At the 2016 World Series of Poker on Friday, it was all about the ladies. A bracelet win by Russia’s Safiya Umerova yesterday made it two poker queens in two days who swept major, large-field events at this year’s Series.
Umerova, who is 28 and lives in Southern California, won her first career gold bracelet in Event #50, the $1,500 Shootout No-Limit Hold’em. She got a nice $264,046 payday for her efforts. Scotland’s Niall Farrell was the runner-up for $163,158, and Michael Mixer busted out in 3rd for a $118,109 payday.
Umerova plays frequently in Los Angeles, and may now be devoting more time to her tournament life going forward. She joins Kristen Bicknell, who conquered Event #46, the $1,500 Bounty No-Limit Hold’em only the day before, as one of the only two women who have won events so far this year at the World Series of Poker.
Event #54, the $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold’em, is already proving to be one of the most exciting events of the summer. After the first two of four Day One flights, 1,525 players were signed up by end of day on Friday.
This tournament guarantees an $888K cash for first place, a reflection of the event’s sponsor in online site 888poker. Each table throughout the event will have eight players. The relatively low buy-in (you guessed it: $888) and re-entry format made for some crazy action at the tables on Friday.
While some of the big name pros stayed away from such a “cheap” tournament, others entered and busted quickly. That included Phil Laak, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, and Antonio Esfandiari.
Some familiar names had already cashed after Day One, including Cate Hall, Dietrich Fast, Pratyush Buddiga, and Jake Schwartz. Loni Harwood, Allen Kessler, and Jason Les bagged chips and will be coming back for Day Two. There will be two more Day One starting flights on Saturday. Day Two begins Sunday.
For many high stakes poker pros, Event #55, the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, is the main attraction of the summer. The tournament has been around since 2006. The late great Chip Reese was the inaugural winner.
Mike Gorodinsky, the 2015 WSOP Player of the Year, won the event last year for $1,270,086. Jean-Robert Bellande finished in 2nd place. The talent-stacked final table also included David Baker, Ben Sulsky, and Jason Mercier.
This year’s Poker Players Championship will, again, bring out some of the biggest stars in the game. That includes Mercier, who currently leads the Player of the Year standings and is searching for his third event win of the summer.
John Hennigan, also a recent bracelet winner, won this event in 2014. Michael Mizrachi is the only two-time winner (2010 and 2012). Freddy Deeb (2007), Scotty Nguyen (2008), David Bach (2009), Brian Rast (2011), and Matthew Ashton (2013) have also won the event. Each year, first place has paid seven-figures. Nguyen’s victory in 2008 was the biggest score of them all ($2,276,832).
Final tables are expected to take place on Saturday at the Rio in Event #52, the $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em and Event #53, the $1,500 Mixed Games. We are down to six players in Event #51, the $10,000 8-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha. A winner will be decided on Saturday.
Have a safe and happy July Fourth weekend, everyone.