WSOP 2015: Connor Berkowitz Wins the LUCKY SEVENS for $487,784 WSOP 2015: Connor Berkowitz Wins the LUCKY SEVENS for $487,784

Event #66: $777 LUCKY SEVENS No-Limit Hold’em

Fittingly, the last bracelet to be awarded before the Main Event produced a similar record to the first bracelet of the series. Like the winner of event #1, Brendon Barnette, Connor Berkowitz, won his first bracelet with his first WSOP cash.

Berkowitz had to make it through a field of 4,422 to win the first prize money of $487,784. “This is like a dream for me,” he said afterward. “I’m speechless. I literally don’t know what to say other than this is a dream come true. It’s every poker player’s dream.”

Matt Matros, the only former bracelet winner left in the event at the start of the day’s play, finished in 8th place with school director John Armbrust finishing in second. For most of the day, David Yu held the chip lead, but he couldn’t keep hold of his chips to the end. He completed the event in third.

The Lucky Sevens event was the first of its type to be held as part of the WSOP. The low buy-in helped to generate a very large field, and the tournament looks sure to return next year.

Event #68: No-Limit Hold’em MAIN EVENT

Day 1B of the Main Event drew a field of 1,716 players to add to the 741 who played Day 1A. The total of 2,457 looks low if the third entry day is to bring the event up to its expected size. Last year, 6,683 entered, so Day 1C needs to see 4,226 entries if the same total is to be reached—that looks unlikely.

The schedule was changed slightly this year so that the Main Event did not clash with the Saturday, July 4 celebrations. The timing may have been responsible for the low turnout for Day 1A which began on July 5.

Hamid Feiz finished Day 1B as the chip leader, racking up a stack of 182,675, substantially higher than William Kakon’s Day 1A stack of 152,325 chips. The top three players on the Day 1B leaderboard all bagged more chips than Kakon.

The “Shuffle Up and Deal” announcement at the start of the day’s play was made by last year’s WSOP Player of the Year George Danzer. He ended the day with a respectable stack of 96,300. Dominik Nitsche, Greg Raymer, Brian Hastings and Brian Rast all finished in the top 100 on the leaderboard.

Over the weekend, Rast made the largest tournament score of his career by winning the inaugural $500,000 Super High Roller Bowl at the ARIA Resort & Casino. His win came with $7.525 million in prize money, a figure which now looks as though it may exceed first prize money for the Main Event itself.

This year the payout structure has flattened. Figures put out by the WSOP suggested that the Main Event first prize this year would be $8 million if the same numbers entered as last year.