Esfandiari Denied Repeat in One Drop; Henson Earns First Summer Cash

Matt Salsberg sits in the middle of the pack in the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event as he shared a table with Steve Gross and Ray Henson. (Drew Amato Photo)

Matt Salsberg sits in the middle of the pack in the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event as he shared a table with Steve Gross and Ray Henson. (Drew Amato Photo)

The beginning of a busy week at the World Series of Poker brought a lot of events to a close, as the Main Event slowly approaches and the tournament schedule starts to empty out. The Monster Stack and the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em events finished up by the end of the evening, and the Big One For One Drop sits with just eight players remaining in the field. The $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Mixed Max and the $3,000 Omaha Hi-Lo events kicked off during the day, bringing in players from all the other large events as the day progressed and the tournaments thinned out. The $1,000 No Limit Hold’em worked it’s way down to just two tables, and will return on Tuesday to award another bracelet.

$1,500 Monster Stack

The Monster Stack returned on Monday for the fifth and final day of this huge event. Players came back with true monster stacks as the last nine players took their seats; these boys had worked their way through a field of 7,862 competing for the first place win. The event had created a huge prizepool totaling $10,613,700, and putting the first place cash of $1,327,083. The remaining group returned to the Amazon Room at 3 pm to begin the slow process of un-bagging all of their chips.

When the last four players took a break around 7 pm (PST) it would be Hugo Pingray in the lead with almost double the chips of his competitors. Pingray sat up top with 49,450,000 chip, leaving Sean Drake (26,250,000) and Claas Segebrecht (24,050,000) neck-in-neck with each other for second place; the shortest “monster” stack at the final table would be Joseph McKeehen, who would be on life support with just 18,000,0000 chips left in front of him.

Ironically, it would be McKeehen and Pingray who would meet heads up in the event. After a few hours of play, Pingray had given up his huge lead and it would be McKeehen who would hold the chip lead for the first time. Switzerland’s Pingray would be short and just barely hanging on as the clock appr0ached midnight here in Vegas. At the end of the night, however, Pingray would prevail, earning himself $1,327,083 for his first place win; the two men played heads up for over five hours before McKeehen would fall and walk away with a second place finish and $820,863.

$1,500 No Limit Hold’em

By 7:30 pm (PST), only six players were left in the back corner of the Amazon Room, surrounded by all the other big events occurring around it. They began the day with just 17 players out of the large starting field of 2,396; the event created a decent prize pool, totaling $3,234,600 and leaving $582,321 up top for the winner. As the group approached the end of level 27, David Jackson was the chip lead, with 3,300,000 but Aaron Massey was unbelievably close to taking over the lead with 3,200,000. Michael Ferrer (1,500,000) and Henrik Hecklen (1,400,000) were also fighting to be in the top three, while Asi Moshe (700,000) and Bobby Poe (650,000) were barely keeping their heads above water, and dangerously close to either doubling up or busting out.

At the end of the evening, it would be the out-of-towners that would walk away at the top of the charts. Canadian Michael Ferrer would finish the event in second place, taking home $361,207, while Israel’s Asi Moshe would collect his first WSOP gold bracelet and cash for $582,321. This would be Moshe’s second career cash, his first occurred during last year’s series when he finished in 5th place in Event #60 No Limit Hold’em for $141,124.

$1,000 No Limit Hold’em

The event returned just 206 players to the Amazon Room for Day 2, as everyone that came and took their seats had already locked up $2,045 when they hit the money bubble late Sunday night. The field continued to wither down and drop off throughout the day on Monday, hitting below 50 players before 8 pm (PST). There were still a few previous bracelet winners in the field, hoping to score another win and take down the $403,483 that sits up top for the winner.

At the end of play for the day, there would be only 16 players that would return to play for the win on Tuesday afternoon. The lead would belong to Ray Henson, who bagged up 897,000 chips; Steve Gross would come close though, with his stack totaling 859,000. Matt Salsberg would hold strong in the middle of the pack with 494,000 chips, still in decent shape to return for Day 3; all Salsberg would need is a double up to be able to compete for the chip lead.

Henson, who hasn’t played many events over the last years and explains his limited poker playing this year. “I have custody of my kids now. It’s really hard to travel and go places and only been there for four or five days going back and forth.  It’s been a long summer, I’ve bricked everything. This is my first cash, and I’ve played 20-21 events.”

Henson shared a table with Matt Salsberg and Steve Gross for the last few levels of the evening. When asked how he felt about the table draw, he said, ” It’s funny because I text David “ODB” Baker, a good friend of mine and said ‘its not fair this table draw. Not to offend anyone at the other table but probably the five best players are at one table. He said ‘that’s fine, you play better when you are up against better competition’. So maybe it works out better for me that way. Maybe not.”

