We’re a week into the 2018 World Series of Poker at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and the pros are starting to flex their muscles. A man who has quietly had some outstanding results over the past two WSOPs – poker professional Paul Volpe – picked up his third bracelet in Event #9, while another poker pro – Dutch Boyd – looks for his fourth in a new event.

Event #9 – $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better Championship

Wednesday was an additional day for the tournament, added on because of the size of the field (169 players) and the split-pot nature of the game (both the high and low hand take a piece of the pot). Six men returned for action, with the legendary Eli Elezra holding a distinct advantage over his tablemates with his 2.7 million stack. That advantage was almost a million chips over the second-place stack (1.82 million) of Adam Coats, while Volpe settled in as the third-place runner (1.6 million). Kyle Miaso (1.275 million), Viacheslav Zhukov (970K) and a REALLY short stacked Dustin Dirksen (140K) rounded out the field of competitors.

Volpe came out on the first hand and took over second place from Coats, but the news wasn’t as good for Dirksen. Although he was able to get a double up through Zhukov, he couldn’t double up again through Volpe when Volpe flopped a set that held without a low to split the pot. Only 30 minutes into the tournament, Volpe had eliminated a player, taken over second place and was threatening Elezra’s once-insurmountable lead.

Zhukov never recovered from doubling up Dirksen, his chips slipping thorough his fingers as the day wore on. In a three-way hand – never a good thing in a split pot game because one person usually isn’t going to get ANY of the pot – Miaso was able to push Elezra out of the pot and get to heads up against Zhukov. On a K-J-9 flop (ensuring no low), Zhukov’s A-K-5-3 was behind Miaso’s A-J-9-4 and never was able to come back. A seven on the turn and a deuce on the river spelled the end for Zhukov, sending him to the cage for his fifth-place payday.

Another hour later, there would be a new chip leader. Volpe continued to play his aggressive style and it paid off virtually every time. In a battle with Coats on a 6-5-2-7-8 board, Volpe’s A-9-5-3 scooped a pot – a nine-high straight and a wheel low – and took over the lead from Elezra. It was short lived, however, as first Miaso and then Coats fought back to each hold the lead on their own.

Elezra and Volpe, however, would prove to be the class of the field. Both men were in the basement at some point four handed, but both were able to demonstrate the skills to climb back up the leaderboard. Elezra would eventually dispose of Miaso in fourth place and Volpe would take down Coats in third to set up an epic showdown for the bracelet.

Volpe held a roughly 1.5 million chip lead (4.965 million-3.485 million) going to the mano y mano fight and Volpe never let the veteran Elezra see the light of day. Volpe took the first three hands to stretch his lead to almost 3:1 (6.285 million to 2.165 million) and, 15 minutes later, would have Elezra on the ropes with a five million chip lead. Although Elezra was able to salvage a couple of chopped pots, he was never able to mount an offense (he commented that Volpe “ran like god” during the final table) as, on the final hand, Volpe flopped a Queen high straight that held up to give him his third bracelet victory.

Paul Volpe, $417,921
Eli Elezra, $258,297
Adam Coats, $181,374
Kyle Miaso, $129,648
Viacheslav Zhukov, $94,730
Dustin Dirksen, $69,971

Event #13 – $1500 Big Blind Ante No Limit Hold’em – Day 2

After 1306 players plunked their $1500 down for the tournament, only 30 players remained following Day 2. Of those survivors, the player in the best position is three-time WSOP bracelet winner Dutch Boyd, who will start the day on Thursday as the chip leader with his 748,000 in chips.

There are several pitfalls that might slow down Boyd in his pursuit of the title, however. Sitting only a couple of spots back in the standings is former World Poker Tour champion Anthony Ruberto with 468,000 in chips, while Stephen Song (455,000) and Jan Christoph von Halle (409,000) lurk in the Top Ten. Other pros such as Ankush Mandavia (283,000) and Shaun Deeb (194,000) have viable chip stacks and could still have an impact on the tournament.

The plan for Thursday is to play down to the champion. Everyone is guaranteed $7670 for coming back today, but the ultimate prize of $315,346 and the WSOP bracelet is awaiting some fortunate player this evening.

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