Event #55: $1,500 Draftkings 50/50 No-Limit Hold’em
The first World Series of Poker event to be sponsored, and the first in which half the players will make the money gained an impressive 1,123 entries.
Appropriately for a fantasy sports sponsored event, professional sports bettor Brandon Wittmeyer ended up winning the gold bracelet, and first prize money of $200,618. This was his fourth cash of the series, and his second score of over $200,000. Wittmeyer won $215,964 for a third place finish in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em event just a few days ago.
“I really felt comfortable playing at the final table,” Wittmeyer said. “For me, finishing 3rd before was something I learned from. There was a huge hand when I didn’t trust my read and that might have cost me the tournament because I made a key mistake. This time, I decided to go with my reads and trust my instincts. I really think that helped me this time around.”
The unusual payout structure meant that 562 players cashed. The first payouts were $1,000, less than the $1,500 buy-in. Places 281 to 118 got their buy-in back with a $1,500 prize, and the final 117 all made a profit.
Matt Affleck came in sixth place, and the runner-up was Derek Gomez, who recorded his third cash of the series, all in $1,500 buy-in events.
Event #57: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
The final $1,000 buy-in event of this year’s WSOP produced a field of 2,412 which has now been reduced to a more manageable 26 after the first two days of play.
Stephen Graner has the chip lead going into Day 3. His bankroll was given a major cash injection when he came 6th in last year’s Millionaire Maker event for $273,854. Briton Paul Vas Nunes lies in second place, but with less than half of Graner’s chip stack. Nunes’ biggest WSOP score came in 2012 when he final tabled a $3,000 NLHE event and finished in third to win $290,407.
The biggest poker names are playing elsewhere, leaving the field open to the tournament grinders. Players such as Jonas Lauck who has a WSOP 2nd place finish on his resume, and is currently sixth in chips, are looking for bracelet glory as well as the first prize of $399,039.
Event #58: $111,111 High Roller for ONE DROP
2010 Main Event Winner Jonathan Duhamel has finally won his second WSOP bracelet and his second seven figure victory. The charity ONE DROP event attracted a surprisingly large field of 135 players creating a first prize of $3,989,985.
Along with the $8,944,310 he won at the 2010 Main Event and his other scores on the tournament trail, his total live tournament winnings now amount to $16,819,897 which places him 8th on the all-time money list.
Duhamel beat retired business man Bill Klein to take the title. Klein is donating his entire second place money of $2,465,522 to the ONE DROP Foundation. Klein doesn’t play the game for money—not only does he donate all his winnings to charity, but every time he loses, he also donates an equal amount to charity.
“Don’t let me break even,” he says. “Either beat me really badly, or let me win really big.”
Last year’s Big One for ONE DROP winner Daniel Colman came in third this year. The buy-in for this event alternates between $1 million and $111,111, but each year’s winner at whichever buy-in is considered to be the defending champion.
The event nearly produced a huge story, but it didn’t quite get there. Phil Hellmuth turned in a remarkable performance, and though he was the chip leader at one point with six players remaining, the poker gods deserted him and his quest for bracelet number 15 as he exited the tournament without getting any closer to the first prize.
At one point during three-handed play, the game was halted to allow medical treatment for a spectator who suffered a heart attack.
“That moment really gave this all a sense of perspective,” Duhamel said about the incident. “Obviously, we are all hoping he will make it and be okay. It was so unfortunate.”
$5,555 of each entry fee is donated to the ONE DROP Foundation which means the charity will receive $749,925 plus of course the huge donation from Bill Klein. The charitable element proves attractive to wealthy players—typically a $100,000 buy-in tournament attracts a much smaller field. The World Poker Tour Alpha 8 event held in Las Vegas at the end of last year attracted a strong field of 55 players, less than half the size of this year’s WSOP event.
On a side note, Phil Ivey turned up in Vegas to play this event. It was the first he entered in this year’s WSOP. It did not go well, and he was one of the first players to be sent to the rail.
Event #59: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
2,155 players registered for the final $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event of the series, and after the first day’s play, 1,846 of them lost all their chips. 309 players will begin Day 2 to play for their share of the $2,909,250 prize pool.
The chip leader at the end of the day was Kevin Killeen followed by Luke Marsh and Bradley Goulding.
Former Main Event winner Jamie Gold and four time bracelet winner Jeff Madsen both have better than average stacks.
Event #60: $25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha
Another big turnout was seen at the $25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha event where 166 players put up the substantial entry fee to take a crack at the bracelet.
This was another new event for the WSOP, and registration will be kept open until the start of day 2, so that number could increase.
70 players are left with chips in front of them, James Park sits on top of the leaderboard, closely followed by Scott Clements and Joseph Sanders.
Daniel Negreanu is running out of time to add another bracelet to his cabinet, but he still has chips in this event; so too do Brian Hastings, Phil Galfond and Christian Harder—all from the online generation.
The prize pool is just shy of $4 million at $3,942,500, and first prize will be a substantial piece of that. Payouts will not be confirmed until Day 2 starts and the total number of entries has been determined.