by Joseph Smith Sr.
The most prestigious poker tournament in the world began today when the first day of Day 1 welcomed thousand of players and shortly after high noon 2006 Main Event Champion Joseph Hachem gave the that famous command, “Shuffle up and Deal!” And just like that the cards were in the air and all those thousands of hopefuls sitting behind identical stacks of 30,000 in play money, all daydreaming of owning the fabled Championship bracelet for 2014.
No-Limit Hold'em is the game for the Main Event. Due to the overwhelming number of entrants Day 1 has been divided into three flights, A-B-or-C. Day 2 will also be played as 3 flights, A-B-or-C. Day 3 (7th day of Main Event play) will combine the field into one group for the remainder of the tournament. The group will continue play for day 4, Day 5, Day 6 and on Day 7 play will end when the final November Nine is reached.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
A $1,500 buy-in tournament with two controlling parameters, six handed tables and a rotation of 10 different poker formats. The ten different games are no-limit 2-7 single draw, 2-7 triple draw, razz, pot-limit Omaha, Omaha eight-or-better, stud, stud hi-lo eight-or-better, limit hold'em, no-limit hold'em and badugi.
Most poker players will have some knowledge of the 10 listed games or at least 9 of the 10. How about the last one, badugi? Can you offer an explanation of how this game is played? Did you know that it was probably first played in Korea?
Here's our quickie explanation of the game. It's a variation of triple draw poker with the winning hand values of lowball. A major difference between badugi and other poker formats is the number of cards to make a hand. In other poker games the best hand is determined by the best 5 cards. In badugi the best 4 cards make up the hand. The best badugi hand would be an A234 of different suits. The worst hand would be KKKK since Aces are the lowest card. Badugi is considered to be an excellent pot builder.
The game was first offered at the WSOP in 2011. Today's event attracted 445 entrants and built a prize pool of $600,750 paid to the top 48 finishers. The winner receives $153,220 plus a WSOP gold bracelet. Among the notables making the money were Allen Cunningham, Marcel Luske, Brandon Shack-Harris, Mel Judah and Phil Laak.
Heads-up found Bryn Kenney of New York facing Jan Suchanek from Nelson, New Zealand. Kenney enjoyed a 3-to-1 chip lead and needed less than 10 minutes to claim the WSOP gold and cash.
Jan Suchanek will head south with an extra $94,618 in his pocket.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
They're playing stud poker over at the WSOP going on now at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. They're playing the world's Championship of Seven Card Stud poker. The Championship event began with 102 players laying $10,000 each for a seat in this classic format poker event.
A prize pool of $958,800 scheduled for prorated distribution to the top 16 finishers and one World Series of Poker gold bracelet awaited the conclusion of the contest. Although the field was small by WSOP standards the final table included some of tournament poker's brightest stars headed up by thirteen bracelet holder Phil Hellmuth plus Todd Brunson, the son of poker's most celebrated statesmen.
A further scan of the list of the sixteen players in the money revealed even more well known pros including John Cernuto (14th), Barry Greenstein (13th) and Nikolay Losev (12th).
Heads-up play between Todd Brunson and Matt Grapenthien began with Brunsoin holding a 2-to-1 chip advantage. Following the first break Grapenthien cruised into a slight lead which was short lived as Brunson came right back and evened the chip count. After 2 hours of heads-up play the chip stacks were close to even. Matt Grapenthien began to steadily move Brunson's chips across the table and then all of the chips were in the pot and Brunson was against the wall.
Grapenthien showed the bigger pair and Brunson left in second place taking $165,891 for second place. Matt Grapenthien joins the WSOP gold bracelet club and also takes away $268,473 in cash plus the title of World's best Seven Card Stud player.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
A sad day for the world of poker. Well known poker player Chad Brown lost his battle with cancer on July 2, 2014 and moved on to the big game. He was a multitalented individual that had an ability to master most anything he attempted.
