WSOP Weekly: Main Event Cranks Up; Zinno, Seiver Win Gold, NJ Player Leads POY

July 2, 2019
WSOP Weekly: Main Event Cranks Up; Zinno, Seiver Win Gold, NJ Player Leads POY

There will be a buzz in the air this week at the WSOP as the Main Event kicks off on Wednesday. That doesn’t mean the poker stops. Several other tournaments also remain as the big one plays out.

In other news, Anthony Zinno and Scott Seiver both won bracelets in the last week. A New Jersey poker player also leads in the Player of the Year race.

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New Jersey player leads Player of the Year race

A quick look at the WSOP Player of the Year race shows New Jersey’s Dan Zack atop the leaderboard. It’s been a massive summer for this pro from Princeton.

He started things off with a 12th-place finish in the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty. That was followed with his first bracelet in the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw for $160,447.

Zack then made back-to-back final tables last week:

  • $2,500 Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo – fifth for $43950
  • $10,000 Razz – fourth for $94,305

“It’s very exciting given I grew up closely following the Player of the Year races of 2004 to 2011 when I was in middle school and high school,” he told USPoker. “It was always a dream of mine, but also stressful at the same time. Any time you brick an event you can feel everyone else breathing down your neck in the standings.”

Now with 11 cashes, he leads Phil Hui (second), Shaun Deeb (third), Scott Clements (fourth), and Jason Gooch (fifth). Deeb is hoping to win for the second straight year after adding two bracelets last summer.

The POY race extends to the WSOP Europe with 10 bracelets up for grabs. That event is set for Oct. 15 to Nov. 4 at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic. With just a little over two weeks remaining, it will be interesting to see if his big run continues.

Big names strike gold

A few names stand out from the past week’s action and added another bracelet to their collection. Three-time World Poker Tour champion Anthony Zinno added yet another trophy to his collection last week. The pro from Boston, Mass., took down the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo for $279,920.

Zinno had already finished runner-up in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event for $57,951. He also took third in $1,000 Tag Team for $36,664 with John Hinds as his partner.

In the $10,000 Razz event, Scott Seiver added his third bracelet and $301,421 on Saturday. The event featured 116 players looking for a nice lowball championship. 

Getting there wasn’t easy, with a final table that included Andrey Zhigalov (second), Chris Ferguson (third), Dan Zack (fourth, Daniel Negreanu (fifth), and Andre Akkari (sixth).

Seiver is one of the best mixed games players around and proved that in this event. He now has gold in Razz, Limit Hold’em, and No Limit Hold’em – and Seven Card Stud and Mixed Triple Draw Lowball as runner-up

“These limit games at the World Series are really the only time all year you get to play these tournaments for a real buy-in against good players, and it’s just really fun to get to do,” Seiver said. “I think they’re really fun, really interesting games.

“Also, a lot of it for me is effort. These are a lot of the games I love the most, so I feel like I’m giving my most focus. People like to pretend otherwise, but it really does matter in poker. When you’re trying to bring your A-game no matter what, it really does help a lot.”

Hui takes the PPC

In the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, many eyes were on Phil Ivey entering Day 4. He led the remaining 12 players and looked to be in prime position for bracelet No. 12.

That wasn’t meant to be and Ivey bowed out in eighth place for his fourth cash in the event. Day 5 featured a final table of Phil Hui, Shaun Deeb, Bryce Yockey, Dan Cates, John Esposito, and Josh Arieh.

Hui, from San Antonio, Texas, came out on top and took home $1.1 million and his second bracelet. While that is big news, the amazingly bad beat Yockey took in getting eliminated may have been even bigger news.

Winners Circle

The $1,500 Super Turbo Bounty offers a nice example of how international poker, and the WSOP, has become. Germany’s Jonas Lauck earned his first bracelet for $260,335.

The UK’s Robert Bickley earned runner-up and Brazilian Fernando Viana took third. The final table also included another player from the UK and a Canadian player as well.

Players from every state in the US and more than 120 countries have already played this summer’s action.

One of those Americans finishing big was Joe Foresman. An amateur who works as a graphic designer in Las Vegas, he won the $400 Deepstack Championship for $397,903.

His first bracelet comes in his second cash as well as a Main Event seat added to the prize pool. Well-regarded pro Will Givens took runner-up and Foresman knew he had his work cut out for him.

“Honest to God after playing three hands with Will, I was terrified to play him heads up,” Foresman told afterward. “I couldn’t even fathom this. I would have been happy with second, I would have been happy with third, this is unreal.”

In the $1,000 online NLHE Championship, New York’s Nicholas “Illari” Baris added his first bracelet for $303,738. Chris Ferguson and  David Baker also made the final table.

This week

Bargain buy-ins

  • Event 69: $1,000 Mini Main Event (July 1) – With the real Main Event kicking off this week, this new two-day event should get players in the mood. It features 30-minute levels and no re-entries just like its big brother.
  • Event 71: $500 Salute to Warriors NLHE (July 2) – This tournament is open to all, but organizers also encourage enlisted and former military members to play. The event benefits United Services Organization (USO), which provides entertainment and other services for active military. Of each $500 buy-in, $40 will go to the USO and other military-related charities. 
  • Event 75: $1,111 Little One for One Drop (July 7) – This one stretches the idea of a bargain a bit, but $111 goes to the One Drop Foundation. The group provides fresh water services to impoverished countries. The four-day event allows unlimited reentries and usually attracts a large field. Last year, Guoliang Wei took home the bracelet and $559,332.

Online events this week

  • Event 74: $3,200 Online Hold’em High Roller (July 3) – Those opting out of the first flight of the Main Event may want to grab the laptop. The event features 20-minute levels and players start with 25,000 chips and allowed three re-entries.
  • Event 76: $800 Online NLHE Six-Handed (July 7) – Another big Sunday online tournament as the WSOP approaches its final days. This one features 15,000 starting chips, three reentries, and 15-minute levels.

Event 70: $5,000 NLHE Six-Handed (July 1)

This mid-tier buy-in should attract a nice field looking for some short-handed action before the Main Event kicks off.

This four-day event has some special meaning for longtime pro Jean–Robert Bellande. He took down this event last summer for his first bracelet. The payout he earned will also interest players.

Bellande added $616,302 to his live tournament winnings in an event that featured 621 buy-ins. Look for a similar or bigger field this week.

Event 72: $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship (July 2)

The world championship of No Limit Hold’em may start on Wednesday, but limit fans get their shot on Tuesday. Limit Hold’em may have lost popularity in recent years, but it’s a big part of mixed game tournaments.

Fresh off his third bracelet, it’s a good bet 2018 champion Scott Seiver will be back in the field to defend his title. Last year’s field produced 114 runners and Seiver took home $296,222.

The turnout pales in comparison to other championship and Hold’em events, but the old school limit action remains.

Event 73: $10,000 Main Event (July 3)

The world championship of poker kicks off this week with the first starting flight set for Wednesday. The second and third starting flights run on Thursday and Friday.

All players in flights 1A and 1B then return on Saturday and those from flight 1C returning on Sunday. The final three players are set to play to a winner on July 16.

Once again, all the action will be streamed and broadcast live on PokerGO and ESPN. The number of entries continues to explode. Last year’s event featured 7,874 players with John Cynn taking home $8.8 million.

The player pool has increased every year since 2015, which drew 6,420. This is a huge two weeks for the game. Many poker fans will check out the action on ESPN  for the first time this summer.

With the series’ growth in recent years, some of those seem to be making their way to the Rio. The lure of a bracelet and a chance at poker glory remains a powerful draw.

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