On the 23rd day of the 2016 World Series of Poker, a world champion became the center of attention once again. And two players walked away with gold bracelets.
Joe McKeehen, the 2015 Main Event champ, is back in the spotlight in Event #38, the $3,000 Limit Hold’em. After two days of play, only Matt Matros has a larger chip stack. Since winning the Main Event last November, he’s drawn some criticism for his rather brusque social media style.
He is an avid poster on Twitter, often providing his takes on poker issues. Or, as some might say, complaining. McKeehen blamed the media in April for the 2016 WSOP events starting earlier than in previous years. He said the media forced the WSOP to make the change, which has since been proven untrue.
Like him or not, Joe is a world-class poker player and could win the second bracelet of his career on Friday. There are eight players left, which means after the first two bust, we’ll be down to the final table.
If you’ve never watched Michael Gathy play poker, or don’t even recognize the name, it’s time to get acquainted. The Belgian now has three bracelets in his career after taking down Event #35, the $5,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em.
He’s now won almost $2 million in live tournaments throughout his career. Gathy defeated Adrian Allain in an intense heads-up battle.
When play began, Allain had a slight chip lead, but was quickly overtaken. Gathy had his opponent on the ropes at one point, holding nearly a 10-1 chip advantage. But the eventual runner-up kept hanging around, waiting for an opportunity to rally.
That opportunity never came. After 77 hands of heads-up play, the Belgian was crowned champion. He took home $560,843. Allain received $346,632.
Hani Awad finished 2nd last year in the $2,500 Omaha/Stud Hi-Low 8 or Better event. He lost heads-up to Konstantin Maslak. Even though he won $166,583, he was disappointed he didn’t get to go home with the bracelet.
On Thursday, he found himself in a similar position in the exact same event, except this time his heads-up opponent Fabrice Soulier, one of the top French poker pros of all-time. When heads-up play began, Awad held nearly a 3-1 chip advantage. He was never surrendered that lead and won his first career bracelet.
Event #33, $1,500 Summer Solstice has gone from 1,840 to two players in a matter of four days. Koray Aldemir and Adrian Mateos will battle it out for the bracelet on Friday.
The two began heads-up play on Thursday, but were cut off by the 1:00 am curfew. Aldemir has 7,515,000 chips. His opponent bagged 6,280,000. The winner, on top of getting one of the coveted gold bracelets, will receive a check for $409,171.
Friday is the start of the much-anticipated Event #41, the $1,500 Monster Stack No-Limit Hold’em. This event is expected to draw a massive crowd. There will be two Day One starting flights. The second flight is on Saturday. Players are only allowed to enter this tournament once.
Event #42, the $3,000 Shootout No-Limit Hold’em will also kick off. This tournament has a cap of 2,000 entrants.