After less than a week, the World Series of Poker(WSOP) is off to a big start, as the tens of thousands the Big 50 can agree.
As play moved into its second week, big numbers and big names took center stage. That included final table appearances by Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, who came close to winning bracelets.
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Big names and big wins so far at the 2019 WSOP
It took only two days for the WSOP to award the first bracelet. Texan Brian Green won the $10,000 Super Turbo for $345,669 after beating his friend Ali Imsirovic heads-up.
It was a stacked final table that include Asher Conniff, Loren Klein, and Ping Liu.
After selling a complete WSOP staking package in only two minutes, Daniel Negreanu immediately delivered for backers. He finished sixth in the Super Turbo for $52,099.
In other action, Phil Hellmuth almost added an online bracelet to his trophy case. After Tweeting he’d be playing the $400 WSOP.com Sunday event, he made the final table and led at times. A 16th bracelet wasn’t to be, however, and he finished fifth for $39,460.
In the $500 Casino Employees championship, Aria poker dealer Nicholas Haynes took the title and $62,345. He joins a long list of dealers who have found success at the table, a list which includes Mike Matusow and Scotty Nguyen.
In the only other event producing a winner so far, Minnesota’s Derek McMaster won the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo for $228,228. He won a bracelet after only his third series cash. He told WSOP.com,
“It was very surreal to me. I’ve just been on cloud nine since last night, all week. I was happy to be here and I enjoyed playing with these guys.”
The week ahead at the 2019 WSOP
Bargain buy-ins on the schedule
While there is plenty of high-stakes action at the WSOP, this year especially offers some bargains. The effort appeals to a wider range of players – offering big money and a shot at a bracelet. Here are some to check out this week:
- Event 3 $500 Big 50 – As the final first day flight concluded, registration was expected to top 25,000. That sets a new record – beating the 2015 Colossus, which drew 22,374 entries. A winner should be crowned this Friday.
— WSOP (@WSOP) June 2, 2019
- Event 9: $600 NLHE Deepstack – This event offers a nice $500,000 guaranteed prize pool and plays out in two days. Act quickly as there are 30-minute levels on Day 1 and 40-minute levels on Day 2. The action gets underway June 3.
- Event 12: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty – Bust a player and earn a $300 bounty in this one. Blinds are only 20 minutes and it wraps up in one day, June 4.
- Event 22: $1,000 Double Stack – This one follows this year’s “more chips is better” theme. A modest buy-in should attract a nice field for this two-day event that starts June 9.
Event 10: $1,500 Dealer’s Choice
Mixed games have grown in popularity and this tournament set for June 3 should be a popular event. The event paid out $129,882 for last year’s winner.
Players should be ready to play numerous games in this one – too many to list here. But that includes every type of Hold’em, Omaha, Stud, and 2-7 as well as games like Badugi and Badacey.
Event 15: $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em
This one brings out plenty of big guns looking for some prestige. The event adds a little March Madness type competition to the WSOP and begins June 5.
Players compete heads-up in a bracket style format. Justin Bonomo took this down in 2018 for $185,965 on his way to a massive summer. It was just another day at the office for one of the most dominating players in poker.
Event 19: $1,500 Millionaire Maker
This popular event began in 2013 and continues to draw plenty of dreamers hoping to become millionaires. Last year’s event attracted 7,361 entries and a $10 million prize pool. German Arne Kern came out on top and took home $1.2 million.
This year, players can choose from two starting flights (June 7 and 8) with one re-entry per flight. Jump in the action for a shot at seven figures.
Event 24: $600 WSOP.com Online Pot-Limit Omaha Six-Handed
This one is also a bargain, but it deserves its own space here. There should be plenty of PLO fans heading online in Nevada and New Jersey for this one, set for June 9. The event allows for unlimited re-entries and 15-minute levels.
This is the second installment of the series’ big WSOP Sunday tournaments and should produce a big field. Play one day – win a bracelet.
WSOP Player Spotlight: Pablo Mariz
The WSOP offers plenty of opportunity for players looking to break out. For Pablo Mariz, that opportunity came with an amazing summer in 2017.
After earning a degree in finance, Mariz put his skill with number to work at the poker table. He’s now playing mostly cash games online and travels a bit for live tournaments.
“The WSOP can make or break your year,” he says, “and it’s the place to be for poker players every year.”
A native of Quebec, the 29-year-old poker won the 2017 Millionaire Maker for $1.2 million and his first bracelet. In the $1,000 Tag Team, he came close to a second bracelet, finishing runner-up for $46,537 with David Guay.
“I was fortunate enough to be on the good side of variance two years ago,” he says. “I actually wasn’t that good in 2017. I’m probably 100 times better today, (due to) working with solvers and studying daily in my new routine.”
In 2018, variance changed a bit for Mariz. He notched only two small cashes at the WSOP itself.
Though he later came through with three finishes in the money at the WSOP international circuit event in Montreal, he used the experience as a time to learn. Now, with a less than stellar 2018 in the rear view mirror, he’s hoping to revive some of the magic of 2017.
“Having worked hard on my game, I realized how I got there and became more humble after a tough 2018,” he says. “I decided that I needed to make a lot of changes and I’m now getting in shape. I’ve been studying daily and got to Las Vegas very well prepared and focused – and ready to crush hopefully.”