It has been a busy first few days of the 2024 World Series of Poker. Four events are already in the books, handing out their hardware, as the first weekend of the Series looms. Coming up for the players on this first weekend is one of the “tentpole” events of the 2024 WSOP and the always entertaining $25,000 Heads-Up Championship, which will be decided on Saturday.

Asher Conniff Picks Up First Bracelet in Champions’ Reunion

There is a lengthy list of notables who are in that club of “best player to never win a WSOP bracelet.” Former World Poker Tour World Champion Asher Conniff was one of those men, who has now removed his name from the list by winning Event #1, the $5000 Champions’ Reunion, on Thursday evening.

Conniff came to Day Three action in the middle of the pack of the ten-player field. Two players had to be dropped to reach the eight-handed final table (this was an eight-handed event), and those were taken care of quickly. It was Aram Zobian who first departed when his A-J failed to catch Jonathan Pastore’s pocket Jacks, then Bryce Welker dropped at the hands of Conniff when his K-Q did not catch against Conniff’s A-Q.

With eight players remaining, Conniff had pulled himself into second place, looking up only at Pastore, and that twosome ruled over the final table. There was a key moment in which Pastore sent some chips to Yuzhou Yin while Conniff made his move, taking out David Coleman in sixth place. Conniff watched, however, as Halil Tasyurek knocked out Terry Fleischer in fifth place to become the first player over the ten million chip mark.

Tasyurek was a wrecking ball, shattering the dreams of both Pastore (fourth) and Yin (third), and seemed to be in prime position for the victory going to heads up against Conniff (20.9 million to 3.75 million). Conniff’s skills would be on full display over the next two hours as he pulled Tasyurek back to him and, eventually, went into the lead. On the final hand, Tasyurek made a move with a J 9 against the pocket tens of Conniff and failed to hit on the 7-4-K-5-8 board to earn Conniff the victory.

1. Asher Conniff (USA), $408,468
2. Halil Tasyurek (Turkey), $272,305
3. Yuzhou Yin (China), $188,342
4. Jonathan Pastore (France), $132,545
5. Terry Fleischer (USA), $94,936
6. David Coleman (USA), $69,231
7. Nenad Dukic (Serbia), $51,416
8. Michael Acevedo (Costa Rica), $38,903

Casino Employees’ Event Goes to Jose Garcia

Four men returned on Thursday to decide the winner of the $500 Casino Employees’ Event, tournament #2 on your 2024 WSOP scorecard. Jose Garcia would come to this quartet of players with the biggest chip stack, holding 13.795 million chips. That stack was about the same as the three men left against Garcia – Richard Rothmeier (8.705 million), Lang Anderson (4.015 million), and Alexander Green (2.99 million).

Garcia never faced a serious challenge as he ran over his opposition. He would take out Anderson in fourth and, while Rothmeier ended Green’s tournament in third, he lacked the ammunition to keep up with Garcia. In a brief, thirty-minute battle, Garcia consistently held the edge and knocked off Rothmeier in second place with a well-timed two pair over the air of Rothmeier.

1. Jose Garcia (USA), $79,134
2. Richard Rothmeier (USA), $52,773
3. Alexander Green (USA), $37,264
4. Lang Anderson (USA), $26,698
5. Barry Goldberg (USA), $19,412*
6. Bradley Wolfe (USA), $14,328*
7. Joshua Sieverding (USA), $10,737*
8. Christopher Keem (USA), $8171*
9. Lukas Robinson (United Kingdom), $6317*

(* – eliminated on Wednesday, part of official final table)

WSOP “Kicks Off” in Grand Style, Daniel Willis Takes Event #3

The $500 WSOP Kickoff, Event #3 on the schedule for the 2024 WSOP, was set up to be a welcoming event and a chance to pick up a bracelet for cheap. 3485 entries took a shot at that bracelet, with Daniel Willis leading the final nine combatants to the baize for battle on Friday. Willis would prove to be the ultimate survivor, taking down the bracelet and the massive payday.

Willis would face a challenge from Michael Wang, who usurped the lead from him about halfway through the battle, but Willis would recover by knocking off Yoshinori Funayama in fifth and Steven Borella in fourth. Wang would momentarily take the lead back by sending Shawn Smith to the rail in third, but Willis would quickly double through Wang in heads-up play to retake the lead and, eventually, seal the title, denying Wang a third WSOP bracelet win.

1. Daniel Willis (United Kingdom), $175,578
2. Michael Wang (USA), $117,056
3. Shawn Smith (USA), $86,820
4. Steven Borella (USA), $64,920
5. Yoshinori Funayama (Japan), $48,938
6. Daniel Sherer (USA), $37,194
7. John Marino (USA), $28,501
8. David Niedringhaus (USA), $22,022
9. Aaron Aldy (USA), $17,159

Omaholics Unite! James Chen Earns Event #4 Championship

In 2023, James Chen finished as the runner-up to Ben Lamb in the $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better World Championship, earning his best-ever tournament score. While the prize may not have been as large for Event #4 ($1500 Eight Handed Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better), Chen was able to grab the elusive prize, the 2024 WSOP gold bracelet, in winning early this morning.

The glacial nature of split-pot games saw 22 players come back for action in the Horseshoe, meaning that there would be a long night ahead of the players. Six hours of play brought the field to the final nine and, once Jamie Kerstetter was dismissed from the unofficial final table in ninth place, the battleground was set with Chen in the lead over Adam Nattress and Lewis Brant.

Over the next seven hours, Chen demonstrated a mastery of the Omaha game, never far out of the lead as the players fell away. He was in a dominant position going to heads-up action over Brant and never faced any challenges, although Brant showed tenacity in trying to fight back into the battle. On the final hand, Brant was all in with a decent high hand (A-K-Q-10) against Chen’s K-7-4-3, but the poker gods did not cooperate. The 9-7-2 flop put Chen in the lead and another seven on the turn left Brant drawing dead and James Chen claiming the Event #4 championship.

1. James Chen (USA), $209,350
2. Lewis Brant (USA), $139,563
3. Sovann Pen (USA), $97,445
4. Adam Nattress (USA), $69,129
5. Pearce Arnold (USA), $49,842
6. Aleksey Filatov (USA), $36,531
7. Curtis Phelps (USA), $27,227
8. Todd Dakake (USA), $20,640

On tap today at the WSOP will be action in the $25,000 Heads-Up World Championship. The eventual champion of that tournament will walk out with a $500,000 payday, the WSOP bracelet, and the first World Champion designation of the 2024 WSOP.

The final ten players are in the books for the $1500 Dealer’s Choice event as several top pros look to earn their next WSOP bracelet. John Hennigan, Viktor Blom, and Shaun Deeb are all poised to work, while Brayden Gazlay and Clint Wolcyn will try to hold them off. Finally, Day Two action will begin in both Event #8 ($5000 Eight Handed Pot Limit Omaha) and Event #9 ($1500 Eight Handed Limit Hold’em) as they look to reach their final tables.

It is a busy first weekend at the 2024 WSOP, and the players are primed for action! PokerGO will cover all the action through their streaming outlet and could have some of that play streamed through their YouTube channel.

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