpe's success comes in a very different era, but it's all come in events where he's up against the elite poker players in multiple variants. He's a throwback in many ways. The fact he's able to crush the $10K Championship events with consistency is a testament to just how talented Volpe is to his craft." PocketFives Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley. #42 - Robert Mizrachi BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 4 63 $3,096,947 19 Robert Mizrachi won his first bracelet in 2007, beating 312 other players in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship event before picking up a bracelet each year between 2014 and 2016. His four wins came in four different variations: Pot Limit Omaha, Dealer's Choice, Seven Card Stud, and Omaha Hi-Lo. He's cashed three times in both the $50,000 Players Championship and the Main Event. #41 - Dewey Tomko BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 3 45 $2,674,848 29 Dewey Tomko won three bracelets, including two in 1984, but might most famously be remembered for being one of four players in WSOP history to finish runner-up in the Main Event twice. In 1982, Tomko came second to Jack Strauss, and then 19 years later, ended up one spot behind Carlos Mortensen. Tomko's three bracelets are in a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event (1979), $10,000 No Limit 2-7 (1984), and $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha w/rebuys (1984). For more discussion on PocketFives' Top 50 Greatest Players in WSOP History, check out the latest episode of The Fives podcast. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher Stay tuned to PocketFives as we continue to count down the 50 greatest players in WSOP history leading up to the start of the 2019 festival.
  13. The 2019 World Series of Poker is almost here. It's the 50th annual WSOP and there's a lot of anticipation of what's to come this summer. One player who always looks forward to the summer is Phil Hellmuth. He's the poker player with the most WSOP gold bracelets (15) and most WSOP cashes (134), plus it's 30 years since he won the 1989 WSOP Main Event. "I love it!" Hellmuth told PocketFives when asked how it feels to have the WSOP right around the corner once again. "It's 30 years since my win in the WSOP Main Event." In 1989, a 24-year-old Hellmuth shocked the gambling world when he defeated two-time defending champion Johnny Chan to win the WSOP Main Event for $755,000. Hellmuth topped a field of 178 entries and launched himself into poker stardom. It was the first of his 15 gold bracelets, one of which was the WSOP Europe Main Event title in 2012, and 30 years later he's still hungry for more. "It would be nice to win a no-limit 2-7 tournament - I have two second-place finishes - as I've always seen myself winning one," Hellmuth said when asked what he's most looking forward to this summer, other than the Main Event. "It would be nice to win another razz tourney. That would solidify me as the best razz tourney player in the world, based on WSOP results. I would love to win a seven-card stud eight-or-better tourney or an eight-game mix or 10-game mix. Finally, winning a huge buy-in or field size no-limit hold’em tournament or heads-up tourney would be spectacular." In addition to those events, Hellmuth recently took to social media to proclaim, "I want to win a WSOP PLO bracelet in the next few years!" Of all the bracelets he's won, he has yet to earn one in the great game of pot-limit Omaha. His best WSOP performance in this exciting, four-card variant was a fourth-place finish at the 2000 WSOP. "I'm behind the curve in two tourney games: pot-limit Omaha and 2-7 triple draw," Hellmuth said. "I keep improving, which is wonderful, and who knows where that will lead. No one thought I would become the best razz tourney player in the world, and yet, I have shredded the WSOP razz tourneys since 2012 like no other. It's been a historic run, with two firsts, a second, a fifth, and a 13th. So, I need to improve at PLO tourneys. I need to learn something from Jason Mercier and Shaun Deeb." Speaking of Mercier and Deeb, Hellmuth included these two players, who hold five and four bracelets, respectively, when mentioning who might be able to catch him in the great bracelet race. "Daniel Negreanu says he will catch me in cashes," Hellmuth said. "A little known fact is that Negreanu has actually played more WSOP tourneys than I have. Others have said they will catch me in bracelets. Phil Ivey says his goal is to win 30. I was shooting for 24, until Ivey went public going for 30, then I changed my goal to 30. But 24 would still be amazing. Let me get there first. So, Ivey. Maybe Negreanu, Deeb, Mercier, John Monnette, or John Hennigan. In hold'em, of which I have 13 so far, maybe Joe Cada, Dominik Nitsche, or Adrian Mateos." Hellmuth is currently top of the charts in most WSOP gold bracelets and most WSOP cashes, two records that he holds by quite wide margins. In the bracelets category, the next closest are Ivey, Chan, and Doyle Brunson, who each have 10. For cashes, Hellmuth is first with 137 and then Chris Ferguson is second with 120. Negreanu currently sits third entering the 2019 WSOP with 108. "Let's not forget that I hold the record for most WSOP final tables," Hellmuth added. "It would be nice to own the money list title, but to me, it's all about the bracelets." Hellmuth's last gold bracelet win came last year when he won the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 30-Minute Levels tournament for $485,082. For final tables, the last time he didn't make one at the WSOP was in 2013. Having played the WSOP for so long and racked up so many accolades, it wouldn't be out of the question for Hellmuth to slow down and take it easy a bit, just as most athletes can get their titles and then take it a little easier. But every WSOP, whether in Las Vegas during the summer or elsewhere in the world some other time of the year, Hellmuth is grinding away and looking to add another few lines to the record books that are already littered with his name. "It's in my nature, it's in my DNA," Hellmuth said when asked what continues to drive him. "I'm super competitive, and I'm competing against the best players in the world, in this era, and last and future eras, for greatest poker player of all time. Right now, I have all of the records, but 15 WSOP bracelets is not enough to keep the record. So I stay focused, I stay determined, I pay attention, and keep abreast of new strategies. I stay away from drugs, away from drinking too much, and I take care of myself; watching my weight and sleeping in almost every single day. Long-term health is a factor in this race." With decades of experience at the WSOP, Hellmuth has undoubtedly seen a lot over the years. For that reason, there are few better to ask what the biggest differences are between then and now. "The numbers," Hellmuth said. "The WSOP was special back then, and a lot more like a convention for all of the best poker players in the world. But now, it's out of control with huge numbers, and I love it. Also, back in 1988 and 1989, we had a lot of one-day tournaments." While excited for what's to come poker-wise, Hellmuth has been quite busy as of late, but not necessarily in the poker realm. If you follow him on social media, then you're likely aware of some of the off-the-felt moves he's been making. "I'm doing a lot of business deals right now, both as an investor and as someone that's honored to be joining advisory boards (just joined LassoGear.com advisory board). In the last six months, I have invested in b spot (online slot machines), TravelSmarter.com (direct-to-consumer hotel room rates, airfare, and a lot more), End Game Talent Agency (esports talent agency), and STEAM Role (mentoring site). "I love business, but all of the founders understand that I will disappear into poker on May 25," Hellmuth said. "I really need to cut off all communication for a few months and focus on playing great poker. For the 2019 WSOP, I'm adding back mediation." Lastly, with the WSOP Main Event seeing a rise in attendance over the previous year in each of the last three years, Hellmuth needed to be asked to give a prediction for the 2019 WSOP Main Event. "I think we will crack 10,000 players!" Hellmuth said. "The ESPN coverage, thanks to PokerGO and Cary Katz, has been spectacular, with 14 days of coverage, and the economy is crushing!"

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