WSOP Update: First Bracelet Awarded in Casino Employees Championship; Players Pleased With Venue; Kornuth Looks for Another Big Title

June 2, 2022
WSOP Update: First Bracelet Awarded in Casino Employees Championship; Players Pleased With Venue; Kornuth Looks for Another Big Title

After just a few days of action, the World Series of Poker awarded its first bracelet on Wednesday. The series is also seeing another huge run from Chance Kornuth, fresh off his first World Poker Tour title.

As action continues in a new venue, players have also expressed their thoughts on playing at Bally’s and Paris on the Strip. The series has received some nice accolades among players so far.

Kornuth is among the players making waves in early action. With five players remaining in the $100,000 High Roller Bounty, he holds a commanding lead. Here’s a look at some of the news so far this week.

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New WSOP location earns praise so far

In the run up to this year’s WSOP, staff members have worked to make players aware of changes and new locations. So far, players seemed pleased with how things are going on the Strip.

GGPoker ambassador Felipe Ramos was quick to compliment organizers on the new venue, chips, and tournament structures.

Daniel Negreanu wasn’t only excited about the new venue but also a return to normalcy in the live poker world.

“The excitement I’m seeing surrounding WSOP 2022 is unlike any I’ve seen in many years,” he noted on Twitter. “A new venue likely plays a role, but I think it has a lot to do with a feeling of normalcy again with it back in its regularly scheduled time slot.”

Despite that excitement, Negreanu did express some disappointment with the lack of vegan dining options. Shaun Deeb joined Negreanu in praising the events so far.

“So far, Day 1 thoughts on WSOP: everyone will wish they stayed at Bally’s or Paris,” he Tweeted. “A lot of staff, amazing chip sets, cards seem better than most years, lines shouldn’t be the issue of the past outside of the (Housewarming) $500.”

Katie Kopp score first bracelet of series

Those hoping to see more of a female presence in the WSOP welcomed the results of the $500 Casino Employees Championship. Katie Kopp (pictured in lead image), a dealer from Cleveland, Ohio, took down the event for $65,168. She found herself on a short stack for much of the final table, but rebounded for the win.

Kopp’s mother cheered her on from the rail. The pair travel the poker road dealing in various locations and the game certainly runs in the family.

“The feeling is so surreal being here with my mom,” she told WSOP.com afterward. “We travel and deal together. My whole family plays poker. My grandpa taught us. My brother and sister both have rings and even my nine and 10-year-olds know how to play.”

If this tournament is any indication, the demand for poker may fuel this series to gigantic numbers. With 832 entries and a $349,440 prize pool, the tournament almost doubled turnout from the fall. That version attracted only 419 for a prize pool of $175,980.

For Kopp, it’s been a nice run in the Casino Employees Championship over the last few years. She took third in 2018 for $26,250.

Chance Kornuth aims for High Roller Bounty title

Fresh off winning the WPT Choctaw only last week, Chance Kornuth is attempting to add another massive score. He leads the final five returning in the $100,000 High Roller Bounty.

For the Choctaw title, the Chip Leader Coaching founder scored $486,600. He’ll look to add to that significantly on Thursday, with almost $1.2 million headed to the winner in the High Roller. This would be Kornuth’s fourth WSOP bracelet if he can make that happen.

It won’t be easy as some big names sit behind him including David Peters, Ali Imsirovic, and 2021 Main Event winner Koray Aldemir. The tournament attracted 46 high rollers for a $3.3 million prize pool. Here’s a look at the remaining players and their chips counts. 

  1. Chance Kornuth – 14.3 million
  2. David Peters – 8.9 million
  3. Ali Imsirovic – 1.8 million
  4. Dario Sammartino – 1.7 million
  5. Koray Aldemir – 860,000

The final table gets underway at 5 pm (ET) with the action streamed on PokerGO.

A look at some other action

A few other events have gotten underway in Las Vegas. Event 3: $2,500 Freezeout heads to Day 2 on Thursday with 113 players returning to the action. Jesse Kertland, of Ellensburg, Washington, returns as chip leader.

A few other interesting names are among the chip leaders, with Shannon Shorr in fifth, David Benyamine in ninth, and Dylan Linde in 10th. 

Event 4: $1,500 Dealers Choice Six-Handed also gets to the second day of play. Dennis Eichhorn, of Irvine, California, leads the 123 players heading back to the Strip on Thursday. Some other names among the top 10 include Brett Richey, John Monnette, Ben Yu, and Brian Rast.

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Upcoming events

The weekend warriors should be heading to Bally’s/Paris beginning on Thursday. The big-field, smaller buy-in events kick off with the $500 Housewarming. This offers a welcome to the new WSOP venue, but also a return to normalcy in the live poker arena.

There should be a monster turnout with four starting flights on tap through the weekend. Day 2 gets underway Monday and the event guarantees a cool $5 million.

Another major event kicks off Thursday with the $25,000 Heads-Up Championship. With the $100,000 High Roller Bounty concluding, some of poker’s best should be back in this field.

Poker fans may be wondering how Phil Hellmuth is doing so far after a huge start to the series in 2021. He’s apparently missing some of the early action because of some stomach ailments. The heads-up event won’t be in his plans either as he’ll be attending the NBA Finals on Thursday. It looks like his first tournament is the $1,500 Hi/Lo on Friday. 

Here’s a look at some other action in the coming days:

  • $25,000 High Roller Eight-Handed (Event 8) – June 4
  • $1,500 Seven Card Stud (Event 9) – June 4
  • $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship (Event 10) – June 5

Online events also kick off

For online poker players, the action also gets started on Sunday for players in Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

The online portion gets underway with a $5,300 High Roller Freezeout in Nevada/New Jersey. Later in the day, players in all markets are treated to the Big $500, which allows up to three re-entries.

No doubt many players will be multi-tabling from their seats in the live tournament area as well.

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