When you have a chance to win $1.8 million in a prop bet, you don’t give up easily. Just ask Jason Mercier.
Prior to the start of the 2016 World Series of Poker, Mercier made a wager with Vanessa Selbst. She gave him 180-1 odds on a $10,000 bet that he wouldn’t win three bracelets this summer. Selbst has since hedged her bet to ensure she couldn’t lose too much.
Mercier won a pair of bracelets early on in the 2016 WSOP, and nearly won a third, giving Vanessa quite a sweat. But he still hasn’t accomplished his goal of three, and is now down to his last opportunity.
Event #69, the $1,111 Little One for One Drop, is the final bracelet event of the year, besides the now-in-Day-Two Main Event. Players may re-buy as many times as they would like for all three of the Day One starting flights.
Mercier has made full use of that option, buying in four times for flight 1A on Tuesday at the Rio in Las Vegas. He didn’t bag chips. That means he’ll have to come back on Wednesday, and possibly Thursday, to attempt to make Day Two. He’s already said he plans to continue firing away at this event.
Being the chip leader at the end of Day Two of the Main Event and 75 cents will buy you a USA Today. But don’t tell that to Valentin Vornicu. The eight-time WSOP Circuit gold ring winner has a huge chip lead with half of the Day Two players set to hit the felt on Wednesday.
Vornicu had 838,600 chips by end of play on Tuesday, which is nearly 300,000 more than anyone else who finished Day 2A/B. If that chip lead doesn’t hold up until the start of Day Three on Thursday, we’ll be surprised.
Despite having so many chips, Vornicu still hasn’t won a penny in this event and is guaranteed nothing. But he’s definitely in a better position than anyone else at this point.
Greg Raymer won the Main Event in 2004. The next year, he finished 25th. This year, Fossil Man has made it to Day Three, so far.
He’ll come back to the Rio on Thursday with 179,800 chips. He isn’t among the chip leaders, but he does have an above-average chip stack and is a double-up away from getting into contention. His victory in the Main Event in 2004 is his only career bracelet to date. Maybe he’ll go on another heater this coming week and do it all over again.
Antonio Esfandiari (327,400), Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier (278,200), Anthony Zinno (209,300), and Matt Glantz (169,000) are also in great shape heading into Day Three. Vanessa Selbst moved on as well, but has just 55,600 chips left. She’ll need to double-up at some point on Day Three, and possibly twice, if she expects to cash.
Esfandiari had a great day on Tuesday. He dominated his table, thanks to solid play and the deck falling his way. The Magician is one of the most popular, not to mention the best bankrolled, high stakes pros in the world.
Day Two will conclude on Wednesday. Players from Day 1C will come back to the Rio and then we’ll let you know how many players are left at the start of Day Three. As it stands, 3,992 of the 6,737 entrants still have a shot to win the bracelet, including the defending champ, Joe McKeehen. That number will drop significantly after Day Two concludes.