Laak Headlines PLO, Selbst and Tran Near Top of Mixed Max, Employees are Heads-up


Phil Laak is at the top of the chip counts in the $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha (Drew Amato Photo)

The first bracelet of the 2014 World Series of Poker was supposed to be awarded in the early hours of Thursday morning. That plan was thrown a curveball when the $500 Casino Employees event hit the hard stop rule just after 3 am PST.

Roland Reparejo and Corey Emery were heads-up for the bracelet and $82,835 when the staff handed out bags for the two players to pack up their chips for the night.

While the employees event was going on in the featured table area,  the $25,000 Mixed Max No Limit Hold’em event wrapped up Day 2 and the biggest non-hold’em event in WSOP history finished its first day.

$1,000 Pot Limit Omaha

The 2014 WSOP made history with the third event of the summer. By the time registration closed, 1,128 players put up entry fee, making it the biggest non-hold’em event in the history of the WSOP.

After 10 levels of play, those 1,128 were quickly trimmed down to just 106, with the top 117 finishers earning at least a min-cash of $1,928. The bubble was popped late in the day, with just under 20 minutes remaining in the final level of the day.

Not everybody was lucky enough to survive the day though. Erik Seidel, Erick Lindgren, Phil Hellmuth, Michael Mizrachi, and Mike Matusow were all eliminated before the final hand was dealt.

Huck Seed and Dan Smith were also eliminated, but they were able to secure a min-cash before hitting the rail.

Ashton Griffin, Maria Ho, Douglas “WCGRider” Polk, and 2012 WSOP Main Event Champion Greg Merson are just a few of the notables who bagged and tagged chips. Phil Laak had a good start in this event as well. The man known to many as “The Unabomber” finished the day with 65,700, which is good for eighth in chips.

Players will be returning to the Rio on Thursday afternoon at 1 pm PST (4 pm EST) to start Day 2 of the event. Everybody will be guaranteed at least $1,928, but they have their eyes set on surviving another day and being in the hunt for the gold bracelet and the $205,634 first place prize money.

Here are a look at the top 10 chip counts heading into Day 2:

1. Loren Klein – 133,900
2. John O’Shea – 89,000
3. Allan Le – 88,200
4. Lori Yogo – 79,900
5. Steve Billirakis – 75,800
6. John Gordon – 73,100
7. Josef Monro – 65,900
8. Phil Laak – 65,700
9. Paul Phillips – 65,700
10. James Brown – 59,200

$25,000 Mixed-Max No Limit Hold’em

One of the biggest buy-in tournaments of the summer saw 60 players return for Day 2 of the $25,000 Mixed-Max No Limit Hold’em event. Day 1 was played at a full table of nine, but the second day moved to a six-max format, with the top 16 spots earning a payday.

Some of the games greats hit the rail early in the day as Daniel Negreanu, Andrew Lichtenberger, and Jason Mercier all were eliminated before the dinner break.

Some big names fell early, but there was still plenty of talent left in the field as Vanessa Selbst and JC Tran moved towards the top of the chip counts throughout the day and stayed there by the night’s end.

Tran shot up to the chip lead when he eliminated Phil Ivey as the money bubble was getting closer. On a flop of KQJ, the two players got Ivey’s last 500,000 into the middle and Tran had Ivey drawing dead. Tran showed 87 and couldn’t lose the pot against Ivey’s AT. Tran’s flush held up and he never looked back.

Ivey’s elimination in 18th place moved the tournament into hand-for-hand play and it was John Juanda, who had the unfortunate distinction of being called the tournament’s bubble boy. He moved all in for his last 185,000 with Q6 and was called by Robert Tepper’s AQ. Juanda was unable to find a six and was eliminated on the bubble of the event.

After a short discussion between the staff and the players, it was decided that the final 16 players would bag and tag their chips early and return on Thursday at 2 pm PST (5 pm EST) to play Day 3 of the event, which will be played in a four-max format.

Calvin Anderson finished the day fifth in chips with 812,000 and is continuing his recent tournament dominance with a cash in his first event of the 2014 WSOP. Known as “Cal42688″ online, he is coming off a PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker Player of the Series performance after having 20 cashes and seven final tables, including one outright win, over the two week series.

“Everything is kind of clicking and my mindset is really good right now,” said Anderson of his recent success.

He credits that success to a key change he made in his life this year.

“I haven’t eaten any meat this year. Only fish,” said Anderson. “I’m going to try and do vegetarian the whole year and see how that works. Mentally I’m in a good place and physically I’m getting better. It’s been good. I’m excited to play the rest of the series.”

Anderson’s first cash of the series is made even sweeter for him because he has all of his action in the event.

“I didnt’ sell any action to this event at all,” said Anderson. “I just swapped a little bit so I have a really big percentage of myself. I’m really excited and I want to win.”

The chip leader heading into Day 3 is Al Decarolis with 1.261 million in chips. Decarolis is a restaurant owner from Los Angeles and this is his first live tournament cash. Decarolis, along with the rest of the field, has locked up at least $54,945, but that pales in comparison to the gold bracelet and the $871,148 that goes with it.

Here are a look at the chip counts:

1. Al Decarolis – 1,261,000
2. JC Tran – 1,251,000
3. Vanessa Selbst – 1,224,000
4. Jason Mo – 1,214,000
5. Calvin Anderson – 812,000
6. Matt Giannetti – 676,000
7. Ryan Fee – 656,000
8. Barry Hutter – 524,000
9. Darren Elias – 506,000
10. Robert Tepper – 490,000
11. Aaron Jones – 306,000
12. Richard Lyndaker – 213,000
13. Nick Schulman – 207,000
14. Kevin Song – 198,000
15. Noah Schwartz – 193,000
16. Brian Green – 145,000

$500 Casino Employees Event

The final table of the $500 Casino Employees event got underway on Thursday evening, but after several hours of play, a winner couldn’t be reached. Roland Reparejo and Corey Emery were heads-up when the WSOP staff enforced the hard stop rule and the chips were bagged and tagged.

The two players will return to the Rio at 2 pm PST (5 pm EST) to finish out their heads-up battle and claim the first bracelet of the summer. Reparejo currently holds the chip lead with 1,795,000 to Emery’s 735,000.

Here are a look at the payouts:

3. Charles Nguyen – $33,073
4. Olivier Doremusd – $24,203
5. John Taylor – $17,975
6. Brian Wong – $13,528
7. Marcin Sobczak – $10,308
8. David Luttbeg – $7,947
9. Kevin Chiem – $6,192

Kevmath Recommeds…
Vanessa Selbst is well positioned to earn her third WSOP bracelet, resuming Thursday third in chips with 16 players remaining.


Jason Somerville has earned over $2,000,000 and a WSOP bracelet during his live tournament career, but had never cashed in a non-holdem event until making the money in Event 3 – $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha.

Looking Ahead

Two more events will get underway at the Rio on Thursday. Event #4, a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event, gets cards in the air at noon PST (3 pm EST) and event #5, the $10,000 Deuce to Seven Triple Draw starts at 4 pm PST (7 PM EST).

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