This is what everyone came for: The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, the poker tournament that never seems to end. The place where dreams are created and nightmares handed out like rice on a wedding day; the time to turn $10k into $7-8m or to roll it up and smoke it like a joint.
The action has blasted through the first of three starting flights and all anybody cares about is the number. How many people have actually decided to buck the trend, ditch the need to be cool and turn up at the first time of asking?
In 2012, 1,066 players turned up on Day 1A, 2,114 on Day 1B and 3,418 on Day 1C; this year that magical number is 943-players. But what does that mean? Nothing. All we know is there will be more today, and even more tomorrow.
The chip leader on the first day of action was Evan Panesis. With just two live cashes on his record, Panesis must be enjoying his moment in the spotlight as he sits on top of the world. He finished the day with 190,975 chips and must surely be dreaming of cashing, an achievement that is the goal of 90% of this field.
The most notable players at the top end of the chip counts are Sergio Casteluccio (175,825), Max Lehmanski (136,850), Heinz Kamutzki (113,100) and Farzad Bonyadi (100,850). But who cares? In terms of a race they have only just left the blocks.
People who will start paying more attention to their loved ones are Soi Nguyen, Chino Rheem, TJ Cloutier, Pius Heinz, Jason Alexander, Lee Childs, Mike McDonald, Billy Baxter, Justin Bonomo, Scott Montgomery and Andy Bloch, all of them busting in the softest field of the year.
Alexey Rybin Leads the Final 32 in the $10k PLO
People say the best should be saved for last, and for a large majority of the poker playing fraternity, Event #61 $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) is the best way to cap a fine series of preliminary events.
386-players have created a total prize pool of $3,628,400 and the $852,692 up top is the sixth largest number one payout in the series. Day Three is about to begin and the same man who held that particular piece of rope at the end of Day Two is dragging along the final 32-players. I am, of course, talking about the Russian Alexey Rybin who starts the day with almost 200k more than his nearest rival Mike Watson.
This is the final World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet that is going to be distributed this summer, and all of the final 32-players have the capability of taking it down. It really is going to be a knock down, drag out affair with the likes of Johannes Strassman, Daniel Alaei, Jonathan Duhamel, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Alex Kravchenko, Tom Marchese, Nacho Barbero, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Stephen Chidwick and Joseph Cheong still in contention.
Nghi Tran Hoping to Make it Bracelet Number 11 For Canada
After earning over half a million dollars for the One Drop charitable organization it would be great to see the Little One for One Drop held on an annual basis. 4,756 players were attracted to the $1,111 multiple re-entry event, and after four days of action the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is set to crown it’s inaugural winner.
At the time of writing there are just five players remaining, and each of them are guaranteed a $163,340 prize, with $663,727 waiting for the player who can earn the title of last man seated.
The final jigsaw pieces include four Americans and a solitary Canadian as the action starts to get serious with $80k separating fourth from third. Nghi Tran is the Maple Leaf amongst four thorns, but he has a decent track record when it comes to earning six figure payouts. Tran finished fourth in a $1,000 WSOP event in 2012, earned another six figures after winning the Johnny Chan Poker Classic in his homeland back in 2007 and took a WSOP Circuit event back in Jan 2005 for $780,615. Tran currently lies in second place with 4.8m chips.
The chip leader is Brian Yoon with 5.7m chips. His best finish to date was a 58th place in the 2011 WSOP Main Event for $130,997. Roland Isrealashvili is in third place with 3.5m chips and once again this lad has got form. This is his fifth cash of the series, and he has also cashed in two Deepstack events at the Venetian. Add that to the 25th place finish in last years WSOP Main Event and a fifth place finish in the $50k Poker Players Championship and you won’t be surprised if he walks away with this title when all is said and done.
That leaves Justin Zaki who has also cashed five times at this years WSOP. Zaki is the shortest stack with 2.1m. His career best performance was a final table performance at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock back in 2011 where he cashed for $415,680.
The Sun Shines on Event #60
One of the most affable members of the poker circuit, Hiren ‘Sunny’ Patel, is busy leading Event #60: $1,500 as the day enters its third day of action. 2,541 players entered the final ‘small’ buy-in preliminary event of the series, and only 12-players remain at the time of writing.
Patel has just taken the chip lead after his ace-king has just managed to find the fortune it needed against the pocket kings of Yongjun Lu, and the ace-queen of Ryan Julius. One of the two aces left in the deck flew out on the flop and the double elimination handed Patel the lead with 1.57m chips. Patel made the final table of Event #14: $1,500 NLHE where he finished fourth for $140,143.
Other interesting names in the final 12 are Daniel Cascado who finished runner-up to Corey Harrison in Event #24: $1,500 NLHE; the Finnish player Mika Paasonen who has several major final table berths on his resume and Loni Harwood who finished fourth in Event #53: $1,500 NLHE who is hoping to become the second female to win an open event at this series.