Three New WSOP Bracelet Winners, Massive PLO Field Highlight Day 16

Thursday was a three-bracelet day at the 2015 World Series of Poker with three players each earning the first WSOP bracelet win of their career. Christian Pham, Ben Zamani and Sam Greenwood all managed to find their to the winner’s circle. Two others events marched towards Day 3 with a final table in sight and two other events kicked off, including the biggest non-Hold’em event of the summer

After Misclicking Registration, Christian Pham Wins $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven

Christian Pham has a new favorite game - No Limit Deuce to Seven.

Christian Pham has a new favorite game – No Limit Deuce to Seven.

Only three players returned to Day 3 play in the $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven event including one player who had never played the game before accidentally registering for it on Tuesday. That player is Christian Pham and after just over four hours of play on Thursday he was $81,314 richer and the owner of a brand new WSOP bracelet.

Pham came out on top of a very experienced final table that included Mike Leah and Huck Seed. Pham beat Daniel Ospina heads-up to win the bracelet and afterwards explained the registration error that led to him being in the tournament in the first place.

“First table I came to, I thought it was for the $1,500 Limit Hold’em table, after that I go to the table and they deal five cards and I think ‘oh my god’,” said Pham. “I tried to figure out what the hands I could play were. After that I play, I kept learning and learning. I got good hands too.”

Pham says the player next to him explained some of the mechanics of the game to him and he folded the first half dozen hands while observing what the other players were doing. This is Pham’s third cash of the 2015. He cashed – and was one-time chip leader – in both the $565 Colossus event and the $1,500 Millionaire Maker.

Matt Smith, who won a DraftKings Millionaire Maker last October, finished third for $33,163. Before turning most of his attention to daily fantasy sports, Smith was a highly regarded online poker tournament specialist.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Christian Pham – $81,314
  2. Daniel Ospina – $50,260
  3. Matt Smith – $33,163
  4. Andrey Zhigalov – $22,634
  5. Huck Seed – $15,852
  6. Aleksandr Denisov – $11,385
  7. Mike Leah – $8,381

Ben Zamani Bests Natasha Barbour to Win $1,500 No Limit Hold’em

Returning for a Day 4 after hitting the hard stop on Wednesday night, Ben Zamani beat Natasha Barbour heads-up to win $460,640 and his first WSOP bracelet. It took just 2.5 hours to get from five players to a champion.

After winning the tournament, Zamani pulled a mini-Dan Colman by leaving the tournament without doing any interviews or photos. He was eventually convinced by his friends to come back to take a winner’s photo and he did answer one question from the gathered media. When asked how we has feeling following the win, Zamani replied “Good”.

Natasha Barbour earned her biggest career cash for the second place finish, pocketing $284,911. She previously had only two WSOP cashes, both small results in 2014. Former EPT Berlin champ Kevin MacPhee finished third for $142,070.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Ben Zamani – $460,640
  2. Natasha Barbour – $284,911
  3. Paul Ephremsen – $196,896
  4. Kevin MacPhee – $142,070
  5. Wenlong Jin – $103,857
  6. Garrett Beckman – $76,922
  7. Jared Griener – $57,729
  8. Ashola Akindele – $43,888
  9. Kevin Benoit – $33,781

Sam Greenwood Wins First Bracelet for the Great White North in $1,000 No Limit Hold’em

Sam Greenwood's rail had an interesting take on the winners' photo.

Sam Greenwood’s rail had an interesting take on the winners’ photo.

It took 22 events but the Canadians finally have their first bracelet of 2015. Sam Greenwood notched his first career live win after being Cole Jackson heads-up on the ESPN main stage Thursday night.

Greenwood, from Toronto, ON, earned $318,977 for the win and express relief at grabbing a big score early to make he stayed in the black all summer long.

“This is my biggest net live cash, so that’s very positive,” said Greenwood. “For sure, it’s nice knowing no matter what happens I’m up money on the summer. Unless something bad happens in the pit tonight.”

As the tournament drew to a close Greenwood’s ail grew to include Justin Bonomo, Dan Smith, Dani Stern an others. With a group of friends like that, Greenwood was thankful for the support.

“I’ve been a part of big rails like this before, and you always kinda want to be on the other side, so it’s nice,” said Greenwood.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Sam Greenwood – $318,977
  2. Cole Jackson – $197,254
  3. Ken Weinstein – $136,380
  4. James Dorrance – $98,360
  5. John Myung – $71,904
  6. Sean Rice – $53,256
  7. Aaron Belardo – $39,967
  8. Robert Hsu – $30,385
  9. Jay Dragland – $23,387

Mike Watson Grabs Day 2 Chip Lead in $1,500 HORSE; Hellmuth Short

While fellow Canadian Sam Greenwood became the first Canadian bracelet winner at the 2015 WSOP, fellow Canuck Mike Watson went to work on Day 2 of the $1,500 HORSE event. Watson finished Thursday with 634,000, which puts him just ahead of Arash Ghaneian’s 601,000.

The day started with 299 players and over ten levels of play got down to just 31. Some notables who finished Day 2 with an above average stack include Mike Wattel, Esther Taylor-Brady and Stuart Rutter. Meanwhile Brandon Cantu and Ted Forrest both survived the day but finished with a below average stack.

