WSOP Rolling: De Silva and Zamani Capture Second Bracelets, Heads-Up Disconnect in Online Event, Esfandiari Bemoans Bad Luck

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The fourth day of the 2017 World Series of Poker was a busy one. Thousands of players packed the Rio for two more flights in The Colossus, while Day 2 of the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop played out in the Brasilia Room. Toss in three bracelet wins, including one in the first online event of the summer, and the WSOP was clearly in full swing.

Antonio Esfandiari, in WSOP One Drop High Roller
Antonio Esfandiari asks, “Are you kidding me?” The winner of the inaugural Big One for One Drop is among the 23 players remaining in the High Roller for One Drop WSOP event. (Image: Jamie Thompson/

Second Bracelet for De Silva

The sole survivor out of 369 players in Event #3: $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout was 29-year-old Upeshka De Silva. He captured a $229,923 first-place prize and his second gold bracelet. The win came two years after De Silva won a $1,500 no-limit event at the WSOP for $424,577.

It seemed like destiny for the Sri Lanka native and now American citizen by way of Katy, Texas, who had previously called his shot.

“I told my friends before I won my first bracelet that I was going to win two, so I don’t know if that means I’m capped now,” he joked with WSOP officials after the win.

Final Table Results

1 Upeshka De Silva (Katy, TX) $229,923
2 Louis Helm (Austin, TX) $142,115
3 Linglin Zeng (China) $103,449
4 Jan Schwippert (Brighton, UK) $76,018
5 Olivier Busquet (Katonah, NY) $56,397
6 Casey Carroll (Grand Rapids, MI) $42,246
7 John Richards (Roxana, IL) $31,955
8 Mark McMillin (San Diego, CA) $24,410
9 Jean Gaspard (Evanston, IL) $18,832
10 Taylor Paur (Sand Diego, CA) $14,675

WPT POY Wins Again at WSOP

Day 3 of Event #4: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split 8 or Better started with 29 players remaining from the original field of 905. After 11 hours of play, Benjamin Zamani became the second winner of the day to score his second bracelet, along with $238,620 in first-place prize money. Zamani had previously won a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2015 WSOP.

“I was running pretty good starting three-handed, so it didn’t take too long to finish it off,” an exhausted Zamani said after the win.

In April, Zamani was crowned the World Poker Tour Season 15 Player of the Year, after notching three runner-up finishes in a ten-month span.

Final Table Results

1 Benjamin Zamani (Boca Raton, FL) $238,620
2 Jared Hemingway (Greenville, TX) $147,428
3 Alex Ferrari (Los Angeles, CA) $103,471
4 Ryan Paluf (Highland Heights, OH) $73,647
5 Gary Vick (Northridge, CA) $53,171
6 Forrest Auel (Hood River, OR) $38,946
7 Scott Buller (Lincoln, NE) $28,948
8 Martin Corpuz (Mountain View, CA) $21,839
9 Dustin Sitar (Las Vegas, NV) $16,726

Technical Difficulties Heads-Up

The other tournament to award a gold bracelet on Saturday was Event #8: $333 Online No-Limit Hold’em, also known as the “Little Grind.” The tournament drew 1,780 participants, which crushed the advertised $333,333 guarantee to create a $752,700 prize pool.

The first of three summer online bracelet events ended in unusual fashion when Mark “PLODonkey17” Scacewater ran into some technical difficulties on his end, forcing him to sit out much of heads-up play against Joseph “ul_gg” Mitchell. That allowed Mitchell to swipe the blinds and antes for several minutes without pushback.

When Scacewater returned, his 10 million stack had been whittled down less than 1.5 million. He’d win his first all-in for a double-up, but then fell on his next attempt to rebuild, getting it in with ace-seven, which would be bested by Mitchell’s queen-jack when a lady appeared on the turn.

Final Table Results

1 Joseph “ul_gg” Mitchell $122,313.75
2 Mark “PLODonkey17” Scacewater $73,538
3 Michael “ooookillthem” Addamo $54,043.86
4 John “sandongcpa” Sun $39,592.02
5 Bobby “bcmclawh” McLawhorn $29,205
6 Michael “TonyPerkis1” Jacoby $21,828
7 Kevin “SEQUENCE” Sheetz $16,559.40
8 Casey “rhin0” Long $12,645
9 “nomoneyloser” $9,710

One Drop High Roller Money Approach

The largest WSOP buy-in event of the summer, the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop, began with 130 runners, and after Day 2 action, just 23 remained, including two previous winners of the $1 million buy-in “Big One for One Drop,” held every other year.

Both Antonio Esfandiari (2012 champion) and Dan Colman (2014 winner) were among the players remaining just three eliminations away from the money bubble. Twentieth place is guaranteed to get their original buy-in back and then some, for $166,666, while the top prize pays a hefty $3,686,865.

Best positioned to make a run at it is chip leader Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, who is the only player over seven million in chips. Not too far behind with six million is Italy’s Dario Sammartino.

Others still in contention are Colman (4.1 million), Doug Polk (3.5 million), and Phil Hellmuth (2.87 million). Likewise, the winner of the inaugural One Drop, Esfandiari, is alive with 2.1 million. Blinds will be at 30k/60k/10k when they return.

Esfandiari was involved in one of the day’s most talked about moments.

Late in evening, Scott Seiver got his stack all-in preflop holding pocket queens, and he was in dire straits against the kings of Esfandiari. However, the board ran out in such a fashion that Seiver rivered a queen-high straight.

“Are you #$%&* kidding me?!” exclaimed Esfandiari, who won more than $18 million in the 2012 One Drop. “They do it to me every single time.”

Day 3 will see the players play through the money bubble and down to the final table.

Colossus Field Size Eclipses 10K

Saturday saw two more flights for the $565 buy-in Colossus, with Flight C and D drawing 3,102 and 2,324 entries respectively. Along with the combined 4,738 from the first two flights, the current field stands at 10,164 with two more flights to go.

Bagging the chip lead among the 109 Flight C survivors was Tonio Roder with 409,000. Others notable survivors included Chris Ferguson (309,000) and Ravi Raghavan (84,000).

Meanwhile in Flight D, Toby Joyce and his stack of 440,000 barely edged out inaugural Colossus champ Cord Garcia, who bagged 415,000. Among the 82 surviving players from the Flight D group also were Asher Conniff (319,000), Lily Kiletto (110,000), and Kane Kalas (69,000).

Also in action on Saturday were Team CardsChat members Donna Scruggs, Lori Miller, Dmytro Li, Seth Foster, and Matthew Vaughn.

Vaughn finished Flight C in 194th place, which was good for $1,294. He will return to try again on Sunday.

Ryynanen Leads Lowball

One of the new events that kicked off on Saturday was Event #7: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball, which drew 225 players. At the end of Day 1, 57 remained with Sampo Ryynanen and his stack of 102,000 leading the pack.

No other player managed to bag more than 100,000 chips, but quite a few notables will return on Day 2, including Jared Bleznick (91,300), Brandon Shack-Harris (68,800), and Paul Volpe (46,000).

The top 34 players will get paid a minimum $3,775, while the eventual winner will walk away with $130,948.

What’s on Tap?

Aside from the final two Colossus flights, the only event kicking off on Sunday is Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. No bracelets are slated to be awarded on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean the action has stopped. On the contrary, the real excitement, as seen on Saturday, is just getting underway.

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