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And finally comes the day when after a run of action-packed tournaments at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP), the most prestigious and thrilling of all events, Event #65: $10,000 No-Limit Hold ‘em Main Event World Championship is here! The poker halls hosting the grand Main Event crackled with excitement, glamour and pomp as many celebrity players rubbed shoulders with newcomers.
All eyes are on Team India that has once again dived into the Main Event with vigour and determination. In the first of three starting flights, a small Indian team was spotted entering the event, but one thing is for sure, a much bigger group will soon be jumping in, in the subsequent flights!
Sidestepping the eliminations that went rolling through, India`s first WSOP bracelet winner Aditya Sushant advanced to Day 2 with a huge stack of 139,600. Sushant is fresh off his final table finish in Event #61: $1,000 WSOP.com Online NLHE where he took ninth place for $20,969 (~₹14.36 Lakhs) and looks all warmed up for the big win! Rohan Dhawan also joined the action on the opening flight and progressed further with 112,900 in chips.
The biggest news from the Indian camp however came through another event. Fighting through a field of 3,250 contestants, Chennai-based poker pro Srinivas Balasubramanian has stormed his way into the final table in Event #11: PLO GIANT – $365 Pot-Limit Omaha with a massive chip lead holding 18,325,000 in chips. Balasubramanian has just one score to his name i.e. ₱13,500 + 1,500 No Limit Hold’em – Shot Clock Event #12 at the PokerStars LIVE Manila Super Series 6 earlier this year, where he placed 7th for $ 1,411 (~₹96,822) but that is all but assured to change tomorrow with the Indian player already assured at least $10,250 in the event.
While Balasubramanian will be eyeing the bracelet and the $116,015 top prize, six other Indians also cashed in the event including Sikander Rajwade, Pranay Kapoor, Anuj Jalote, Navkiran Singh along with 9Stacks qualifiers Mayank Jaggi, and Sanjay Taneja.
A big bunch of Indians also entered Event #62: $888 Crazy Eights No-Limits Hold ‘em 8-Handed – $888,888 Guaranteed First Place that opened to 8,598 entries and has 29 survivors remaining. Vivek Rughani, Paawan Bansal, Abhishek Rathod, Nikita Luther, Shashank Jain and Abhinav Iyer entered through different starting flights of the event and advanced to Day 2 to make it in the money.
Meanwhile, a big sweat is developing in Event #64: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 Or Better Championship, where two-time bracelet winner Chris Vitch is gunning for back-to-back bracelets. Victh, who had won this event last year, has made Day 3 with a stack of 1,014,000, the most among the 15 remaining players.
Starting on June 4, with Day 1A attracting 423 entrants, Event #11: PLO GIANT – $365 Pot-Limit Omaha had four more flights which resulted in a total prize pool of $975,000. Day 1B attracted 523 entries while Day 1C, 1D and 1E had 492, 565 and 1,247 runners respectively creating a massive player pool of 3,250 players.
The 19 survivors of Flight 1A were led by Pete Arroyos (1,757,000). 31 players from Day 1B made it to Day 2 with Randy Holland (1,445,000) topping the charts. Tim Andrew (1,375,000) topped the 23 survivors on Day 1C. 33 players reached the end of play in Day 1D with Hero Aguiluz (1,275,000) bagging the biggest stack and the 79 players of Day 1E were dominated by Michael Mizrachi (1,845,000), who was also the overall chip leader from all starting flights combined.
Day 1E was when Team India’s Srinivas Balasubramanian joined the action. He was placed fourth in chip counts with a massive stack of 1,245,000 at the end of the opening flight.
Day 2 saw 185 survivors from the five starting flights coming together for the first time.. Balasubramanian made a strong start by winning a huge pot early on in the day. Brett Faustman went all-in preflop and was challenged by Balasubramanian. Tabling their cards, Faustman revealed and Balasubramanian turned over . The board gave Faustman trip sevens but it was no match for Balasubramanian’s tens full. Faustman was eliminated and Balasubramanian`s stack rocketed up to 2,800,000.