Just a few days removed from winning his fourteenth bracelet, Phil Hellmuth made it through the day with the third shortest stack. Hellmuth will need to summon a lot of White Magic if he hopes to take his 51,000 stack to yet another final table.

Some of the players who busted in the money on Thursday were Maria Ho, Dan Kelly, Steve Billirakis, Jonathan Duhamel and Chris Bjorin. For Bjorin it was his fifth cash this summer.

Action resumes at 1 PM PT Friday.

Chip Counts

  1. Mike Watson – 634,000
  2. Arash Ghaneian – 601,000
  3. David Levi – 481,000
  4. Matheus Scheull – 321,000
  5. Evgeny Taranyuk – 266,000
  6. Tobias Hausen – 259,000
  7. Stuart Rutter – 254,000
  8. Jeffrey Mitseff – 237,000
  9. Ronald Schiffman – 211,000
  10. David March – 200,000

Just 23 Left in $5,000 Eight Max No Limit Hold’em; Tyler Cornell Leads

Tyler Cornell is the name atop the leaderboard after Day 2 of the $5,000 Eight Max No Limit Hold’em event, but the real story is the group of players chasing him for the $567,724 first place prize money and the highly coveted bracelet.

Cornell’s biggest previous cash came in August 2014 when he finished fifth at the WPT Legends of Poker. Dan O’Brien sits second with 1,328,000. Reigning WPT Champion of the Year Anthony Zinno is fifth with 906,000 and 2015 bracelet winner Shaun Deeb sits fifth with 844,000. Also in the top ten are Dominik Nitsche, Joseph Cheong and Jonathan Jaffe.

The first order of business on Day 2 was to get through the money bubble. With that out of the way in relatively short order a number of players began hitting the rail. Colossus champ Cord Garcia nearly made it through Day 2, busting in 25th towards the end of the night. Ismael Bojang recorded his fourth 2015 WSOP cash while Mark Radoja earned his fifth cash of the summer. Other players who found the payout window on Day included Sorel Mizzi, Olivier Busquet, Mohsin Charania and Galen Hall.

Day 3 gets underway at 2 pm PT.

Chip Counts

  1. Tyler Cornell – 1,409,000
  2. Dan O’Brien – 1,328,000
  3. Pierre Milan – 978,000
  4. Anthony Zinno – 906,000
  5. Shaun Deeb – 844,000
  6. Jeffrey Tomlinson – 826,000
  7. Dominik Nitsche – 784,000
  8. Ioannis Pentefountas – 564,000
  9. Joseph Cheong – 559,000
  10. Jonathan Jaffe – 527,000

$1,000 Pot Limit Omaha

The biggest non-Hold’em event of the summer saw 1,293 players pony up $1,000 for the $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha event. Even with such a large field the eliminations came at a breakneck pace and players actually made the money just before Day 1 wrapped up. There are 129 survivors including overnight chip leader Sayed Khan – the only player to bag over 200,000.

Last year the $1,000 PLO event brought in 1,128 players so the field was up nearly 15% over the previous year. The prizepool this year is $1,163,700 and the eventual winner will walk away with $226,985.

The day finished with 129 survivors including Mike Leah, whom BLUFF is following throughout the summer in the MIKE LEAH IN FOCUS series, recording his fourth time this summer.

Cards are back in the air at 1 pm PT Friday.

Chip Counts

  1. Sayed Khan – 263,100
  2. Upeshka Desilva – 194,400
  3. Balazs Somodi – 183,900
  4. Raul Paez – 156,000
  5. Alexander Ziskin – 152,800
  6. Christopher Gamboa – 142,000
  7. Richard Stpeter – 129,800
  8. Craig Varnell – 129,100
  9. Gary Bolden – 128,400
  10. Noah Merritt – 122,700

$10,000 Seven Card Stud

The $10,000 Championship events continue to be a story in themselves. The $10,000 Seven Card Stud event drew out just 91 players, a drop of just over 10% from 2014.

That didn’t seem to phase Bryn Kenney at all though. Kenney bagged up the overnight chip lead, finishing with 155,000 chips. His next closest competitor, Andre Akkari, finished with just 117,900. Brian Hastings, who has made numerous prop bets for the summer, sits third with 112,600. Justin Smith and Daniel Negreanu round out the top five.

Only 51 players survived the day. Some of those players getting ready for a Day 2 return include Frank Kassela, Bertrand Grospellier, Dan Kelly, Huck Seed and Mike Leah.

The prizepool for the event is $855,400 and the champion is going to earn $ 239,518 of that. A min-cash, finishing 15th or 16th, is worth $15,106.

Day 2 action gets underway at 2 pm PT.

Chip Counts

  1. Bryn Kenney – 155,000
  2. Andre Akkari – 117,900
  3. Brian Hastings – 112,600
  4. Justin Smith – 111,800
  5. Daniel Negreanu – 104,700
  6. John Thrower – 98,100
  7. Joseph Cappello – 92,700
  8. Cory Zeidman – 92,400
  9. Mike Gorodinsky – 81,000
  10. Mikhail Semin – 80,300
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Lance Bradley

Editor in Chief at
Editor in Chief: Lance Bradley began working with BLUFF in March 2008 and was named Editor in Chief in August 2009. Prior to joining BLUFF Bradley launched an independent poker blog, in 2006. Before entering the world of poker media he was the Poker Room Manager for Bodog from January 2004 until June 2006. He graduated from the Applied Journalism program Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, Canada.
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