Henson described a hand where he managed to pull a hand against an unsuspecting player, whose flush just never fell through. “I felt everyone was really weak. I lead and got one caller. He just had a flush draw. No one even noticed at first. Everyone thought I was out. The dealer started taking my chips and the guy started celebrating. I was like, I have a full house. The dealer was like ‘oh, my bad!’ Henson would return for Day 2 with the chip lead, just narrowly beating out Steve Gross to be on top.

Here are the top 10 chip counts that will return for Day 3 of the event:

  1. Ray Henson – 897,000
  2. Steve Gross – 859,000
  3. Richard Milne – 827,000
  4. Andrew Egan – 731,000
  5. Robert Merulla – 529,000
  6. Michael Marckx – 510,000
  7. Matt Salsberg – 494,000
  8. Eric Shanks – 450,000
  9. Viktor Skoldstedt – 402,000
  10. Mike Kachan – 375,000

Big One For One Drop

This exciting charity/tournament has brought in loads of crowds and action into the Amazon as the players put up the hefty $1,000,000 entrance fee to participate in the event. A total of 42 players entered the event, and by the time the players opted to take a 90-minute dinner break around 8 pm (PST), only 15 were left. Despite playing past 4 am PST to try to reach a final table, they couldn’t bust the $1.3 million bubble. Rick Salomon has the overnight chiplead, with three other players including Daniel Negreanu right on his tail.

$1,500 No Limit Hold’em Mixed Max

Last year, this popular event was only available with a $3,000 buy-in and was won by Brandon Wong. This year, the WSOP staff decided to host two Mixed Max events; the first, a $25,000 version, was won by Vanessa Selbst at the beginning of the summer. This event is special due to the number of players that will be at each table. For Day 1, each table will play nine-handed, then six-handed on Day 2, then four-handed on Day 3 until only four players remain; at that point, the tournament will become heads up until a winner is established.

At the end of the evening, only 181 out of the starting field of 1,475 remained and would return for Day 2. The players were just short of making the money on Monday night, and would probably hit the money bubble very shortly after their return at 1 pm on Tuesday afternoon. Just 162 players would earn a min-cash of $2,489, but the main focus is on the $405,428 that is up top for the first place winner, along with the WSOP official bracelet.

After the players had bagged their chips for the evening, Justin Zaki walked and talked about how the summer has been for him. If he cashes in this event, it will be his eighth cash of the summer, and 51 career cash. Unfortunately for Zaki, he has been unable to clench that first win. “I’m the Allen Kessler of this generation. It is what it is. I’ve had some close calls, and I haven’t ran well in the key spots deep in tournaments. My time will come eventually. I’m feeling good. I think I’m going to make a deep run in this one. The series is winding down. I’ve made a couple of deep runs this years and just don’t have much show for it.” Zaki will tie David Peter’s No Limit Hold’em cashes from last summer if he outlives roughly twenty people upon his return on Tuesday afternoon. Zaki doesn’t really care about the record. “I’d prefer if I could just win one tournament and only have one cash for the summer, I’d prefer that over eight cashes.”

$3,000 Omaha Hi-Lo

Of all the events held this summer at the World Series of Poker, this is one event people might not recognize as being new. The $3,000 Omaha Hi-Lo will provide players with a starting stack of 9,000 chips and limits that begin at 75/150. This is a 4 pm (PST) starting event, meaning the players would not receive a dinner break on Day 1 but will still play out the standard ten levels. Their breaks would also be cut short, only 15 minutes as opposed to the standard 20 minute breaks every two levels.

The event had brought in a total of 457 people creating a prize pool of $1,247,610; this would guarantee that 54 players would make $4,828. The remaining competitors are much more concerned about the first place cash of $286,976 and the gold bracelet that goes along with it. The evening ended with 180 players left in the field. Some big names remained in the field including:

  • Vanessa Selbst – 51,200
  • Brandon Shack-Harris – 42,200
  • George Danzer – 51,600
  • Scott Clements- 20,550
  • Jennifer Tilly – 46,100
  • Justin Bonomo – 39,500
  • Todd Brunson – 28,700
  • Mike Leah – 28,500
  • Matt Glantz – 28,000
  • Dan Shak -25,800

Looking Ahead…

Two new events will kick off on Tuesday afternoon; first on the schedule would be the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em that will shuffle the cards out at noon. The $10,000 Seven Card Stud event will be the last starting event of the day, with play beginning at 4 pm. The Big One For One Drop will return to decide a winner with eight players still in contention, and the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Mixed Max and $3,000 Omaha Hi-Lo will both bring back a slightly condensed field of competitors for Day 2. The only live-stream tournament on the schedule would be the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event, which will begin streaming when they hit the final ten players.

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