Event #16: MILLIONAIRE MAKER $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
The 7,275 players who started the Millionaire Maker have been whittled down to 17. The level of poker skill in the few survivors is high. Second in chips is two-time bracelet winner Erick Lindgren with David Miscikowski, Mike Sexton and Olivier Busquet all in the top six on the leaderboard.
The chip leader is Randy Pfeifer from New York with 6,565,000 chips. He has already put two cashes under his belt in this year’s WSOP, including a tenth place finish in Event #14, the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout.
Event #17: $10,000 Razz Championship
Phil Hellmuth has won a record 14th bracelet, his second in a Razz event. The final table bracelet count was 17 when they all sat down, 13 of which had been won by Hellmuth.
“I think I figured something out about razz in maybe 2012,” said Hellmuth. “All of a sudden the game just clicked. I was like ‘Wow, this game just makes sense.’ Then I won a razz bracelet!”
“I lost a friend about a month ago, Dave Goldberg,” Hellmuth told reporters after his victory. I’m going to give this bracelet to his wife and kids. This is for Dave Goldberg. Goldy, I love you.”
The field was only 103 players strong, but the quality of the players was breathtaking. At the final table, Brandon Shack-Harris, Mike Leah, Mike Gorodinsky, and Thomas Keller were all previous bracelet winners.
Mike Gordinsky took second place prize money of $167,517, while Hellmuth’s first prize was $271,105.
You can watch the final hand play out here.
Event #18: $1,000 Turbo No-Limit Hold’em
The first British bracelet of 2015 has been won by John Gale, giving him his second WSOP victory, and almost $300,000 in first place prize money. Stuart Rutter finished in fifth, giving Britain two places at the final table.
Gregory Kolo’s run at winning his second bracelet petered out just short of the final table, and he bust out of the event in 10th place.
While attendance at the Millionaire Maker was slightly down on 2014, the 1,791 entries for the Turbo event represented an increase of 30% of the number of players who entered last year.
Event #19: $3,000 Limit Hold’em 6-Handed
Daniel Negreanu could not replicate Phil Hellmuth’s great run, and despite starting the day in good shape, he eventually busted out of Event #19 in 25th place, shortly before play ended for the day.
Keven Stammen takes the chip lead into Day 3 after a straight flush helped him land a huge pot. He won his first bracelet back in 2009, but has not made a WSOP final table since then.
There are 22 players remaining, including William Kakon who won Event #11 just a few days ago, 2014 November-Niner Jorryt Van Hoof, Ronny Bardah and Brian Hastings.
Event #20: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
Another sizeable field turned out for the $1,500 buy-in NLHE event with 1,844 entries. The prize pool almost reached $2.5 million.
Valentin Vornicu is the massive chip leader after Day 1 with a stack of 212,000 chips against the 147,100 of second placed Natasha Barbour.
Vornicu’s name will be familiar as the chip leader on Day 3 of the Colossus event where he finally finished in 96th.
With 272 players remaining, he will be hoping to improve on that performance. The players going through to Day 2 include a substantial number of top pros, including last year’s Main Event Champion Martin Jacobson, Greg Mueller, Eric Baldwin and Marvin Rettenmaeir.
Business man Cary Katz did better than just survive Day 1, he built a comfortable stack and sits in fifth position on the leaderboard.
Last year Katz achieved mainstream poker fame after the video of him beating Connor Drinan in the $1 million buy-in WSOP Big One for One Drop went viral on YouTube. Over 8 million viewers watched both players go all-in pre-flop, both holding a pair of aces.
Katz caught four hearts to hit a flush, and Drinan’s $1 million dollar buy-in went down the drain.
Event #21: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship
The bigger buy-in events always bring out the biggest names in poker, and this year’s Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship has stayed true to form.
157 players paid to play, and 101 of them still have chips left after the first day. Scott Tuttle ended the day with the most chips, but four-time bracelet winner Tom Schneider is running close in second position.
Josh Arieh is in fourth, and Anthony Zinno is in sixth place. After Shaun Deeb won his first bracelet in the $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Holde’em Championship event, he followed up with a 9th place finish in the Razz event which provided Hellmuth with his new record.
Deeb has stuck with the $10,000 buy-ins and is again sitting pretty, with eighth place chips putting him in position for another deep run.