When it comes to the World Series of Poker, there’s no doubt that the allure of the event is tied deeply into its star players. And over the last decade, no star has shined brighter than that of Phil Ivey. Widely regarded as the world’s greatest all-around poker player, Ivey had nine WSOP bracelets in his career heading into this year, and there was little doubt he’d be adding to his collection in the years to come.
Sure enough, Ivey captured bracelet number 10 this summer, as he took down the $1,500 Eight-Game Mix tournament this week. The prize money of $167,332 was certainly nice, but joining Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan in a tie for second in the all-time bracelet list (trailing only Phil Hellmuth, who has 13) was the more exciting achievement for the poker superstar.
Doyle is one of my poker idols,” Ivey told WSOP.com. “When I first came to Las Vegas, him and Chip [Reese], we were all playing poker, so it’s very meaningful to tie him.”
The next question, of course, is whether or not Ivey can catch Hellmuth by the end of their respective careers.
“Sure, I think I can catch him,” Ivey said. “It’s possible. We just have to see how it goes. I just have to keep on playing at this pace. I got to keep playing a lot of them because he plays a lot of them, so it’s a lot of work.”
Perhaps the most prestigious tournament at the WSOP, in terms of the respect earned by the winner, is the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship. This year, the title went to John Hennigan, who picked up his third career WSOP bracelet and over $1.5 million by standing atop the field of 102 players. This was the second consecutive final table appearance in this event for Hennigan, who finished third last year.
“I didn’t even realize the magnitude of the situation last year when I got third, and to come back this year and win it, it’s amazing,” Hennigan told WSOP.com. “It’s a very fulfilling moment to win this tournament.”
This year’s Poker Players Championship also saw history made. Melissa Burr finished in 7th place ($165,435), which not only marked her third final table of this year’s WSOP, but also made her the first woman to cash in and make the final table in the nine-year history of the PPC.
A field of 42 players turned out for the 2nd ever Big One for One Drop, the $1 million buy-in tournament that benefits the One Drop charity. While $111,111 from each entry went to the charity (which raised over $4.6 million as a result), there’s also a $37.3 million prize pool at stake, with $15.3 million of that going to the eventual winner.
The end of Day 1 saw several notable players dotting the leaderboard, with 2012 runner-up Sam Trickett grabbing the early chip lead. Also in the top ten are defending champion Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Ivey, Noah Schwartz, David Sands, Phil Galfond and Daniel Negreanu. A total of 31 players were still in contention heading into the second day of the event, with the top eight earning prizes that start at just over $1.3 million.