Not long thereafter, Balasubramanian lost a portion of his stack to Mitchell Bailey and Jerry Humphrey to slide down to 950,000, but he managed to consolidate back to 10,200,000 by eliminating Andrew O’Flaherty and Federico Quevedo.
Balasubramanian went on to simultaneously eliminate Harry Binda and Robert Dukes in one of the final hands of the day. Entering into a three-way all-in contest with Binda and Dukes, Balasubramanian’s bested Binda’s and Dukes’ , with the rundown favoring him. Balasubramanian`s stack reached a massive 15,500,000 after this hand and he further improved to bag 18,325,000 coming into the final day tomorrow as the frontrunner.
Another Indian-origin player Sandeep Pulusani has made it to the final table with 4,375,000 in chips.
Several other Indian made it in the money in this event including Sikander Rajwade who placed 129th for $1,295 (~₹88,863), Mayank Jaggi placed 256th for $755 (~₹51,808), Pranay Kapoor placed 263rd for $750 (~₹51,465), Anuj Jalote placed 284th for $685 (~₹47,004), Navkiran Singh placed 328th for $630 (~₹43,230) and Sanjay Taneja placed 459th for $556 (~₹38,152).
Final Table Chip Counts At The End of Day 2
1. Srinivas Balasubramanian – 18,325,000
2. Robert Cicchelli – 11,055,000
3. Pete Arroyos – 10,550,000
4. Tim Andrew – 10,425,000
5. Michael Mizrachi – 10,150,000
6. Kevin Nomberto – 7,700,000
7. James Sievers – 5,450,000
8. Sandeep Pulusani – 4,375,000
9. Raymond Walton – 3,075,000
Another major tournament at this year`s WSOP, Event #62 $888 Crazy Eights No-Limits Hold ‘em 8-Handed- $888,888 Guaranteed First Place has progressed beyond its second day of play. While 8,598 participants fielded through four starting flights, 458 returned to the felts on Day 2 and now only 29 remain in the race for the bracelet.
A huge group of Indians stormed through the event and six of them, Vivek Rughani, Paawan Bansal, Nikita Luther, Shashank Jain, Abhinav Iyer and Abhishek Rathod ran deep on Day 2 and sneaked their way into the money.. While Rughani’s run ended in 171st place for $5,203 (~₹3.56 Lakhs), Rathod’s performance took him to 347th spot for $3,428 (~₹2.35 Lakhs) while Jain and Iyer both pocketed $3,031 (~₹2.07 Lakhs) each, for their 367th and 408th place finish respectively. Bansal and Luther finished in 533rd and 511th place respectively, pocketing $2,106 (~₹1.44 Lakhs) each.
Galen Hall (6,595,000) is leading the 29 survivors after Day 2 and other big stacks include Paul Vas Nunes (6,410,000), Hunter Frey (5,730,000), Arthur Conan (3,140,000) and Alexandre Novaes (2,835,000).
1. Galen Hall – 6,595,000
2. Paul Vas Nunes – 6,410,000
3. Hunter Frey – 5,730,000
4. Men Nguyen – 3,350,000
5. Arthur Conan – 3,140,000
6. Alexandre Novaes – 2,835,000
7. Franz-Xaver Ditz -2,745,000
8. Eduards Kudrjavcevs – 2,730,000
9. Chris Moorman – 2,620,000
10. Michael Barlow- 2,600,000
After two days of action, Event #64: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 Or Better Championship has whittled down to 15 survivors and two-time bracelet winner Chris Vitch is holding on to the baton of the chip leader with a stack of 1,014,000. The tournament had opened with 141 participants that created a prize pool of $1,325,400 and the remaining 15 survivors are all guaranteed $16,439 in prize money though all eyes will be on the bracelet and the top prize of $364,387.
