On Monday, the World Series of Poker’s October Nine reconvened after a three-month hiatus to do battle for the $8.5m main event payday. Seven hours later, the field had been whittled down to three: Greg Merson is chip leader with a stack of 88.35m chips, followed by Jesse Sylvia with 62.75m and 21-year-old Jacob Balsiger short-stacked at 46.875m. A Balsiger win would make him the WSOP’s youngest ever main event champ, but Merson was looking like the man of the hour on Monday. Will his momentum hold when the trio retake their seats Tuesday? ESPN will be carrying 15-minute delayed coverage starting at 6pm local time.
In other WSOP news, the $1m buy-in Big One For One Drop event will have its second go-round at the 2014 WSOP. Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, who launched the mega-high-roller event to benefit his One Drop charitable foundation, made the announcement during Monday night’s main event broadcast. Antonio Esfandiari won this summer’s inaugural Big One For One Drop event, collecting a whopping $18.35m for his troubles. To tide players over until 2014, Laliberté announced the 2013 WSOP would feature a new event, the Little One For One Drop, a $1,111 buy-in with unlimited re-entries over two starting days. Laliberté was inducted into the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame last week.
While most of the poker world’s eyes are on the Rio in Las Vegas, the live poker action hasn’t stopped in other corners of the globe. On Monday, Tim Hartmann won the 2012 Irish Winter Festival to claim the €100k prize. The Paddy Power Poker-sponsored event attracted a field of 385 to Dublin’s Burlington Hotel, with Polish runner-up Patryk Pietnoczko being the last to withstand Hartmann’s date with destiny. Following a three-hour heads-up battle, Pietnoczko settled for €56.5k, while Ronan Gilligan took €35k for finishing third.
Even further away from the Rio, 345 players showed up at the Crown Casino to contest the 2012 PokerStars.net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT) Melbourne main event. The title went to semi-pro player Paul Hockin, who earned $101k for defeating Ashley Warner heads-up. However, due to a three-way deal, Warner (who held a deceptively comfortable chip-lead at the time) ended up with $130k, while Michael Guzzardi earned $112k. But hey… a deal’s a deal.
Finally, Taiwan’s Raymond Wu has won the first event at the 2012 Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) at the Grand Waldo Casino in Macau. Wu earned H$419k (US $54k) for outlasting 191 other players at the HK $10k Deepstack Championship. The UK’s Iqbal Ahmed was runner-up, earning HK $282k while Korea’s Vivian Im took third and $171k.