Rick Salomon Leads Big One for One Drop Final 9, $1.3M Bubble Paused Overnight

Rick Salomon has the chiplead after Day 2 of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop. (Drew Amato photo)

Rick Salomon has the chiplead after Day 2 of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop. (Drew Amato photo)

Two full days of play at the 2014 World Series of Poker were not enough to burst through a $1.3 million bubble in the Big One for One Drop. Despite playing past 4 am PST on Day 2, nine players will come back to play out the tournament on Tuesday afternoon.

With only eight players getting paid, one of these nine men is still destined to go home empty-handed. The chip breakdown is very much a case of the haves and have-nots, but the overnight chiplead belongs to Rick Salomon. The former movie and TV producer who is a regular in some of the biggest cash games in California, as well as the son of former executive vice president of Warner Brothers Robert Jess Salomon and the husband of Pamela Anderson, bagged 23,575,000 to narrowly outpace three other players with over 20 million.

Tobias Reinkemeier, Daniel Colman and Daniel Negreanu are each within a single medium-sized pot of the chiplead and are in fairly comfortable position going into Day 3 of the tournament as the bubble carries overnight. Things are decidedly less comfortable for Cary Katz, Scott Seiver, Tom Hall, Christoph Vogelsang and Paul Newey, who each take less than 20 big blinds into Day 3 – with less than 10 big blinds for Newey.

After an eventful start that saw the field more than cut in half through five levels, it took the better part of the first level back from dinner for fireworks to explode between Negreanu and Sam Trickett. Negreanu raised to 360,000, Trickett three-bet to 800,000 from the small blind and Negreanu called, bringing down a flop of 9 6 5. Trickett checked, Negreanu checked it back and the turn was the T. Trickett led out for 1.2 million, Negreanu called, and the river was the 9. Trickett open shoved his remaining stack of 3,865,000, which was just over 24 big blinds, and Negreanu thought it over for a little while, asking for an exact count. They were essentially even in chips, and eventually Negreanu found a call, causing Trickett to confidently table his A A. Negreanu got it on the river, though, as his J 9 made trips and sent the 2012 Big One for One Drop runner-up out in 15th place.

The action slowed at both tables after Trickett’s elimination, but the chips were still moving a lot among the short stacks. Newey doubled through Phil Galfond with A K against A Q on an A 7 7 board to cripple Galfond’s stack, only for Galfond to double back with K 2 against Reinkemeier’s A 3 on the last hand before a break. Katz, who had been largely quiet since scooping the massive pot he took with pocket aces against Connor Drinan’s pocket aces, doubled once as well, taking a chunk of Vogelsang’s stack with A Q to Vogelsang’s K 8.

Esfandiari kept losing small and medium pots to lose more than half of what was once a 20 million chip stack, but he kept his head mostly above water for the time being. The same can’t be said for Phil Ivey, who seemed to be on a perpetual short stack during the latter stages of Day 2. Katz continued to rebuild his stack at Ivey’s expense, opening to 500,000 on the button, which Ivey called. The flop was Q Q 5, Ivey checked, Katz bet 600,000 and Ivey check-raised all in for 3,480,000. Katz called and showed A Q for trips, but Ivey was live to a flush with A 8. The 5 turn sealed it for Katz, making his boat, and Ivey shook hands with the remaining players as the 9 officially marked his end in 14th place.

Galfond’s high wire act finally got the best of him shortly thereafter. Esfandiari raised to 510,000 on the button, Negreanu called in the small blind and Galfond called along in the big blind. The flop was 7 4 2, Negreanu checked, Galfond went all in for 1,760,000 (7.3 big blinds) and Esfandiari called. Negreanu reraised all in and Esfandiari got out of the way, with good reason – Negreanu’s K J had Galfond’s queen-high flush draw dead on the flop, and the crowd applauded Galfond as the board ran out J 2 to knock him out in 13th.