Vitch, who is the defending champion at the event is followed by Scott Bohlman (883,000), Bryce Yockey (539,000) and Ken ‘Teach’Aldridge(538,000). Joining them will be other well-known pros like Andrew Kelsall (506,000), Jesse Martin (506,000), Tom Koral (392,000) and Mike Watson (348,000).
Before the day concluded a number of players were relegated to the rails and the list included names like Richard Sklar (16th for $16,439), Tim Marsters (17th for $14,739), Jose Paz-Gutierrez (18th for $14,739), Yuval Bronshtein (19th for $14,739), Daniel Negreanu (20th for $14,739), Tim Finne (21st for $14,739) and Andrew Yeh (22nd for $14,739).
1. Chris Vitch – 1,014,000
2. Scott Bohlman – 883,000
3. Bryce Yockey – 539,000
4. Ken Aldridge – 538,000
5. Andrew Kelsall – 506,000
6. Jesse Martin – 506,000
7. Dan Matsuzuki – 418,000
8. Tom Koral – 392,000
9. Mike Watson -348,000
10. Jack Duong – 343,000
The excitement at Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino that is currently playing host to the 2018 WSOP cannot be described in words now more than ever as the headline Event #65: $10,000 NLHE Main Event – World Championship saw its first opening flight kicking off today.
Day 1A saw the biggest participation ever at an inaugural flight at the Main Event, with 925 runners registering to enter. Just the first day’s entries have swollen the prize pool to an incredible $7,473,000! Bracelet winner Aditya Sushant entered the event and took his stack up to a healthy 139,600. Another Indian player, Rohan Dhawan has also bagged a commendable 112,900 for Day 2.
Traditionally what has been the penultimate or the last tournament of the series, drawing curtains over the annually held poker extravaganza, the Main Event this year has begun with many other WSOP tournaments running alongside. Instead of playing up to the final table that was resumed in November each year, the Main Event will run consecutively through from Day 3 on July 7th until a champion is crowned.
Last year, Scott Blumstein triumphed over a 7,221 player field to win the event and the top-prize of $8,150,000. Blumstein came back today to defend his title but he was eliminated by Brian Yoon (145,000).
Apart from Blumstein, there were plenty of recreational players and amateurs who converged to the poker tables in a bid for the glory that winning the tournament can bring. It was quite an opening show, as American film and TV producer Randall Emmett entered event with a band of exotically attired musicians and girls! Emmett has survived the day’s play with 133,400 in chips in his bag.
After five 2-hour levels, 661 hopefuls have advanced to Day 2. Timothy Lau is spearheading the survivors with a stack of 338,700, followed by Truyen Nguyen (324, 800) and Chris Fraser (316,100).
Some of the other prominent players who have bagged their stacks for Day 2 are former Main Event champions Joe McKeehen (36,200), Scotty Nguyen (84,400) and Joe Hachem (84,700), Erik Seidel (72,100), Gordon Vayo (87,100), Alexandru Papazian (147,100), Matt Berkey (185,600), Nick Jivkov (186,000), Kevin “Phwap” Boudreau (186,300) as well as Frank Crivello (215,000).
Poker commentator David Tuchman (111,000), well known comedian Ray Romano (61,100) and actor Kevin Pollak (71,300) have all moved to Day 2.
1. Timothy Lau – 338,700
2. Truyen Nguyen – 324,800
3. Chris Fraser – 316,100
4. David McCaw – 220,400
5. John Vossoughi -220,300
6. Matthew Davidow – 216,600
7. Frank Crivello – 215,000
8. Casey McCarrel – 206,200
9. Eric Hicks – 204,000
10. Tristan Bain – 193,200
Another starting flight is just round the corner, and as the Main Event slides past the week, some of the best poker action is yet to be witnessed over hands that will soon be etched in history!
Content and image courtesy: WSOP.com.
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