At the 2016 World Series of Poker, some days provide more interesting story lines than others. Day Nine, Thursday, was one of those, that’s for sure.
Pierre Neuville was the talk of the town for the second time in less than a year. The 73-year old Belgian is schooling some much younger players in Event #10, the $1,500 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em, just like he did in the 2015 Main Event.
Age is no impediment to folks like Neuville. He finished 7th out of 6,420 players in the Main Event last year, and is now among the final 21 out of 1,477 in Event #10. The former Lifetime Achievement Award winner at the European Poker Awards is making a fool of those who say you can’t play as well once you pass 40. Or 50. Ok, 60. How about 70? Yeah, right.
The senior citizen has his work cut out for him to get that bracelet, of course. Chip leader Javier Garcirreynaldos has nearly a six-to-one advantage, and Neuville finds himself in just 16th place at start of play at noon on Friday, the final of three days. Regardless of the outcome, the poker pro’s performance has been impressive.
The tournament will award a bracelet winner Friday, along with the $346,088 that goes with it.
Event #9 was one of the most anticipated tournaments of the summer, and now it has come to a conclusion. For $10,000, 153 players hopped into this no-limit hold’em heads-up tournament with a potential $320,574 payday up for grabs.
Alan Percal, after three days of play, emerged victorious. The champ, hailing from Florida, defeated California’s John Smith in his final match. Smith earned $198,192.
Talented pro and Global Poker League star Olivier Busquet made the semifinals and went home with $123,929. Sam Stein, Antonio Esfandiari, Jason Les, and Jared Jaffe were all among the 16 players who got paid.
For the great Scotty Nguyen, a sixth bracelet would show the poker world that he still has game. Once considered one of the best players in the world, Nguyen hasn’t had much success in recent years at the World Series of Poker.
But he’s off to an impressive start this summer. He cashed in the Colossus and finished 8th in Event #8, the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. on Thursday. Unfortunately, he was unable to claim his sixth career gold bracelet, but he did pull off an impressive run once again.
Ian Johns, on the other hand, did win the bracelet. He was the last man standing in a field of 778. This was his second career bracelet. His first came in 2006 in a limit hold’em tournament. Justin Bonomo was the runner-up. Considered one of the best players in poker today, Bonomo scored his 35th career WSOP cash, but fell just short of his second bracelet.
John Monnette has his sights set on winning his third career bracelet. Heading into the third and final day of Event #11, the $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship, he is 4th in chips (640,000), but well within striking range of chip leader Jean Gaspard (814,000).
Dan Smith, second in chips (707,000), is another well-respected pro who would love to win his first career bracelet. He’s accomplished basically everything else during his impressive career. Smith, Monnette, and Gaspard will battle it out for the title, along with eight other players, on Friday.
A $565 rebuy pot-limit Omaha tournament was bound to bring out some wild and crazy play. That certainly happened on Thursday, when 2,483 players entered Event #12.
Out of all those players, someone you’ve never heard of, Alexander Ahmed, sits at the top of the leaderboard at start of play with 517,000. But with 80 players left, many of whom are skilled at PLO, Ahmed had better bring his “A” game on Friday.
David “ODB” Baker, he of 49 cashes, is second in chips (482,000). Ahmed picked up his first career WSOP cash in this event. The winner is going to receive $190,328, and will do so on Friday.
Friday also marks the start of the popular Millionaire Maker tournament, Event #14. This four-day tournament (there are two starting days, Friday and Saturday) guarantees the winner and second-place finishers will both receive at least $1 million. That could pay for a lot of tournament buys ins.