The 55th Annual World Series of Poker wasted little time tossing the fireworks in 2024, starting the festivities with a new event alongside a longtime tournament. The new event, the $5000 Champions’ Reunion, has now reached its final ten players, while the longtime tournament, the $500 Casino Employees’ Event, has only four survivors left. Those two tournaments will look to crown their champions and award the first bracelets of the 2024 WSOP.

Terry Fleischer, Halil Tasyurek Head Champions’ Reunion

99 players returned for Day Two of the $5000 Champions’ Reunion on Wednesday, looking to grind that number down to the official WSOP final table of nine. Leading the way at the start of this inaugural event, which provided free entry to every living Championship Event winner and offered bounties of 2024 WSOP Championship Event entries on these men, was one of those former World Champions, Qui Nguyen. However, the lead was tenuous for Nguyen as Xiaohu Liu was only two thousand chips behind Nguyen’s 663K stack and Asher Coniff lurked in third with 641K in chips.

At the start of Day Two, there was some unfinished business to take care of. With only 74 players taking down a cash from the 493 entries, 25 players would be leaving with squadoosh. Etching their name under the “squadoosh” line were notables like former World Champions Joseph McKeehen and Huck Seed, Dan Shak, and Roland Israelashvili. That bubble would pop in a clash between the most recent inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame, Brian Rast, and one of the hottest players of late, Ren Lin.

Lin would move his remaining 90K to the center from under the gun and Rast made the call from the pack. The rest of the table, including the cutoff, button, and blinds, decided not to get in the middle of the Titans, and the cards went to their backs:

Lin: A-Q off suit
Rast: pocket tens

Rast led pre-flop and, save for the flush potential from the monochrome 7♣ J♣ 3♣ flop (Lin held a dominant Q♣ over Rast’s 10♣), was never challenged. Two diamonds, a seven and a six, came on the turn and river, keeping Rast in the lead, Lin to the rail, and the 74 remaining players to the money.

After Lin’s departure, the cashout cage became the place to be. Greg Merson, David Williams, defending World Champion Daniel Weinman, Robert Mizrachi, Cherish Andrews, Daniel Negreanu, and Maria Ho were all a part of the parade to the cage. At the same time, notables such as Michael Acevedo, Aram Zobian, David Coleman, and Coniff made it to the final ten players. These ten men are going to play two-table poker to start Day Three action, chasing Terry Fleischer on the leaderboard:

1. Terry Fleischer (USA), 5.61 million
2. Halil Tasyurek (Turkey), 3.995 million
3. Yuzhou Yin (China), 3.6 million
4. Nenad Dukic (Serbia), 2.7 million
5. Asher Conniff (USA), 2.04 million
6. Michael Acevedo (Costa Rica), 1.885 million
7. Jonathan Pastore (France), 1.465 million
8. Aram Zobian (USA), 1.37 million
9. David Coleman (USA), 1.315 million
10. Bryce Welker (USA), 660,000

A champion will be crowned in this tournament this evening, with that champion earning the coveted WSOP bracelet and $408,468. The action begins at 1 PM (Pacific Time) and will be a part of the streaming offerings of PokerGO.

Four Remain in Casino Employees’ Event

Four men will determine the champion in Event #2, the $500 Casino Employees’ Event, this afternoon at 1 PM in the hallowed halls of Paris Las Vegas. Jose Garcia dominated the action during final table play and holds a sizeable lead over the three competitors arranged against him. Every player is guaranteed $26,698 from the nearly $500K prize pool (generated by an 1189-entry field), but the drive is to capture the top prize of $79,134 and the prestigious WSOP bracelet.

1. Jose Garcia (USA), 13.795 million
2. Richard Rothmeier (USA), 8.705 million
3. Lang Anderson (USA), 4.015 million
4. Alexander Green (USA), 2.99 million

Two other events have completed their Day One action at the 2024 WSOP. Event #3, the $500 WSOP Kickoff No Limit Freezeout, drew a 3485-entrant field and will see 523 players return on Thursday for play. Event #4, the $1500 Eight-Handed Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better tournament, sees James Chen and Upeshka de Silva heading a 928-entry field (of which 275 players remain) coming back to hold court over the Day Two festivities. It is just a hint of the action to come as the 2024 World Series of Poker opens for its first weekend of business.

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