Heads-up hold’em took center stage on Thursday with big names galore making it into the money in the $10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em Championship. Advancing to Day 4 are poker stars Ryan Riess, Adrian Mateos, and Charlie Carrel. The wild card in the bunch is 70-year-old John Smith, who finished runner-up in 2016 and also cashed in 2014. Numerous pros turned out for the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice 6-Handed Championship as the WSOP moves into its second weekend.
Event #15: $10,000 Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship
There were plenty of fireworks in this event with big names advancing to the round of 16 to earn a payday. Returning for the final four and a shot at the bracelet and $336,656 first place money are:
- John Smith versus Ryan Riess
- Adrian Mateos versus Charlie Carrel
It should be an interesting set of duels. Riess won the Main Event in 2013 and relishes adding a second bracelet. Carrel has numerous major scores with $5.7 million in live tournament winnings and millions more on the virtual felt. Mateos owns two bracelets and $8.8 million in winnings. Smith may be the underdog, but shouldn’t be overlooked. The 70-year-old amateur has been the talk of the tournament. He finished runner-up in this event in 2016 and 11th in 2014.
Riess was looking forward to tomorrow’s action:
"I'm exhausted. It's tough playing heads up against the best players in the world with no breaks. Thanks for all the love!! Big day tomorrow"
Some of those eliminated for a minimum cash paid $26,711 were Olivier Busquet, Jack Duong, Ryan Fee, Dan Smith, Dario Sammartino, and 2015 Main Event champion Joe McKeehen. It marked the third straight year Busquet has cashed in the event, including fourth place in 2016.
Event #14: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
The mixed game fun continued as 175 players returned for Day 2 action and only 18 remain. The field is stacked with big name pros and bracelet winners. Kyle Loman leads the field going into Day 3 with 580,000 followed by Paul Sokoloff (540,000) and bracelet winner David Singer (525,000).
Others lurking in the pack include two-time bracelet winner David "Bakes" Baker (479,000), Richard Ashby (269,000), four-time bracelet winner Max Pescatori (228,000), and two-time bracelet winner Brandon Shack-Harris (125,000). Last year’s champion Ian Johns (172,000) also remains, seeking to repeat and earn a fourth bracelet.
Event #16: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed
The event began with 1,748 players and 263 will return to the Rio for Day 2. The winner will take home $393,273, and 263 players will at least take home a minimum cash of $2,247. Dustin Bush leads the field with 182,800 chips followed by Las Vegas pro Matt Berkey (166,500) and Aditya Agarwal (140,000). Other notables remaining in the field include Matthew Zarcadoolas (138,300), Mike Holm (136,000), John Cynn (122,700), Vinny Pahuja (117,600), and Layne Flack (116,400).
Event #17: $10,000 Dealer’s Choice 6-Handed Championship
The ultra mixed-game, big buy-in event got underway with 102 entries and only 37 continuing on to Day 2. Ray Dehkharghani, winner of last year's $10,000 Razz Championship, leads the field with 265,000 chips followed by Viacheslav Zhukov (258,000) and Zachary Freeman (257,200). The day was also highlighted by a bit of controversy in a hand involving Matt Glantz and Samuel Touil.
Others returning for Day 2 include Jon Turner, James Obst, Mike Matusow, Todd Brunson, and Daniel Negreanu. The re-start begins at noon on Friday.
Event #18A: $565 Pot-Limit Omaha
Bargain tournament weekend kicks off on Friday with this event that features a lower price for one of the more popular forms of poker. The event features unlimited re-entries and kicks off with two starting flights. The first flight begins at 11 a.m. and the second at 4 p.m. The action will be fast and furious with 30-minute levels on Day 1, and one-hour levels after that. Minnesota’s Ryan Laplante took home the 2016 title for $190,328 and has already notched two cashes this summer for more than $14,000. There should be plenty of action.
Event #19A: THE GIANT - $365 No-Limit Hold'em
Another bargain poker event new to the WSOP schedule, the first leg of the Giant gets started on Friday. This $365 No-Limit Hold’em event features weekly Friday night flights on June 9, 16, 23, 30, and July 7 at 7 p.m. Each opening flight plays deep into the money and remaining players are paid out an amount equivalent to the last paid place of the night. Players’ chips are bagged and remaining prize pool carried over to Day 2 with a cumulative re-start on July 8. Players are allowed unlimited re-entry during each Day 1 flight.