The 2018 World Series of Poker has entered its third weekend of action and the big guns have come out. In one event, an extra day was required to determine a champion while, in another, one of the most prestigious events in the game got underway.
Event #27 – $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship
After having the WSOP “curfew” extend the event, four-time WSOP bracelet winner John “World” Hennigan emerged as the victor of the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, defeating two-time WSOP bracelet winner David “Bakes” Baker in doing so.
Thursday saw the 166-runner field knocked down to only 16 players and, after the carnage saw players such as Jean “Prince” Gaspard, Illya Trincher, Anthony Rizzo and Robert Mizrachi sent to the rail, the final table was set. Iraj Parvizi was in the lead while Baker was in third and Hennigan fighting off a short stack of 530K. Baker and Hennigan treaded water through Texas and Omaha Hold’em before making a big move in Razz, bringing both men to the top of the board with Parvizi.
The trio would prove to be the crème of the tournament, working down to the final four players before Parvizi would depart in fourth place. Lee Salem joined Hennigan and Baker as the final players with a chance at the championship, but he would drop away in third place after Baker rivered a six-four low in Razz to defeat him. Baker would need those chips, too; Hennigan held a 5.315 million-to-2.99 million edge over Baker as the heads-up match began.
With the clock creeping closer to the 2AM “curfew” that the WSOP imposes (all tournaments, unless at the final table and agreed to by its participants, have a hard 10 level rule imposed; all tournaments must stop action for the day after 10 levels, roughly about 2AM in most cases), Hennigan tried to put away Baker quick. Although Hennigan would work him down to slightly over a million chips at one point, Baker would prove to be resilient, winning the final two hands of Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo (the “E”) before officials asked if the duo wanted to continue. Both men decided to come back on Friday to finish their meeting and WSOP officials agreed.
On Friday, Hennigan once again came out firing and had Baker down to his last 500K. But Baker fought back valiantly, doubling up twice in Hold’em and Omaha, but the mountain of chips in front of Hennigan was just too much to overcome. On the last hand of Limit Hold’em, Baker got his last chips in with A-6 against Hennigan’s J-3 and the resulting 10-3-2-Q-Q spelled the end of Baker’s tournament and awarded the fifth WSOP bracelet of his storied career to John Hennigan.
1. John Hennigan, $414,692
2. David “Bakes” Baker, $256,297
3. Lee Salem, $179,216*
4. Iraj Parvizi, $127,724*
5. Randy Ohel, $92,808*
6. Albert Daher, $68,783*
7. Daniel Zack, $52,016*
8. Michael Noori, $40,155*
(* – eliminated in action on Thursday)
Event #33 – $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship
It is revered as one of the most prestigious titles in the world of poker. Because of its repertoire of games and the high buy in, the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship is thought to crown the “best player” in the game, testing the skills and the nerves of poker’s elite through a significant grind. That tournament kicked off on Friday and, with registration still ongoing until Level 10, the field is looking strong.
77 players came to the fore on Friday for the tournament and, by the end of the day, only three would not be around anymore. Scott Seiver, Frank Kassela and Kristijonas Andrulis would be those three unfortunate individuals who wouldn’t come back on Saturday for action. But perhaps the biggest stir was raised by who decided NOT to play (at least on Friday).
14-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth allegedly was trying to raise some money to subsidize his play in the $50K tournament, not an unheard-of tactic as players look to reduce the variance of the game. In a Tweet, however, Hellmuth told his followers that he just didn’t “feel right” and he had decided not to play in the event. Instead, Hellmuth entered the minefield of the Seniors’ Event, which saw him get eviscerated by the piranha that swam in those pools and eliminated quickly.
Coming back to the felt on Saturday, the United Kingdom’s Benny Glaser will be atop the standings, improving to 574,900 in chips off his 250,000-opening stack. There is a virtual Who’s Who of poker behind him, however, including Hennigan’s hunt for Bracelet #6 and the defending champion and two-time winner of the Players’ Championship, Brian Rast, lurking in the waters:
Benny Glaser, 574,900
Anthony Zinno, 493,200
Brian Rast, 473,900
James Obst, 450,100
John Hennigan, 449,000
Naseem Salem, 433,400
Alexander Kostritsyn, 415,600
Shaun Deeb, 394,200
Paul Volpe, 390,800
David “ODB” Baker, 387,400
The tournament will resume at 2PM (Pacific Time) in the Rio and, as stated previously, late registration will run to the end of Level 10 (or roughly 10PM this evening). This gives plenty of players (like Hellmuth?) a late opportunity to get in on the action and look to claim one of poker’s greatest championships.