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  1. [caption width="640"] 2015 Colossus champ Cord Garcia was among the 5,000 entries on Thursday.[/caption] While the 2016 World Series of Poker officially got underway Wednesday with the start of the Casino Employees event, things really started on Thursday with the opening of the first open event, the $565 buy-in Colossus II. After drawing a record field last year, the 2016 version of the event was expected to be even bigger and while neither the Day 1A or Day 1B flight sold out, over 5,000 players, including defending champion Cord Garcia, made their way into the event, with just over 200 surviving. Employees Event Winner CJ Sand Dedicates Win to His Mom [caption width="640"] CJ Sand made his second-ever WSOP cash with a win in the Employees Event. (WSOP photo)[/caption] The first WSOP bracelet of 2016 went to CJ Sand, a sportsbook employee from Caesars Palace. Sand beat out Hippodrome Head of Poker, Kerryjane Craigie heads up for the title to win the bracelet and $75,157. Day 2 began with 23 players still in contention for the bracelet and it tookjust six hours to reach the final table. Once there Sand had the second biggest stack behind Kerryjane Craigie, setting up the eventual heads up battle between the two. Spencer Bennett, who began the day as chip leader, was active early, busting Robert Ostler in ninth and Tom Ratanakul in sixth after Craigie busted Tiankang Xing in eighth and Michael Coombs sent Nicholas Sliwinski out in seventh. But with five players remaining, Sand became the story, eliminating the remaining four players for the victory. The hand that propelled him to the top of the chip counts for good came with just five players remaining. From under the gun, Brian Mikesh opened to 80,000 and Sand defended his big blind. The flop came [poker card="jd"][poker card="td"][poker card="8d"] and Sand check-called Mikesh’s bet of 60,000. The turn was the [poker card="9h"] and Sand checked again. Mikesh bet 135,000 and Sand raised to 310,000. Mikesh responds by moving all in and Sand called immediately. Mikesh tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"] for a flopped king-high flush but Sand tabled [poker card="9d"][poker card="7d"] for a flopped straight flush. The river was the [poker card="6c"] and Mikesh was eliminated in fifth while Sand’s stack grew to 2,150,000 - well over half of the chips in play. Sand then eliminated Bennett and Michael Coombs to reach heads-up with Craigie. Sand held a nearly 3.5-1 chip lead when heads-up play began and needed just 40 minutes to eliminate Craigie. After the win Sand reflected on the person that introduced him to the game of poker – his mom. "My mom first taught me how to play poker when I was 13 years old, so this is 30 years in the making,” said Sand, 45. "Poker is one of the best memories I have of her. Poker is in my veins and now I have this -- all because of her." Both Sand and Craigie each had only one previous WSOP cash to their credit and both came from the 2015 WSOP when they both finished in the money in Colossus. Final Table Payouts CJ Sand $75,157 Kerryjane Craigie $46,420 Michael Coombs $32,249 Spencer Bennett $22,753 Brian Mikesh $16,308 Tom Ratanakul $11,877 Nicholas Sliwinski $8,792 Tiankang Xing $6,616 Robert Ostler $5,063 Colossus II Opens Up With Two Flights, Over 5,000 Players The first open event of the summer began Thursday with two opening flights of Colossus II. Last summer the $565 buy-in event drew a record 22,374 players. Thanks to the popularity of the 2015 event, the WSOP added another starting day and two more starting flights to this year’s schedule. The first flight got under way at 10 AM PT and once registration closed there were 3,249 players in the field. Finishing the flight on top of the chip counts was David Polop with 513,000. Only 108 players survived the 18 levels. Justin Zakin, Max Silver and Alex ‘lynskey99’ Lynskey all finished with top ten stacks. Dan O’Brien, Maria Ho, Rep Porter and former WPT500 winner Craig Varnell also advanced to Day 2 from Day 1A. O’Brien was happy with the changes to the Colossus structure, which included shortening levels on Day 1 and having some players cash on Day 1. More Colossus Starting Flights on Friday Call it poker’s version of Groundhog Day as Friday will feel an awful lot like Thursday at the WSOP. Two more Colossus II starting flights are the only events on the schedule and as the weekend draws closer the field sizes are only expected to increase.
  2. On Saturday, Alex Foxen tweeted that he was looking to make some bracelet bets for the 2019 World Series of Poker. Sifting through the responses, it appears he found a few takers. One of the first players to pop into Foxen’s mentions was recent WPT L.A. Poker Classic winner David 'ODB' Baker, who offered $20,000 per bracelet against Foxen. After a little bit of back and forth between the two, they settled on the original offer from Baker at $20,000 per bracelet. Baker then tweeted that his "shop is open for business" and took in a few "friendly" offers of his own. He booked $2,000 per bracelet with both Brandon Shack-Harris and Brian Hastings. Back to Foxen, Adrian Mateos was one of the players to join in the fun. He asked Foxen if he’d bet on mutual no-limit hold’em events played and it appears Foxen accepted. If they were accepted, the two likely worked out the details out of public view. Rainer Kempe was next in line and offered a similar bet to what Mateos did, for mutual no-limit hold’em events played. If we’re understanding the details correctly, Kempe and Foxen are on for the first bullet of every no-limit hold’em event they both play this summer. A min-cash wins $1,000 from the other person, an official final table appearance wins $5,000, and a bracelet wins $25,000. Dominik Nitsche chimed in at the end and said he’d like the same bet, but there was no visible confirmation from Foxen. Foxen did like the tweet, though. Foxen has yet to win a WSOP gold bracelet, but he's still relatively new to the poker scene. He had some notable live tournament results in 2015 and 2016, but his 2017 is really what put him on the map. That year, Foxen won more than $1.7 million on the felt after having won just over $500,000 in the five years prior combined. In 2018, Foxen had an even bigger year with more than $6.6 million won. In 2019, he’s already won more than $3 million entering the 2019 WSOP. Foxen had just four cashes at the 2018 WSOP, but one of those was a final table to kick off the summer. At the 2017 WSOP, Foxen cashed 14 times and then added two more cashes at WSOP Europe. Among those cashes in 2017 were two final tables and three other top-15 finishes.
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