The 2016 World Series of Poker is winding down, but the excitement is heating up. Only 13 players remain in the High Roller for One Drop event, a WPT TV personality won a bracelet. The Ladies Event is at final table status now. Oh, and the Main Event got underway on Saturday.
Let’s start with Event #67, the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop tournament. This is one of the few WSOP tournaments each year that most of the top high stakes pros mark on their calendars. The event began on Friday and is now down to 13 players. We should have a champion crowned sometime late on Sunday or early in the morning on Monday.
Anything can happen in no-limit hold’em, but Dan Smith has the advantage heading into the final day. His 22,500,000 chips give him a commanding lead over Brian Green (14,865,000).
But that doesn’t mean he’s going to win. There are 12 talented players that won’t just lie down and quit. That includes the great Fedor Holz, arguably the best under-25 player in the world. Scott Seiver has just 2,685,000 chips, but he’ll be tough to beat if he can double up a couple of times.
Antonio Esfandiari, whose very name will always have “One Drop” associated with it, has the smallest stack (1,650,000), but he’s not out of it. The Magician won the inaugural One Drop event in 2012, back when it was a $1 million buy-in. He earned $18,346,673, which makes the $4,981,775 they’re playing for this year seem like chump change.
Time flies by. It seems like just yesterday Joe McKeehen was finishing off his final table opponents with ease. But it’s been eight months.
The Main Event is back. ESPN will again be televising the tournament on Tuesdays leading up to the final table in October. McKeehen hasn’t entered the tournament just yet, because he’s still competing in the One Drop.
Day 1A of Event #68, aka the Main Event, began on Saturday with 764 players, Of those, 567 will be moving on to compete on Day Two on Tuesday. If that number seems a bit low, don’t worry, the majority of poker pros wait until Sunday or Monday to register for Day One. There are still two remaining flights before the end of the first day of play.
Each player started with 50,000 chips ($10,000 buy-in x 5). Part of what makes the Main Event such a great tournament is the structure. While luck does play a factor, skill matters even more.
Gary Sewell from Duarte, California is the early chip leader (312,500). Being chip leader at the end of the first Day One flight means virtually nothing, however. The final table won’t even be announced until July 18.
Dan Shak, Phil Galfond, Neil Blumenfield, and David “Doc” Sands were among the big name pros already advancing to Day Two.
Tony Dunst can breathe a sigh of relief. He’s finally a WSOP gold bracelet winner. The television personality for the World Poker Tour conquered Event #63, the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em.
He had to earn this victory, beating out a massive field of 2,452 players. When heads-up play against Jason Rivkin began, Dunst had a large chip advantage. He never squandered that lead.
The WPT commentator earned $339,254. Rivkin, the runner-up, took home a nice consolation prize of $209,596.
We are down to the final table in Event #65, the $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship. The chip leader, Wendy Freedman, hopes to strike it rich in her hometown of Las Vegas. Amanda Baker, another Sin City resident, will be in 2nd place when play kicks off again on Sunday at noon. The tournament started with 819 players and has just nine remaining.
The One Drop wasn’t the only high roller event taking place at the Rio in Las Vegas on Saturday. Event #62, the $25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha played down to a winner.
That winner is Jens Kyllonen from Finland. He had never before won a WSOP gold bracelet and this was only his third career cash. He picked a good time to win. First place paid $1,127,035.
Tommy Le finished in 2nd. Dan Smith, the One Drop chip leader, finished 3rd. He’s still in search of his first career bracelet. Perhaps it will come on Sunday.