Brunsons Stick Together in Poker Players Championship, Stars Shine in Ante Only

Doyle Brunson and Todd Brunson have been sitting at the same table throughout Day 3 of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. (Drew Amato photo)

Doyle Brunson and Todd Brunson have been sitting at the same table throughout Day 3 of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. (Drew Amato photo)

The 2014 World Series of Poker ebbs and flows depending on the events starting and wrapping up on a given day, but it’s been a little quieter than usual in the Amazon Room – quiet, except for three small pockets filled with enthusiasm and action.

One bracelet winner was already crowned on the Main Stage during the first few hours of action Tuesday, and they’re closing in on the second in the next few hours. They’re entering the critical stages of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship as a $100,000 bubble looms a few hours away for poker’s elite. And in the Ante Only No Limit Hold’em, a format that’s still foreign and new for most players, the cream is rising to the top with only three tables left in action.

Add in a field that’s already broken the previous year’s number in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, with a dinner break’s worth of registration to go, and there’s a strong half-day of poker left to be played.

$50,000 Poker Players Championship

The field dropped below 50 players early in the day’s action, with Jason Mercier maintaining one of the top spots in the chip counts in the first few levels after bagging up the lead Monday night. One of the few players to pass him is Jesse Martin, who was the first player to break the 1 million chip mark in this year’s Players Championship.

Doyle Brunson and Todd Brunson drew the same table to start the day, and they continue to play on into the evening three seats away from one another. Doyle’s pleas for a table change went unheard from the WSOP brass.

David Bach, the 2009 champion of this event, was one of the early casualties on Day 3. Bach was also the final champion remaining in the field, ensuring that someone new will be fortunate enough to add their name to the list of winners of the Chip Reese Memorial trophy. He’s been joined on the rail by Marco Johnson, Scott Clements, Stephen Chidwick, Josh Arieh, Daniel Alaei and Eli Elezra.

With a field of 102 for this year’s event, just 14 players will make their way into the money. It remains to be seen how close they’ll be able to get by the close of Day 3, but a bubble just shy of $100,000 remains for either the late night hours on Tuesday or the early afternoon on Wednesday.

$1,500 Ante Only

2014 is only the third year in which an Ante-Only event has been offered at the WSOP, and despite the volume of world class talent remaining in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship the last three tables of this tournament are top-notch. Ryan D’Angelo has climbed into the chiplead during the first half of Day 2, but he’s being chased by the likes of Adam Levy, Jason Somerville, Antoine Saout, Maria Ho, Brendan Taylor, Manig Loeser and Nipun Java.

Speaking of Levy, he had the good fortune of eliminating Phil Hellmuth in 30th in an all-too-familiar spot for the Poker Brat.

If this doesn’t immediately ring a bell, Hellmuth had a massive meltdown at the 2008 WSOP Main Event on the featured table when Levy made a straight against his set, for the ESPN cameras and all the world to see. BLUFF recently did a moment-by-moment breakdown of that classic Hellmuthian tirade, one that produced so many memorable moments and sound bites. Levy’s among the top five through the first few levels, and he credits his experience among the factors helping him make this run.

“There have been some [tournaments] online with a slightly different format,” said Levy, “But calling is cool. It’s very unique, because there are a lot of weird situations that come up, and I think ultimately that if you’re one of the good players, you’re just going to be able to adapt better than someone else might.”

Hellmuth’s exit was followed by that of a few other notables, including Dan Kelly, Daniel Negreanu, Matt Brady and Max Silver. Kelly was making a run at a second consecutive final table, having won the $1,500 Limit Hold’em event just a couple days ago.

$1,500 No Limit Hold’em

Three days wasn’t enough to crown a champion in Event 44, so Jordan Morgan and Evan McNiff came back Tuesday to fight for the bracelet. Each player took a commanding lead in the match on Day 4, but it would be Jordan Morgan breaking through for his first career bracelet and $478,102. It was Morgan’s first WSOP event of the summer, but the tournament veteran made the most of it in cutting through a field of over 1,900 players on his way to victory.

$1,000 No Limit Hold’em

The second winner of the day will come from Event 45, the only final table that was originally on the schedule for Tuesday’s action. They absolutely flew from 11 down to three players, with all ins and chips flying around at a breakneck pace. All three players remaining have final table experience at the WSOP, but none of them have broken through to this point.

Will Givens made another $1,000 final table just one week ago, which Dutch Boyd won while Givens settled for fourth. Angela Prada-Moed made the final table of the 2012 WSOP Ladies’ Championship, where she earned a fourth place finish of her own. Paul Sokoloff will at least match his previous-best finish in a WSOP event, having finished third in a $10,000 HORSE Championship that featured an absolute murderer’s row of a final table. Sokoloff outlasted the likes of Dan Kelly, Matt Waxman, Abe Mosseri, Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth before bowing out in third to leave David Baker and John Monnette to play heads-up for the bracelet.

  1. Will Givens – 2,630,000
  2. Paul Sokoloff – 1,500,000
  3. Angela Prada-Moed – 1,370,000

$1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

The first of two Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo events at the 2014 WSOP has begun, with the $1,500 version of this volatile game getting cards in the air at 12 pm Tuesday. It’s very similarly placed on the 2014 schedule to where it was a year ago when Jarred Graham beat 935 other players to win the bracelet and $255,942. That final table also featured runner-up Marco Johnson, Barry Greenstein, Eric Rodawig and Perry Green, along with the first in a string of tremendous runs from Loni Harwood.

Johnson is among the biggest stacks in the room after six levels, joined at the top by the likes of Joe Serock, Calen McNeil and Greg Raymer. As the players headed off to dinner the clock reads 964 total entries in the field and 459 players remaining.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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