James Obst and Tyler Groth Win WSOP Bracelets, Jason Mercier Leads $10K H.O.R.S.E.

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Jason Mercier has the $10K H.O.R.S.E., Event #30, firmly in his reins after Day One, while James Obst and Tyler Groth are proud owners of some shiny new gold after Thursday’s events wrapped.

Jason Mercier H.O.R.S.E. championship Event #30
Jason Mercier sits out front in the race for H.O.R.S.E champion, as he enters Day Two of Event #30. Winner will take home $383,208. (Image: Antonio Abrego/pokerphotoarchive.com)

Obst was the day’s first bracelet winner. He defeated 97 players to conquer Event #26, the $10,000 Razz Championship for $265,138. The Aussie defeated Eric Kurtzman in a hard-fought heads-up battle.

With over $2.5 million in live tournament cashes, Obst has been one of the most consistent performers at the WSOP in recent years. Daniel Negreanu has even called out Obst as one of his toughest foes at any given table, and a comtender for the WSOP Player of the Year honors.

He’d been so close to winning a bracelet since 2014, nine times finishing in the top 10 heading into Thursday. On this day, he finally got over the hump to take down his first WSOP event. Obst is likely to be in the Player of the Year running all summer. He finished 2nd in Event #7 and 8th in Event #17.

The rest of the final table looked like this: Kurtzman (2nd), David “ODB” Baker (3rd), Andrey Zhigalov (4th), Anthony Zinno (5th), and Brandon Shack-Harris (6th).

Tyler Groth, meanwhile, entered Event #25, the $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha on Tuesday, with a modest $6,000 in career live tournament cashes. He finished up play on Thursday with over $185,000 lifetime. The Las Vegas resident mastered the event for $179,126, his first cash at the World Series of Poker. He beat a field of 1,058 players, including runner-up Jonathan Zarin.

Don’t Count Mercier Out

It’s far too early to assume Jason Mercier won’t repeat as Player of the Year. He may not win two bracelets this summer like he did in 2016, but he has the talent to challenge Obst and others for the award.

The Team PokerStars Pro finished Day One with the chip lead in Event #30, the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship. He is going for his second straight victory in this event.

Mercier (384,500) and Mack Lee (347,500) are the only players out of the 64 remaining who have more than 300,000 chips. The tournament began with 150 entrants. The winner will receive $383,208, and play continues through Saturday night.

Other notable Day One survivors include Mark Gregorich (222,500), Brandon Shack-Harris (171,500), Anthony Zinno (146,000), Maria Ho (90,000), Mike Sexton (74,000), Daniel Negreanu (61,500), and former Full Tilt frontman Howard Lederer (40,000).

Kid Poker Chases a Milestone

Daniel Negreanu is closing in on his 100th career WSOP cash. He finished 42nd in Event #28, the $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw on Thursday, making it his 97th cash in a WSOP event. On Twitter, he announced he will hit number 100 sometime “this summer.”

Brendan Taylor holds the chip lead heading into the final table in that event on Friday with six remaining players. Negreanu is still alive in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E., and could pick up cash number 98 this weekend.

Marathon Miles Continue

Event #23, the $2,620 Marathon has completed a grueling four days of play. On Friday, we will finally play down to a winner.

There are 13 players remaining, with Joseph Di Rosa Rojas (10,575,000) from Venezuela out in front. The “Homeless Millionaire,” Faraz Jaka, has 36 career cashes, but is still seeking that first bracelet. He has an average stack (3,215,000) heading into Day Five.

Event #27, the $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed will also crown a champion on Friday. This tournament has 21 players left, and Max Silver holds a massive chip lead.

Exciting Weekend Ahead

Event #29, the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em got underway Thursday with 1,086 runners. Only 239 were fortunate enough to make it through the night. Day Two will start at noon PST.

Pablo Fernandez is the chip leader (193,600). CardsChat contributor Chad Holloway bagged a healthy stack on Day One (63,400). Federico Butteroni, a 2015 November Niner, finished the day with 85,000.

Friday marks the start of a pair of new events, as is the case on most days at the WSOP. Event #31, the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em kicks off at 10 am. Event #32, the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha HI-Lo 8 or Better runs at 3 pm.

Event #19, the $365 Giant has its second Day One starting flight beginning at 7 pm. Day Two will restart on July 8.

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