He was known throughout the entertainment world and he also made a name for himself in sports. Poker became his primary pursuit during his final years. He won a big event during the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker and finished second in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship invitational event. In 2014 he was awarded a WSOP gold bracelet for his contributions to poker.
Over the years I have photographed Chad in numerous poker events and circumstances. He always exhibited class and was a true gentleman without regard to the moment. He always had time to meet and greet fans.
Chad Brown was truly a class act and will be sorely missed.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
One more Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better event finished early Thursday morning. This one had a $3,000 buy-in and gathered 457 entrants to do battle for some cash and most especially a piece of WSOP gold. A $1,247,610 prize pool awaited the top 54 finishers with the winner schedule to receive $286,976 in cash and a year's worth of bragging rights.
Among the notables was a familiar poker pro and the 2004 Main Event runner-up, David Williams, cashing out in 6th place. Additional poker pros making the cash out line was Brandon Shack-Harris, James van Alstyne, Chino Rheem and Justin Bonomo.
Event #59 finally came to a conclusion a few minutes after 2 AM when Zack Milchman had all his remaining chips in the pot and couldn't beat Phillip Hui's pair of Tens. Milchman of Delray Beach, Florida collected $177,609 for second place.
Phillip Hui received $286,076 in cash is now the owner of a 2014 WSOP champions gold bracelet which he will proudly show to all his family and friends back home in San Antonio, Texas.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Those wondering about the format of this tournament have faith, it's easily explained. The event is a No-Limit Hold'em and the part that makes it unique from all other No-Limit Hold'em tournament is the maximum number of players at each table.
Day 1 began with nine players at each table then on Day 2 the tables go to six players and on the final Day 3 the tables are four-handed until down to the last four at which point the match becomes a heads-up event. This is the same format as an earlier $25,000 buy-in Event #2 won by Vanessa Selbst The Mix Max format was introduced during the 2013 WSOP.
The final heads-up match occurred between Jared Jaffee and Mike Watson. Watson had to battle his way from behind when he played the semi-final match against Mark Herm and prevailed after coming desperately close to elimination. But, this second match with Jared Jaffee sitting across the felt didn't include another miracle come-from-behind save.
The two traded the chip lead back and forth but eventually Jaffee pulled ahead. The final hand saw Watson with pocket Jacks to Jaffee's Ace - 6 of clubs. The board gave Jaffee the winning 8 high straight to trump Watson's Jacks and he alone stood atop the field of 1,475 starters. Winner Jared Jaffee collected $405,428 from the $1,991,250 prize pool and his first WSOP gold bracelet.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
We have pointed out the popularity of No-Limit Hold'em poker many times while covering the 2014 World Series of Poker. If you offer the “Cadillac” of tournament poker games it doesn't matter a great deal how much or little the buy-in they will come and stand in line with their seat money in their hands. Having just witnessed a $1 million buy-in event that pulled in 42 players we now move to a $1 thousand buy-in that sold 2,525 seats.
These lower buy-in tournaments typically break the money bubble on Day 1 and event #56 was no exception having reached the 270 players scheduled to be paid from the $2,272,500 prize pool in the day's final level.
The additive allure of WSOP gold bracelets seeds the list of entrants with well known pros players seeking the gold. With the large fields even the lowest rung of buy-ins creates huge prize pools and again, event #56 was no exception offering the winner $403,482 in cash. It may not be the $15 million up for grabs in The Big One for One Drop but it will certainly help to pay the bills and pad the play bank.
Today's poker player to cash in the $1,000 poker jackpot and walk away with a WSOP gold bracelet and $403,483 in cash was Mike Kachan of Edina, MN. He defeated Jeff Blenkarn heads-up in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Blenkarn will be sitting on $250,815 as he makes his way back home to Rockford, MI.
Come on down to the Rio in Las Vegas, we're keeping your WSOP seat warm for you.
by Joseph C. Smith Sr.
