2016 World Series of Poker Daily Update:  Johnnie Craig Wins Seniors Event, Glantz Fights for Bracelet

June 21st, 2016 | by Greg Shaun

It’s hard to believe the 2016 World Series of Poker is almost three weeks in. The Series always seems to fly by. But on Day 20, poker fans were treated to, as usual, some exciting action.

That included Event #29, the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em. This tournament was intended to end on Monday, but a seemingly endless heads-up match ensued. Play will resume today at noon PT.

Johnnie Craig WSOP 2016

It was a first bracelet for US Army veteran and restaurant owner Johnnie Craig of Texas in Event #27, the $1,000 Seniors championship. (Image: WSOP.com)

You may not be familiar with the last two players standing in this one: Jens Grieme and Alexander Ziskin. But if you watched the heads-up match, you saw some intense, back-and-forth play between two highly skilled poker players.

The two battled for more than 200 hands after Kam Low busted in 3rd place. Neither seemed to wear down or give in throughout the as-yet-unfinished heads-up match.

When the tournament reached its final two players, Ziskin had 7,200,000 chips and Grieme had 6,000,000. After a long battle, Grieme will enter Day Four with 7,790,000 and Ziskin with 5,690,000. The bracelet and $401,494 could go either way, so stay tuned.

Matt Glantz Hopes for First Bracelet

Matt Glantz is considered one of the best high-stakes players in the world. He’s also had some success at the World Series of Poker, having cashed 41 times in his career, but he’s never won a bracelet. Yet.

To truly get recognition around the poker community, a player must win at least one bracelet. Glantz will have the opportunity to do so on Tuesday.

He will start Day Three of Event #32, the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split/8 or Better championship with the chip lead (1,066,000 chips). There are just 16 remaining players out of 163 who started the event on Sunday. First place is set to pay $407,194.

But for someone like Glantz, that money is (almost) secondary. He’s already won big bucks in tournaments and cash games throughout his poker career. At this point, the only thing he has yet to accomplish is winning a WSOP title. Maybe today will be the day.

Glantz is far from the only big name pro left in the field, though. Daniel Alaei, Todd Brunson, and Eli Elezra are also in the top five in chip counts.

And, of course, we must mention that Jason Mercier (who is 8th in chips) is still in it. Mercier is hoping for another heater on Tuesday so that he can win his third bracelet of the summer, which would be a stunning accomplishment.

Restaurant Owner Wins Seniors Event

Johnnie Craig, a 54-year old restaurant owner, is going to head back to his home in Baytown, Texas with an extra $538,204 to his name.

Craig took down Event #27, the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em on Monday, defeating Jamshid Lofti heads-up for the title. This was his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet.

The champion spent 25 years in the Army. He served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. On top of being a hero and business owner, Craig is now a World Series of Poker champion. That’s a lot of glory to hold onto.

Russia in the House

Congratulations are also in order for Russia’s Viatcheslav Ortynskiy. He picked up the gold bracelet in Event #30, the $3,000 Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha.

Ortynskiy is a first-time bracelet winner, but has been a successful poker pro for quite some time. He had already won more than $300,000 in his WSOP career prior to this event. But now he’s won $695,151 at the summer series since 2012.

On Board for Today

Ready for some more exciting WSOP action? Look no further than Event #35, the $5,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em and Event #36, the $2,500 Mixed Omaha/Stud Hi-Low. Both tournaments will get rolling on Tuesday. Assuming everything goes as planned, a winner in those events will be awarded on Thursday.

And Event #33, the inaugural Summer Solstice, continues on in Day Two with 445 of 1,840 original entrants from Monday. Brazil’s Bruno Vendramini will have the top chip count when play resumes at noon PT, and he’ll have to beat quite a few top players to hold that spot, including Olivier Busquet in the #5 spot, as well as Scott Davies (#11), and Kathy Liebert (#29), to name but a few. This is five-day event, so there’s still a ways to go before the $2,484,000 prize pool gets distributed.


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