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Only one bracelet was handed out on Sunday, Day 12 of the 2017 WSOP. It came in the biggest non-hold’em tournament field in history.
Meanwhile, Jason Mercier’s remaining hopes for defending his $10,000 No-Limit Lowball Draw Championship title were quickly dashed as the weekend came to a close. But the mighty Millionaire Maker in the end exceeded its guaranteed expectations.
Mississippi Stud Dominates PLO
After two years away from tournament poker, 30-year-old cash game grinder Tyler Smith from Smithdale, Mississippi, now residing in the Las Vegas area, decided to jump into Event #18, $365 Pot-Limit Omaha. The tournament ended up being the largest non-hold’em event in history, with 3,186 entries, and the biggest win of Smith’s career.
Smith, who had previously won a WSOP Circuit ring at a 2008 Harrah’s New Orleans event, plans to use his latest cash infusion to boost his bankroll and to support investments in real estate and flipping houses. The win places Smith second on the all-time list of winningest players from Mississippi, behind “Captain” Tom Franklin.
“It feels amazing,” Smith told WSOP officials after the win. “You know, when you enter these things and there are so many people, it’s a minefield, but they seem unwinnable to an extent. So, kind of every level that you go and you make it a little bit further. It’s like a surreal experience.”
Smith had such a big chip lead that heads-up play against Jason Stockfish lasted just one hand. To close out the win, Smith raised to 600,000 holding the A♣Q♦8♠7♠ and called when Stockfish shoved his short stack with A♠10♠8♦5♥. The board ran out J♥6♥4♥J♠2♠, and Smith’s ace-queen was enough to win the tournament holding hardly more than a pair.
Final Table Results
1 Tyler Smith (Henderson, NV) $224,344
2 Jason Stockfish (Cleveland, OH) $138,655
3 Igor Sharaskin (Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia) $102,045
4 Scott Davies (Vancouver, Canada) $76,817
5 Marek Ohnisko (Czech Republic) $56,607
6 Jessie Bryant (Conway, AR) $42,673
7 John Dallaire (Riverside, MO) $32,432
8 Ryan Wince (Worthington, OH) $24,852
9 Yves Kupfermunz (Waterloo, Belgium) $19,201
Milly Maker Exceeds Guarantees
Day 1B of Event #20, $1,500 Millionaire Maker, attracted a massive 4,323 entries (including two from this writer), which along with Day 1A’s 3,438 brought the total field up to 7,761 entrants. That created a $10,477,350 prize pool and instead of the eventual winner receiving the guaranteed $1 million first-place prize, they’ll actually get $1,221,407.
After 10 levels of play, 678 players bagged but none more so than Brian Altman (227,800). Others who punched their ticket to Day 2 were David Peters (173,200), David “The Dragon” Pham (68,500), and John Racener (32,100), who was one day removed from winning his first bracelet.
Day 2 will see 1,187 players return to action at 11 am, and with 1,165 of them slated to earn a minimum $2,249 payday, only 22 need to hit the rail before this tournament is in the money.
Frenchmen Headline Final 10
Event #21, $1,500 8-Game Mix 6-Handed, began with 472 runners, and after Day 2 on Sunday, just 10 remain to contend for a $145,577 first-place prize. The current chip leader is Gregory Jamison (714,500), but when it comes to big names at the final table two Frenchmen stand out.
The first is WSOP bracelet winner Fabrice Soulier, who bagged up 346,000 chips. Not far behind him is online poker pro Alex”Alexonmoon” Luneau (310,500), who two years ago was featured in the European Poker Award-winning documentary Nosebleed.
Daniel Negreanu (15th for $5,975) was among the notable names to finish in the money on Sunday, along with Shaun Deeb (26th for $3,921), and Academy Award winner Jennifer Tilly (58th for $2,287).
The final ten will return at 2 pm on Monday to play down to a winner.
“Pearljammer” Leads Lowball Championship
Starting on Sunday was Event #22, $10,000 No-Limit Lowball Draw Championship, which attracted 92 entries (67 unique plus 25 re-entries) and created an $864,800 prize pool. That will be distributed to the top 14 players with the winner taking home $256,610.
After ten levels of play, 30 had survived, with Jon “Pearljammer” Turner and his stack of 367,300 leading the way. Others who bagged and tagged were Mike Leah (361,500), John Monnette (265,400), and Phil Galfond (223,100).
Among those to fall on Day 1 were defending champ Jason Mercier, Phil Hellmuth, and Ben Lamb, all of whom fired two bullets in the tournament.
Day 2 action will get underway at 2 pm on Monday.
Next Up: The Marathon and a Sprint
A new week kicks off with two events starting on Monday. The first is Event #23, The Marathon $2,620 No-Limit Hold’em. This inaugural tournament format features lengthy 100-minute levels, a slow blind structure, and starting stacks of 26,200 chips. (Get it? A marathon is 26.2 miles.)
The five-day event is designed to give runners a lot of play for their money, with only six levels of action each day.
On the other end of the speed spectrum, Event #24, $1,500 Limit Hold’em, will get underway at 3 pm. In this three-day tournament, players start with only 7,500 in chips, and registration will remain open until approximately 9:45 pm. So participants should be ready to play fast, but they’re welcome to get there late.