Its here again. The big event all your garage league poker buddies dream of and claim they could win if given the chance.
The first world Series of Poker was held in 1970 and attended by the man who opened the 2011 main event with those famous words "shuffle up and deal", Doyle Brunson. Doyle won the event twice, once in 1976 and again in 1977. I am sad to report he was eliminated early in the first day. He has hinted at retiring from tourny play, but we will see. I have friends that say he plays as often as possible in "High Stakes" cash games, so he's not hurting to bad.
Thursday was slated as Day 1A with Friday being Day 1B, Saturday being Day 1C and Sunday is Day 1D. Thursday ended with 558 players remaining from the Day 1A starting 897. The turn-out this year is expected to be lower then the past 4 or 5 years. Ive been told under 5,900 (from 100 different nations) are hoped for which is down from over 7,300 last year. With Day 1A finished, all the players in today's event will come back in 3 days to start Day 2A and so on.
Fred Berger was the chip leader ending day 1A with 209,500 in chips. His hopes of reaching the NOVEMBER NINE will
will start up again in three days with the likes of Johnny Chan, a 2 time winner ('87 and '88) and Jason Alexander of "Seinfeld" fame. Some big names have been eliminated in Day 1A as well, Greg Raymer, Jerry Yang, both former champs and 2006 player of the year Tom Schneider have exited early.
The main event will play until the final table of nine is upon us July 19th, then play breaks until November(hence the name November Nine). I will be looking for Scotty Nguyen in the next set of days, and will keep you guys notified through out.
Friday aka Day 1B saw, a very well liked, Ben Lamb continue his outstanding year to date. This year Ben has made over 1.3 million bucks playing cards. He ended the day as chip leader of his group (190,000). Other then Bens play on the second day there wasn’t much to report. The survivors from this day will return with survivors from Day 1D (Sunday) on Tuesday or as they call it Day 2B. (Get it?) I'm still waiting for Scotty Nguyen to show, but another player to follow might be Logan Deen. Logan is the youngest in this year’s event (21 exactly) and he survived his first day, unlike the oldest player this year 91 year old Ellen Deeb.
Day 1C started with Ray Romano and Las Vegas funny man Brad Garrett announcing “shuffle up and deal” along side Annie Duke. Duke is not competing in this years Main Event due to other obligations. Coincidentally you may learn more about those obligations on Steve Friess' podcast here.
Notable knockouts on Saturday included Chris Moneymaker, Fabrice Soulier, Robert Mizrachi, as well as Ray Romano.
It seems as if day 1C was the day of the bigger names. Some notables still involved are my guy, Scotty Ngyuen, ending the day with around 48,000 in chips, also defending champ Jonathan Duhamel, Mike Caro, Dan Harrigton, Daniel Negreanu and one of my least favorite players Humberto Brenes. Day 1A and 1C will combine to return on Day 2A which is Monday.
Day 1-D saw John Juanda, and actress Jennifer Tilly fall out, but kept the likes Freddy Deeb, Phil Laak, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Joe Hachem, Jennifer Harman, Kathy Liebert, and Barry Greenstein.
To everyone's surprised this years main event surpasses all expectations and ended up with the third most entrants ever (6865).
The winner will receive around 8.7 million bucks. Not to bad for a couple weeks of serious concentration over brutally hard competition. Fred Berger was the overall chip leader after these 4 beginning days with 209,000 in chips, over 21,000 more then the next closes contestants.
DAY 2A Very sad to report Johnny Chan, Scotty Nguyen, Jonathan Duhamel, Dan Harringtonare all eliminated today. Celtics player Paul Pierce was eliminated today as well. A few ex champs still in it are Jamie Gold (who I cant wait to be eliminated), Robert Varkonyi, Joe cada and Tom McEvoy. Others still involved are Freddy Deeb, Donny Mizrachi, Phil Laak, Matt Matros, Fred Berger, Brad Garrett, Mike Caro, Jason Alexander, Daniel Negreanu, Vitaly Lunkin, and amazingly Phil Hellmuth. After dropping an enormous amount of chips, Hellmuth made a amazing run back to respectability. First he slept through his start thinking he was playing tomorrow. His stack dropped to under 7,000 but somehow after a 2 hour tardiness, by the end of the day, was at an outstanding 64,900 in chips to stay in contention.
DAY 2B started with no over sleeping by anyone. And I was happy to see Jamie Gold's annoying ass get canned and the remarkable Ben Lamb story continues. Besides Gold being gone, Hachems gone, Matusows gone along with Shannon Elizabeth and Kathy Liebert. Ming "The Master" and Todd Brunson, to name a few long shots, are still hanging in there. By all accounts Ben lamb is your chip leader a little over Kevin Saul 551,600 to 542,200. The Ben Lamb story is of extra interest to most avid poker followers as Lamb is chasing #1 Phil Hellmuth for WSOP player of the year honors and if he makes it to the November Nine Hellmuth needs to be there as well, stay tuned for this ..... but until then we have a one day hiatus, Wednesday no one plays but come Thursday all remaining players meet up for the big push to the final table.
