Vanessa Selbst Leads Stacked Mixed Max, Corey Emery Leads Employees

Vanessa Selbst beat out Brian Rast for the chiplead by just 5,000. (Photo by Drew Amato)

Vanessa Selbst beat out Brian Rast for the chiplead by just 5,000. (Photo by Drew Amato)

Day 1 of the 2014 World Series of Poker wrapped up after the Casino Employees and the $25,000 Mixed Max events opened the summer’s action. The day began when Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the WSOP, set off a cannon loaded with $10,000 in one dollar bills to make it rain on the Employees event.

$25,000 Mixed Max

Some of the games most successful players took a seat at the first big buy-in event of the summer. Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier and Vanessa Selbst all put up the hefty $25,000 entry fee for the Mixed Max event. The field pulled 131 entrants to push the prizepool to $3,111,250. At day’s end just 60 players remain with Selbst leading the way after bagging up 562,800.

“It was a pretty slow day early on and couldn’t really get anything going until Level 6,” Selbst said. “I chipped up a bit and won a crucial flip against Jennifer Tilly and then I got two really big hands in big spots – both times I won pretty massive pots.”

“There’s plenty of tournament to be played but it’s nice to start off a Day 1 with the chiplead,” Selbst continued. “Two summers ago I wound up getting fourth in the first tournament I played and it was nice going into the Series knowing I’m not going to brick the whole thing.”

Brian Rast, Michael Mizrachi, Dan Cates, JC Tran, Ivey, Justin Bonomo and John Juanda built healthy stacks and will return for Day 2. Just two women were in the field – Selbst and BLUFF contributor Jennifer Tilly.

Greg Merson, Phil Galfond, Marvin Rettenmaier, Chino Rheem, Mohsin Charania, Joe Cada, Sorel Mizzi and Jean-Robert Bellande were eliminated and sent to the rail during the day’s action.

Phil Hellmuth got his year off to his usual start by entering just a couple of minutes before registration closed. Although he only played for the half the day, he made a scene worthy of his Hellmuthian moments. He went to a T 8 7 flop with Juanda and Christian Harder and Juanda led out for 8,100. Hellmuth raised to 23,000, Harder mucked and Juanda took his time before before putting a large stack of 5,000 chips. Hellmuth shoved all his chips in the middle with both hands, which sent chips scattering all over the table. The dealer was unable to discern the pot from Hellmuth’s bet and it took Ivey standing up and separating the chips with one swipe. It was good enough for the table, Hellmuth tabled pocket eights for a set and Juanda tabled 6 5. The board bricked when it came 5 K and Hellmuth took the pot.

Once Hellmuth was seated the prizepool was calculated and the top 16 players will earn a cash. A min-cash is worth $54,945 and the top eight finishers all take home six figures. The winner walks away with $871,148 and the runner-up earns $538,308 for their efforts.

Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Vanessa Selbst – 562,800
  2. Brian Rast – 557,400
  3. Michael Mizrachi – 399,300
  4. Jason Mo – 393,000
  5. Fabrice Touil – 327,600
  6. Daniel Cates – 317,000
  7. Ravi Raghavan – 275,000
  8. John Juanda – 264,800
  9. Stephen Chidwick – 260,600
  10. Aaron Jones – 235,800

$500 Casino Employees Event

The first event on the schedule saw 876 players take to the felt and by day’s end just 51 players remained. The field played a full 11 levels and Corey Emery, a poker dealer from Simi Valley, California, ended the day as the chip leader with 164,900.

Emery took the lead in one of the final hands of the evening. He went to a Qx 7x 5x flop with one other player, Emery c-bet and his opponent called. The turn came 8, Emery bet 10,000 and his opponent called. The river brought the 3 on board, Emery checked and his opponent bet. Emery then check-raised all in and his opponent tank-called with pocket jacks. Emery tabled 9 6 for the straight and dragged a sizable pot.

The top 90 players earn a payout of at least $886 and a final table run guarantees $6,192, while the winner walks away with $82,835 and the first gold bracelet awarded in Las Vegas in 2014.

Players began with a starting stack of 3,000 and the shallow stacks made for rapid bustout rate. The field lost a little more than one player minute on average as 825 players hit the rail during the day.

The money bubble burst early into Level 10 after just three hands of hand-for-hand play. Mike Connors was eliminated holding pocket aces when he ran into Jay Graunstadt’s K 9 that flopped a king-high straight.

Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Corey Emery – 164,900
  2. Jay Graunstadt – 125,000
  3. Aaron Henderson – 115,700
  4. Peter Alba – 105,000
  5. David Luttbeg – 87,700
  6. Sergio Trevino – 87,400
  7. Cameron Tullis – 83,200
  8. Cory Rodvik – 82,400
  9. Chen Zhong – 80,100
  10. Carlos Loving – 78,700

Slow Start for Pavilion Room Action

The newly re-carpeted Pavilion room hosted the first cash games, satellites and Daily Deepstacks events of the summer. The fields were relatively small for the three Daily Deepstacks running on the first day. The 3 pm $235 event attracted 568 entrants and the event paid out the top 63 entrants.

The 6pm $185 Daily Deepstack event had 171 entrants four levels into play. The prizepool swelled to $24,795 and the players at the final two tables all earned a min-cash of at least $333. The winner took home $6,692 while the ninth place finisher won $597.

The cash game area was a bit sparse and the largest games running were $5/$5 Big O and $5/$5 Big O Hi-Lo. The only OFC action was a $25/point Pineapple game.

Looking Ahead

Just one bracelet event kicks off at Noon PT (3 pm ET) on Wednesday – Event #3 $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha. The Casino Employees event returns at 1 pm PT (4 pm ET) and the $25,000 Mixed Max event has cards in the air at 2 pm PT (5 pm ET).

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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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