Salomon made a big push towards the top of the chip counts with two barrels of a massive bluff against Vogelsang, and cracked the 20 million chip mark by taking out Gabe Kaplan. Salomon limped under the gun, Kaplan shoved for just shy of 3 million (10 big blinds) and Salomon called with 6 6. With A Q Kaplan needed to hit, and he picked up an additional out on the T T T flop. The 5 turn and 7 river were bricks though and Kaplan, who was the last player to enter this field of 42, went out just four spots shy of the money, in 12th.

What followed was more than a level and a half without an elimination. Vogelsang and Steven played a coinflip for almost all of their collective chips, with Vogelsang’s 9 9 holding off Steven’s A K. Steven doubled back twice and hung on for quite some time on a very short stack, but the fourth all in and call would be his last. With just over three big blinds left, he pushed all in from under the gun with Q 9 and Katz called blind, turning over T 7. It looked as if Steven might get another reprieve on the A 4 3 flop and 6 turn, but the 7 river snatched the pot away and sent Steven out in 11th. It was another in a series of historically painful near-misses – Steven finished 10th in the 2010 WSOP Main Event and 12th in the 2012 Big One for One Drop too.

Negreanu was moved over to the secondary table to balance things out, and after almost two full days of having a big stack Esfandiari was put on the chopping block. After Reinkemeier opened to 850,000, Esfandiari three-bet to 2 million in the small blind. Reinkemeier four-bet all in for just over 7 million and Esfandiari eventually found a call with A 9, only to be shown A K. There’d be no nine and no chop, and the defending champion was left with just 14 big blinds.

10-handed play continued a little while longer, but Reinkemeier would eventually get the rest of Esfandiari’s chips in a very similar spot. After Reinkemeier raised to 900,000 in the small blind, Esfandiari three-bet all in for 5,005,000 (12 big blinds) with A 5 and Reinkemeier called with A J. The Q 9 6 flop kept Esfandiari with three outs, but the J turn marked the official end of the defending champion. The 5 on the river gave Esfandiari an inferior pair, and his run was halted in 10th place.

Esfandiari didn’t get paid, but there was still one other unfortunate soul who would walk out empty-handed on a $1.3 million bubble. Newey was the short stack to begin, but he wasted little time getting all of his chips in the middle against Reinkemeier. He happened to have A A in the big blind against Reinkemeier’s Q Q on the button, and Newey’s aces held where that hand failed several times in big spots on the featured table.

That left Seiver as the shortest stack. He was able to fold a round of blinds, but he’d eventually have to make his stand the second time he was in the big blind. It folded around to Negreanu on the button and he raised to 2 million, essentially committing himself to call a shove from either Newey in the small blind or Seiver in the big blind. Newey folded, Seiver shoved for 4.7 million and Negreanu reluctantly called, tabling 5 6. Seiver was ahead with K Q, but it looked ugly as the flop came down T [7] [5]. The J on the turn gave Seiver an open-ended straight draw, but it was the Q on the river that made his hand and doubled him up.

Try as they might, they couldn’t get to the official final table of this tournament by the end of Level 19. At 4:15 am PST, with several players vocally speaking out against the decision – most notably Scott Seiver – the chip bags came out. While he was upset at the ultimatum, Seiver is using the delay as a call to arms for his friends who might not have stayed up until 4 am to rally to his side.

Play will resume at 3 pm PST Tuesday, and once the bubble bursts the attention will turn towards a first place prize of over $15 million and a platinum WSOP bracelet.

2014 $1 Million Big One for One Drop – End of Day 2 Chip Counts

  1. Rick Salomon – 23,575,000
  2. Tobias Reinkemeier – 22,825,000
  3. Daniel Colman – 22,625,000
  4. Daniel Negreanu – 20,700,000
  5. Cary Katz – 9,125,000
  6. Scott Seiver – 8,250,000
  7. Tom Hall – 7,775,000
  8. Christoph Vogelsang – 7,075,000
  9. Paul Newey – 4,050,000
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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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