Well the big day has arrived THURSDAY and FRIDAY saw some names get railed like Jennifer Harmen and Shaun Deeb and Dan Shak. Among the big names still in it are Negreanu at 207,300 in chips, Ben Lamb holding steady around 450,00 which is a concern for Hellmuth with only 77,000 in chips. Dont forget the side note of Hellmuth VS Lamb for the WSOP player of the year accolades. They will have a up hill battle to reach chip leader Patrick Poirier who has over a million in chips (1,328,000) and closest to him is Daryl Jace at 1, 282,000. But after Friday there was no longer a EX champion to be found. Chip leader is(was) Manoj Viswanathan with over 2 mill in chips. Saturday, Manoj Viswanathan of New York City began the day as chip leader, Viswanathan fell from first place to about 25th place after losing a significant portion of his stack within the first few hours of play. By end of the day, he was done, but cashed at 190th place.
After Friday ended there were only 378 players left all together, everyone wondering if they can hold to be one of the final 9 (should be JULY 19th) to play at the final table. Then come back in NOVEMBER to play that table for the estimated 8.vvvv million dollar 1st prize. Starting it up SAT. Ben Lamb was in great shape(my new favorite) at over 4 million in chips and the leader is David Bach with 4.7 million in chips, things seem to change quickly and often as the players dwindle down. As Sunday will start the player count has dropped to 142 left, things move very fast now, it shouldn't be long, and we will be waiting for November.
A few names to watch now would be Jean-Robert from survivor show fame, former WSOP player(S) of the year Allen Cunningham and Erick Lindgren are still playing strong as well as Joseph Cheong who is the last remaining member of the 2010 Main Event final table last year. SUNDAY was elimination day for many including 2 of the remaining three women as well as Allen Cunnigham and Jean Robert, see how fast things change at this point? The newest chip leader could be in the leader role for a while, Ryan Lenaghan is sitting on over 12 million in chips, and Ben Lamb (my new fav) is running up behind him at 9.9 mill. One great side note for Ben is the over taking of Phil Hellmuth as points and all around leader in the WSOP player of the year bragging rights. The only women left in the tournament is Erika Mountinho who is sitting with about 2 million in chips. Down to only 57 players, the remaining group are each guaranteed over $130,000 in prize money. Monday we pick up from here......Come on Ben. AND Monday comes and goes, leaves 32. One women Ericka Mountinho, still in it. One favorite(of mine) Ben Lamb still in it. Ben Lamb is sitting in 3rd place after Mondays play. Chip leader at mid day play was Matt Giannetti with over 16 million in chips. A few names you would recognize got axed, they would be Tony Hachem(brother of Joe), Erik Lindgren and David Bach. The next 5 players are guaranteed over $242, 000 prize money and after there out of competition no one will receive less then 302,000 bucks for there role in the tourney. So TUESDAY I watched some of the coverage on ESPN and got to see an up close account of how Ben Lamb really plays, he has a stone cold concentration to him. What a pro player! I watched from 22 players down to 12 and then dinner came for both me and the tournament. Before dinner break Lamb and Giannetti locked up the attention of ESPN and the rest of the room in a stare down which took over ten minutes and in the end Giannetti flipped his ACE NINE to a table of Ace, 2, 9, 7, 2 hoping his 2 pair would hold up, unfortunately Lamb flipped another 2 to complete the set and took down a nice pot. Lamb really couldn't lose from the time I started watching, picking up a million chips here and 3 million there. We will know soon who the NINE are that will attend the final table Nov. 5th-7th at the RIO.
I think the interesting story of the day was over looked until this point, that being the midday chip leader, Eoghan O'Dea (Dublin Ireleand) and his father could be the first father son duo to ever make it to the final table. Donnacha O'Dea (Eoghan's dad) made the final table twice and won a gold bracelet in WSOP play previously. Wednesday wont be a poker day, in fact there wont be any more play until November now because the final table has been set. The lucky nine are as follows: Lamb, Giannetti, O'Dea, Bounahra, Holden, Heinz, Collins, Makiievshyi and Staszko. NEW CHIP leader is Martin Staszko with 40,175,000 in chips and the Irishman is second with almost 40,000,000. So with 108 days to wait, each contestant will ponder what to do with there NO LESS then 782,000 dollars in prize money and there world wide fame and one lucky soul will walk away from the Rio with over 8.7 million bucks. Interesting after all this is the fact that only 3 of these players are from the US 2 being from Las Vegas and Ben Lamb from OKLAHOMA.