As daylight broke on WSOP Day 23, Mike Ellis posed for pictures with his first career World Series of Poker bracelet after winning the $1,500 No Limit Holdem event. In addition to being his first bracelet, it is also the fourth bracelet the United Kingdom has earned. Many people went into the 2010 WSOP calling it the “Year of the Woman” but it’s more turning out to be the “Year of the Brits.”
The heads-up battle between Ellis and Christopher Gonzales was “only” 2.5 hours, which made it short compared to some of the other marathon heads-up sessions so far, but many members of the media are calling this one the most epic. The two started with around the same amount of chips, but the two passed the lead back-and-forth so many times that it was hard to keep track. Eventually the tide rolled in Ellis’s favor long enough for him to take a commanding lead. However, the evenly matched game is most likely the best heads-up match so far between any two players 31 events into the WSOP.
Even earlier in the morning Konstantin Puchkov earned his first career bracelet when he defeated Al “Sugar Bear” Barbieri in the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E event. Barbieri, who now has over $1,000,000 in tournament earnings, is definitely in the category of “best players to never win a WSOP event.”
We may have gone a little too far poking fun at the Seniors Event yesterday. In truth, most of these players can compete at the highest level with any poker player regardless of age. The only difference is they may have to get up and use the bathroom more often (last one, I swear).
The Seniors Event just got into the money, and Tom Schneider leads the way. In order to qualify for this tournament you must be 50-years-old or older. Schneider who just turned 50 eight months ago, is certainly making the most of his first foray into this tournament. Schneider is nowhere near slowing down, as he is just three years removed from winning the WSOP “Player of the Year” award.
At just 50, Schneider is obviously not close to the oldest player remaining in the event. As the money bubble burst one of the tournament directors got on the microphone and asked, “Will everyone remaining over the age of 60 please stand up?” A good portion of the room stood-up. Then he asked those under 70 to sit down. A couple dozen people remained standing. Finally he said, “If you are under 80, please sit down.” With that just three players remained standing. It turns out Harry Tomishima, Walter Callam, and Russel Morley are all 80-years-old, making them the oldest people to cash in a WSOP event this year.
In addition to Schneider, at least two other past WSOP bracelet winners remain: one-time winner John Spadavecchia and five-time winner Berry Johnston. First place will pay a hefty $487,994. That’s no bingo money.
The $10,000 Heads-Up Championship is on its second day of action, with the final match-up set to take place tomorrow. Players who advance to the round of 32 are guaranteed at least $17,987, but all of their eyes are set on the first place prize of $625,682. Some players that have already made it to round 32 include Vanessa Rousso, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Sorel Mizzi, and David Williams. Williams advanced by winning a classic “poker race” when his A-K defeated the pocket queens of Christopher Moore, when he hit an ace on the flop.
Another player hoping to sneak into the money round is Gabe Kaplan. He always seems to draw a more mature crowd from those who remember him in the hit television show “Welcome Back, Kotter,” but the truth is he’s a pretty good poker player. However, at the moment he is down by quite a bit against Gavin Smith.
Two tables of five remain in the $5,000 No Limit Holdem/ Six Handed event. One of the players remaining is Men “The Master” Nguyen, who is gunning for his second bracelet of the WSOP. If he makes another final table he will most likely make quite the show for spectators. In the event he won, he opened his first Corona when the first hand of final table play began, and never stopped drinking them until the final hand was dealt. With only six players at a final table, members of the rail have made jokes that maybe he won’t get as drunk if he wins this one. Others have said he’ll make up for it by “double-fisting.” If “The Master” hopes to make a final table, he’ll have to turn his luck around soon, as he is in last place of the 10 remaining.
Currently leading the way is Erick Lindgren. Lindgren has had a relatively quiet WSOP so far, but looks to be primed to make the final table of this event. First place will pay $667,433.
Phil Ivey was eliminated in 12th place of the $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event. Yesterday Ivey became what is believed to be the first player to ever play three WSOP events at the same time, but with him busting out of this one he is now out of them all. Ivey, like Tom Dwan, has a number of bracelet bets, and despite getting somewhat close a few times, he has yet to make a serious run. Ivey appeared more visibly upset after this elimination. After Jose-Luis Velador eliminated Ivey from the event with a full house on the flop vs. Ivey’s lone aces, Ivey left in a hurry and ignored the payout sheet the tournament director was trying to hand him.
The win over Ivey gave Velador the chip lead with just 11 players remaining. Right behind him are notables such as Victor Ramdin, Joshua Tieman, Kevin MacPhee, and David Chiu. With most, if not all, of these names making the final table, it’s shaping up to be the most star-studded one of the series.