Audrey Zaichenko of Moscow acquired more chips than anyone else in Day 1B of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. Perhaps that name sounds familiar. You may recall he won Event #34, the $1,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball, last month.
Zaichenko has 292,700 chips, which is almost six times the original starting stack of 50,000. The Day 1A chip leader, Gary Sewell, has 312,500. Monday is the final Day One flight for this year’s Main Event. On Tuesday, Day Two begins.
Plenty of big name pros were among the 1,733 entrants on Sunday. The legendary Johnny Chan, the 1987 and 1988 Main Event champ, left the Rio with (160,800).
Another former champ, Greg Raymer, had a great day as well. The 2004 winner finished with 116,700 chips. He got off to a horrible start. His stack dwindled down to close to 20,000, but then he went on a steady heater throughout the rest of the day.
It’s already been a great summer for Justin Bonomo, and Sunday made it even better. He will bring a healthy chip stack (145,300) back on Tuesday. Bonomo has four top three finishes in WSOP events this summer.
Unless Jason Mercier wins the Main Event, Vanessa Selbst won’t lose big in her side bet. So she should be feeling pretty good right about now, especially since she ended Day One with 133,900.
Chris Ferguson, who won the Series back in 2000, continued to disappoint many at the Rio by playing well and advancing to Day Two. Everyone’s least favorite poker player has 80,300 chips, and will be facing a table full of players who want nothing more than to bust him.
Prior to Sunday, Courtney Kennedy would tell people she is a 37-year old poker dealer from Detroit, Michigan. But now she can also say, “I’m a World Series of Poker champion.”
Kennedy outlasted 819 other women in Event #65, the $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em championship to take some new jewelry and $149,108 in cash. She exceeded even her own expectations, as she told it to WSOP.com after her glorious win.
“When we all cashed, I was excited just to do that,” Kennedy said afterwards. “I cashed – so I’m good is what I thought. . . I never saw this coming.”
Kennedy had never so much as cashed in a WSOP event. In fact, she was arguably the least experienced tournament player at the final table. But sometimes experience means less than running and playing well. Clearly, her time as a poker dealer has served her well in terms of learning what to do and what to avoid.
Rainer Kempe, a fellow German pro, may be the only one who can stop 22-year old Fedor Holz. Kempe did so in a heads-up match last month in the $300,000 buy-in Aria Super High Roller Bowl.
Fedor beat out a tough field of 183 top players in the prestigious Event #67, the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop. He overcame Dan Smith heads-up for the bracelet, the first of his young career. Smith, another top pro, is still in search of his first.
Holz won $3.5 million for 2nd place in the Aria Super High Roller Bowl earlier this summer. On Sunday, he made just a shade under $5 million. Lifetime, he has more than $18 million in live tournament winnings, and he’s only 22 years old.
The final table was quite entertaining. Holz went on a crazy heater with six players remaining. He busted every contender, including 2015 Main Event champ Joe McKeehen, who went out in 6th place.
There were 69 gold bracelets to be awarded this summer, and 66 have already been claimed. Only the Main Event, Event #66, the $1,000 WSOP.com Online Poker Championship, and Event #69, the $1,111 Little One for One Drop.
Play resumes with the six final players at the Rio in the WSOP.com bracelet event on Monday.