Lee Davy gives you a breakdown of the main news stories emanating from the first day of the greatest tournament in the world: The $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event.
The numbers are in and they are on the low side.
741 players entered Day 1A of the $10,000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. It’s the lowest Day 1A field for…to be honest I stopped looking after I reached 2009. Please forgive me.
The mathematicians will have you believe that we are still on course to land somewhere in the region of the 6,683 that we hit last year, but I think we will fall short of that number by a few hundred. Just a gut feeling, but I must warn you that my gut isn’t very big.
“It’s the chance to become immortal. To become literally larger than life with your banner hanging from the wall.” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart told the impatient chip rifflers.
Only 470 survived, that means 270 had thoughts of hanging ‘literally’ from those banners that surround the poker room walls. We will go through the wall of shame in my analysis below (thanks to the sterling work of WSOP.com for the data).
For a poker player, this is the holy grail. It’s the event that puts lead into everyone’s pencil. There is this dreamy suffocation about it. There is no feeling like it. $10,000 is a lot of money. But the enchantment of this contest makes it easier to find.
Last year the world got to see the coming of age of Martin Jacobson. The good-looking Swede with cheekbones chiseled out of the good God rock, biceps that crunch walnuts, and a game that is second to none. But even a healthy specimen like the Swede can fall ill sometimes. The World Champion couldn’t get out of bed to do his ‘Shuffle Up and Deal’ duties and so Donnacha O’Dea was dragged off the subs bench to take his place. I have read that O’Dea has been coming to the WSOP since 1982, and he only missed one year, when his daughter was born. That’s what I call dedication.
It took 30-minutes for the first person to want to put his head into a pan of boiling water, peel his face off, and hand it that strange monk who hangs around in the Game of Thrones.
Mohammed Ayyash got a little excitable with a pair of aces, Barny Boatman got equally excitable when Ayyash moved all-in on [8c] [6s] [4h] [Qc] (Boatman held queens), and a dead river card later Boatman was left spouting: “I have never seen aces played like that before.” Boatman was the early chip leader, but he would lose the lot by the end of the day.
By the second break of the day Kevin Schaffel was leading the way. Patrick Leonard bowed out: AJss v KQdd (queen on the flop and king on the river), and Ralph Perry went out after running AQss into the pocket kings of Richard Barabino.
The World Champion of the online world, Fedor Holz, had a great day. He sent someone to the rail AA v JJ on Q534, with all the money going in on the turn, to be one of the first players to exceed the 100k mark. He would end the day as one of the chip leaders.
Tony Cousineau has one of those WSOP records that people would rather wipe their ass with. He has cashed 72 times and never won a bracelet. He won’t be making it 73, and that zero is not going to rock up to number one. Cousineau getting it in with those aces, only to run into Jeremy Ausmus holding pocket tens, flopping a third ten and rivering the fourth.
Then we lost the most chilled out man in the universe. Andrew Lichtenberger left the Rio surrounded by butterflies and the sound of Om after running pocket kings into pocket aces, or the other way around, I’m not totally sure, but the Grizzly Bear following the Woodland Elf out of the room said it was AA v KK of some description.
At the dinner break it was Mel Wiener leading the way. Wiener…that makes me life like a schoolboy painting his mints with correction fluid and then passing them to his teacher. Fedor Holz, Brandon Steven and Kevin Schaffel were also there or there abouts. Chris Klodnicki, Alex Fitzgerald and Jason Mo were not.
After the break we lost two impressive specimens. Only Brian Rast, Scott Seiver and Jonathan Duhamel have won more money than Erik Seidel in 2015. He would have been a great bet for a deep run, but all that ended at the hands of James Baker. Seidel making a move on J74ddd, holding KJcc, and Baker calling with AJhh. It held. Seidel was out.
Andy Bloch followed when he got his short stack in with A8cc, and was called off, and bitten off by the AQhh of Matthew Petit. Then we saw the giant frame of Jorryt van Hoof start to beat the crap out of everyone. He eliminated Matthew Lapossie flush v straight to take the chip lead going into the last break of the day. This was the time we lost Barny Boatman; Fabrice Soulier and Erik Cajelais joining him on the most angst filled rail of the year.
Billy Baxter told my wife that he is the luckiest man in the world, and that poker has always been very kind to him. It wasn’t today. He got it in good, holding QJss on KT4sss, only for the pocket fours of Alex Tran to fill up on fourth street to send the seven-time bracelet winner home.
As the evening drew to a close James Calderaro’s AQ was tripped up by the pocket fives of Chris Herrin; John Morgan’s top pair was not good enough against the trips of Fadi Barakeh, and Josh Arieh flopped a set, but watched in anguish as his opponent rivered a bigger one. All three like eyeless little dolls as they wandered into the Las Vegas night like extras in a George Romero movie.
Oh I nearly forgot…
William Kakon, the young man who won his first bracelet this year, was the chip leader when all was said and done. Keep an eye on Dario Sammartino as well though. What? Because he’s a good poker player? Nah…he’s a good-looking kid. The type built out of that same God rock as Martin Jacobson.
Top 10 Chip Counts
1st. William Kakon – 152,325
2nd. Gjergj Sinishtaj – 149,100
3rd. Alex Tran – 142,700
4th. Tomas Altamirano – 141,700
5th. Patrick Madden – 140,500
6th. Gabriel Monthan – 137,175
7th. Tom Bedell – 134,900
8th. Charles Sylvestre – 133,025
9th. Dario Sammartino – 129,850
10th. Stephen Costello – 125,825
Other notables through include Fedor Holz (117,800), John Monnette (98,750) and Jorryt van Hoof (90,650).