The first weekend of the World Series of Poker has a bit of something for everyone. For those looking to win a big stack of cash for a small buy-in, there “The Colossus” (more on that elsewhere). For those who have a bit more cash burning a hole in their pockets – about $111,111 worth, to be exact – the latest edition of the WSOP’s $111,111 One Drop High Roller was just what the doctor ordered.
Day Two of the One Drop High Roller saw 79 players return from the 119 who began the event on Friday but, with late registration still ongoing in the tournament, those survivors had no clue as to what they were playing for. At the head of the class was 2014 WSOP Championship Event winner Martin Jacobson, who had put together a stack of 1.677 million chips for combat on Saturday. He was joined in the Top Five by Charlie Carrel (1.624 million), Doug Polk (1.522 million), Brian Rast (1.465 million), and Dan Smith (1.36 million), while others such as Dominik Nitsche, Bryn Kenney, Adrian Mateos, 2016 Super High Roller Bowl champion Rainer Kempe and former “Big One for One Drop” champions Antonio Esfandiari and Dan Colman built big stacks and were viable contenders.
Kempe got off to a good start, cutting a chunk of chips off of Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier to jump into contention with 1.47 million chips, while players like David ‘Doc’ Sands, Stephen Chidwick and Patrick Leonard jumped into the fray. But it was Leon Tsoukernik who made the biggest waves as he rocketed to the lead after hitting Aces up against Tom Marchese to send him out of the event. As Marchese took the long walk from the Rio’s tournament room, Tsoukernik stacked up 2.2 million in chips, taking the lead from Jacobson.
Once the late registration period ended, the players could really get excited about the One Drop High Roller. 130 entries had been received (the One Drop High Roller, believe it or not, was a re-entry event), building a $13,722,150 prize pool that the competitors were itching to get their hands on. Only the final 20 finishers would be the beneficiaries of the minimum payout of $166,666, with the eventual champion of the event pulling down $3,686,865 for their efforts on the felt.
The release of the payout schedule didn’t matter to those who were ousted from the tournament. Isaac Haxton, Lauren Roberts, Dan Smith (outdrawn by Phil Hellmuth’s A-7 on an 8-4-4-7-3 board while holding an A-10), Mustapha Kanit, Manig Loeser, Stefan Shillhabel, John Juanda, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, and former World Champion Ryan Riess all were on the rail by the end of the day’s play. But it turned out to be a rather decent day for a Frenchman who was able to overcome his early misstep.
Grospellier started his comeback with a hand against Ivan Luca that boosted his stack over a million chips. On a K-J-6-10 flop and turn, Grospellier and Luca built a decent half-million chip stack. After Luca fired a 125K bet – and was met with a Grospellier raise to 333K – Luca decided that he would wait for another time. That win pushed Grospellier over 1.2 million in chips and he only continued to charge after that point.
By the dinner break, Grospellier was still in the middle of the pack with his 1.515 million in chips, but he went on a rush post-dinner. Seated on the feature table with Hellmuth, Mateos and several other notables, Grospellier slowly ground his stack upwards, eclipsing the two million mark by midnight. It was a hand against Hellmuth, however, that would push him into the lead by the night’s end.
After Hellmuth raised from the cutoff, Grospellier defended his big blind and saw a K-Q-Q flop. Grospellier checked his option to Hellmuth, who fired off 100K, then raised the bet to 285K, which Hellmuth called. A trey on the turn saw Grospellier check again and Hellmuth fire again, this time for 460K. Reviewing his options, Grospellier once again went to the check-raise, only making it 1.2 million this time around. Now it was Hellmuth’s turn to mull the situation and, eventually, the ‘Poker Brat’ (who has been preaching the “power of positivity” of late) found the “fold” button. Perhaps to twist the knife a bit deeper, ‘Elky’ revealed a J-10 for nothing but an open-ended straight draw, sending Hellmuth into the air faster than a SpaceX rocket in a fit of incredulity.
Now sitting on a 6.8 million stack, Grospellier was able to cruise to the end of the evening. By the time the bags were passed out, Grospellier was able to put 7.04 million in his sack, earning the chip lead by a decent margin over his 22 competitors for today’s Day 3:
1. Bertrand Grospellier, 7.04 million
2. Dario Sammartino, 6.08 million
3. Scott Seiver, 4.92 million
4. Chris Moore, 4.315 million
5. Dan Colman, 4.1 million
6. Andrew Robl, 4.08 million
7. Rainer Kempe, 3.95 million
8. Martin Jacobson, 3.805 million
9. Doug Polk, 3.5 million
10. Phil Hellmuth, 2.87 million
Play will resume in the One Drop High Roller at 2PM today, looking to get down to the final table for play on Monday.