Matusow Makes a Final Table, Celebrates Russian Bracelet Fantasy Win, as Seniors Young and Super Play On at WSOP

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Mike Matusow had a great day on Sunday at the 2017 World Series of Poker. The Mouth made a final table, but even more exciting for him, it seemed, was the action taking place at another final table, where one of his picks in the annual $25k Fantasy Draft would ultimately take down the bracelet.

On Day 19 of the WSOP, bracelet battles inside the Rio were getting heated, as temperatures outside began to remind players of the oven-like conditions in which they choose to spend their summers.

Mike Matusow, $10k 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw
Mike Matusow, seen here playing his way toward the final table in $10k 2-7 Lowball Triple-Draw, is apparently a fan of himself, the Vegas Golden Knights, and Russian oligarchs who play poker. (Image: Antonio Abrego /

Matusow, a four-time bracelet winner, is one of six remaining players in Event #34, $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship. The bad news is he’ll enter Day Three with the smallest stack (363,000). Shaun Deeb leads the way with 1,125,000. Broadcaster/poker pro Nick Schulman is second in chips with 865,000.

Blinds will be at 12,000/24,000 when play resumes. First prize is $232,738.

Russia, Russia, Russia

Everyone knows Matusow loves him some President Donald Trump. But there is no evidence of collusion between Trump’s poker-world surrogate and a man named Vladimir from Russia whom The Mouth apparently thinks the world of.

No, not Vladimir Putin … but Vladimir Shchemelev. The banker and poker pro from St. Petersburg won the gold bracelet in Event #32, $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low 8 or Better Mix, for $193,484.

It was hard to tell who was more ecstatic: the champion or The Mouth.

Matusow picked up Shchemelev on the cheap in the $25k Fantasy Draft. The Russian’s victory earned him some much-needed points.

Howard Smith, the chip leader heading into Day Three, finished 2nd for $119,524. Two of Shchemelev’s fellow Russians also made the totally international final table.

Final Table Results
Vladimir Shchemelev (St. Petersburg, Russia) $193,484
2 Howard Smith (Bedford, UK) $119,524
Nikolai Yakovenko (Moscow, Russia) $81.232
4 Igor Sharaskin (Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia) $56,187
Usman Siddique (London, UK) $39,565
6 Yueqi Zhu (Benxi, China) $28,375

Celebrity Stalking

Speaking of Trump supporters, actor James Woods is off to a strong start in Event #35, $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em, a tournament open only to those age 65 and up.

Day One of this event ended immediately after the money bubble burst. Every one still alive in this event is guaranteed $1,502. And Woods is in a strong position for a much bigger score.

He’ll enter Day Two as the 17th largest stack (73,600) out of 258 remaining players. In a recent interview with CardsChat, Woods said he isn’t out looking for work so he has more time to play poker.

The chip leader as the Super Seniors continues is Johnny Landreth (262,800). The winner will receive $259,230, which would make a nice payday even for a semi-retired actor who likes to poke at snowflakes.

Young Seniors

Event #31, $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship, is an event for those age 50 and up. Drawing a massive field with 5,389 players, after four days of play, the event is down to its final table of nine.

Mark Lillge has the biggest stack (5,300,000). Dan Heimiller had a commanding chip lead heading into Day Three but dropped a bit to 4th place (2,970,000).

You can catch the final table action live on a 30-minute delay on PokerGO Monday starting at 12:30 pm PT.

Big Names Chasing a $1,500 NLH Bracelet

Another event to pay close attention to on Monday will be Event #33, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em.

Twenty-two players remain. With a 1st place prize of $384,833 on the line, some big-name pros are still alive, including Upswing Poker’s Pratyush Buddiga (757,000) and four-time bracelet winner Max Pescatori (386,000).

Ryan Long holds the chip lead  with 1.37 million.

Jaka Leads Star-Studded Field in 6-Handed NLH

It’s shaping up to be a solid Series for Faraz Jaka, aka the “homeless millionaire.” He already has two cashes including a 6th place finish. After Sunday, he’s the chip leader in Event #36, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed.

His Day One accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider the caliber of his competition.

This isn’t the Colossus, after all, where every low-stakes grinder and recreational player in the area enters. Some of the best players in the world registered for this tournament.

Those advancing to Day Two include many faces you’d probably recognize such as Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Olivier Busquet, Antonio Esfandiari, Cliff Josephy, Jason Mercier, Erik Seidel, and Vanessa Selbst.

Let’s Play Two

Coming up on Monday is a pair of new tournaments at the 2017 WSOP.

Event #37, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em begins at 11 am PT.

At 3 pm, Event #38, $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship gets underway.

Assuming things go according to plan, we’ll have another pair of bracelet winners to announce tomorrow.

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