A poker tournament with a prize pool totaling $37,333,338. And that's after $111,111 from each of the 42 entrants $1 million buy-in which totals $4,666,662 is set aside for the One Drop Foundation. Arithmetically inclined readers will be quick to note when you add the prize pool and the One Drop donation you get exactly $42 million. So how much goes to the house? None! Harrah's WSOP is not taking any of the money.
This 3 Day event offered plenty of exciting and often humorous moments. Amazing how at this level of poker the players can be so casual about anything considering the amount of money at stake. The top eight finishers received at least $1,306,667 in cash. Even after deducting the original $1 million buy-in some serious money remains.
Day 3 saw the field of 42 cut to just 2 players with chips. A 23-year-old Daniel Colman from Holden, MA faced 5 WSOP bracelet veteran Daniel Negreanu. Going into the heads-up play Colman held the chip lead with 68 and a half million to Negreanu's 57 and a half million. Five hands later Negreanu had the chip lead with 73 and a half million to Colman's 52 and a half million. Nrgreanu continued to stretch his lead and was holding a 2 to 1 advantage then the momentum reversed and quickly colman was ahead.
Negreanu pulled ahead one more time then Colman pulled ahead and continue to pad his lead. He never looked back after that and finally Negreanu shoved his remaining chips into the pot holding Ace-4o and was called and covered by Colman tableing a K-Qo. The flop showed J-A-4 giving Negreanu two pair and the lead and Colman needing a 10 for a straight. The turn was a 10 giving Colman the lead and a straight and leaving Negreanu in desperate need of an Ace or 4. The river was a 7 and Colman was the owner of a very special WSOP bracelet and $15,306.668 in cash. He's also in the poker history book as the winner of the second largest cash prize in a poker tournament.
Daniel Negreanu received $8,288,001 for second.
By Wendeen H. Eolis
Until moments after the 2009 WSOP final table proceedings in the fall, Jeffrey Pollack was the public face of the WSOP. And then, suddenly, he announced his resignation and rushed off to take interviews that controlled the immediate spin on his departure. He said he was ready to survey opportunities in new pastures and pleased to have contributed to the growth of the WSOP brand.
Despite the happy state of affairs effectuated by the Pollack-Stewart collaboration, the collegiality between the two men had begun to wane at least a year earlier. A corporate reorganization of CIE was also afoot. Although Pollack had recommended a strong initiative in the online gaming market, and sought to add this responsibility to his portfolio, Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman was zooming in on Mitch Garber, the recently departed CEO of Party Gaming, to lead such an effort.
Mitch Garber Steps up to Bat
Pollack’s unveiled opposition to Garber as his potential boss made for an awkward situation once Garber was plainly in line to take the reins of CIE (initially Harrahs Interactive Entertainment), including Pollack's most treasured domain, the WSOP.
In the spring of 2009, Garber became CEO of CIE. With Garber's blessings, Pollack assumed the title of President of CIE, briefly. But, Garber was running the show and relying on others as he built his team. In the fall of 2009, Pollack resigned. Garber tapped Stewart as his replacement.
Stewart Shines Brighter under Garber
by Joseph Smith Sr.
When was the last time the final two heads-up players had chip counts of 80,200,000 and 37,550,000? How about in a $1,500 buy-in event? This is exactly the situation in event #51 of the 2014 World Series of Poker happening now at the Rio Resort in Las Vegas.
It's the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack that pulled in 7,862 entrants and created a prize pool of $10,613,700 paid to the top 792 finishers. The winner receiving an incredible $1,327,083 for their $1,500 investment plus one of the WSOP gold bracelets.
The wild success of this format is certain to not only be repeated in coming years but will likely be expanded to more than one event. Each of the starters receive 15,000 in play money and then attempt to survive the three days of play and become the latest WSOP millionaire.
When the dealing was done Hugo Pingray held every one of the 117,750,000 tournament chips in play. He also laid claim to the winner's pile of cash totaling $1,327,083 and his first WSOP gold bracelet. Pingray will also have an interesting story to tell his fellow travelers as he wings it home to Switzerland.
Joseph McKeehen collected $820,863 for second place.