Two days into the 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP), the first bracelet has been awarded and what very well could have the largest live poker tournament field ever has begun. The initial gold bracelet winner of the summer is recent Las Vegas transplant Christopher Sand.
Sand won the Casino Employees event for $75,157. This tournament was only open to those who work in the gaming industry. Sand played in the WSOP last year and scored a small cash in the Colossus. It was his only prior career WSOP cash.
But the big story around the poker world on Thursday was the Colossus II. For $565, poker players can take a shot at their share of $7 million, with first place paying out a nice cool $1 million. But to win the event, one must successfully navigate through four days of pretty tough competition.
There are six total Day One flights, with two per day for three days. Thursday marked the start of the tournament. In each flight, 15 percent of the field will go home with money, and all players who cash will earn at least $833.
On the first flight of the tournament, #2A, 488 players cashed, with over 100 advancing to Day Two. At the time we wrote this story, flight 1B had yet to conclude.
Of the thousands of players who entered the first day of play, there were many big name pros competing. Some of which will likely enter multiple flights. Players are allowed to enter as many Day One flights as they want and can even cash multiples times, but are only allowed to carry over one stack to Day Two.
There was plenty of action at the Rio on Thursday. Many played more aggressively than normal, attempting to build a massive stack or bust to get ready for the next flight.
The UK’s David Polop, of London, finished Flight 1A with the largest stack (513,000). Hector Rodriguez, from the same British capital, is in second with 450,000. There weren’t many big names to emerge from that first flight. Maria Ho, however, did make it to Day Two with a stack of 186,000, which is plenty of chips for a talented pro such as herself to make a run.
Last year’s champ, Cord Garcia, was back to defend his Colossus title, but he’ll need a better showing in another flight to make that happen. He busted in 2A.
Jon Racener, Phil Laak, Barry Shulman, and Steve Zolotow all headed to the exits early on in the day. Rainer Kempe, merely hours after winning $5 million over at the Aria in the Super High Roller Bowl, decided to late-register for the Colossus. After winning a decent early pot, he busted early on before securing another cash.
Flights 1C and 1D will take place on Friday, with Saturday’s flights 1E and 1F wrapping up Day One.