The 2015 World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas embraced a moment in history on Day 3 when Event #5: The Colossus $565 No-Limit Hold'em kicked off with its first two starting flights. Exciting as it was, with thousands upon thousands of players filling the halls of the Rio for the biggest tournament ever held in the history of the Series, it couldn't match the excitement that Michael Wang must have felt as he won gold!
Michael Wang Wins First Open-Bracelet Event
The big names were out in full force for Event #2: $5,000 No Limit Hold'em — especially when it got down to the final 10: Jason Wheeler, David "Doc" Sands, Byron Kaverman, Joe Ebanks, Amir Lehavot, Greg Merson, and Bryn Kenney were all gathered to make a run for the gold but Michael Wang took it down to claim the first place prize of $466,120 and the first open-event bracelet of the 2015 WSOP.
"I can't even process it right now, it doesn't even feel real," Wang said. "Two hours ago I was the short stack and now I just won it. It's surreal."
Wang managed to rally to 51 big blinds against Kenney's 159 and Wang evened it up after grinding it. Then Kenney took over again with a lead of more than 2-1. No Limit Hold'em can flip the switch and open the dam in short order and that's what happened when Wang found the nut straight for three streets and then held a flush-over-flush against Kenney.
"I ran good, I'm not going to pretend that I didn't," Wang said. "I won some important races and I like to think I played well, too. But yeah, it was a tough final table, a lot of great players, so it was going to be an uphill climb to win and it's just crazy that it ended like this."
Congratulations Michael Wang!
Omaha Lead Held by Vandemheen
It took two days of play for the field to reach 49 after starting with 918 runners in Event #3: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low. Kelly Vandemheen (appropriately from Omaha, Nebraska) bagged the biggest stack with 466,000 and the honor of second biggest went to Thomas Taylor with 288,000.
Names that finished in the money were Steve Gross (53rd), "Miami" John Cernuto (62nd), Taylor Paur (63rd), Allen Cunningham (75th), Aaron Steury (78th), Ari Engel (85th), and Chris Bjorin (99th).
Names that were still in action and bagged chips were: Eric Crain (236,000), Eric Wasserson (235,000), Robert Mizrachi (184,000), Don Zewin (165,000), and John Monnette (117,000).
The plan was to play to a winner at restart.
Final Table Set in Event #4
Event #4: $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Shootout ended the day with a final table of 10 raring for restart on Saturday.
It started with 10 tables of four each and when the smoke cleared, it was Nick Petrangelo (474,000), Andreas Hoivold (472,000), David Peters (467,000), James Woods (462,000), Brian Lemke (460,000), Derek Bowers (460,000), Loni Harwood (446,000), Jeffrey Griffiths (445,000), Leo Wolpert (444,000), and Jason Les (443,000) who bagged and tagged from their respective tables.
The talk of the day was Woods epic heads-up battle with online superstar Doug Polk that lasted a number of hours and saw both players push the momentum and the chip lead back and forth in a seesaw fashion. Carlos Mortensen, Jason Somerville, Jake Balsiger, Jeff Gross, Craig McCorkell, and Sam Greenwood did not manage to advance.
Colossus Leaps into the Head Lights
Event #5: The Colossus $565 No Limit Hold'em started with epic fields on the first two starting flights with more than 10,000 players in action according to tournament officials estimate. Although the official numbers were not released immediately, it appears that 11 levels were played in each starting flight and approximately 4,000 were eliminated from each heat.
The chip counts at the time of publication showed Ian O'Hara with leading with 184,000 in the evening followed by Ty Durekas 179,100 in the morning flight.
The overall picture should become clearer as Saturday wraps up.
Image courtesy of the WSOP.