WSOP Day 41 Recap:  Phil Ivey Joins the Mainstream, “SLARKDUCK” Wins Online Bracelet

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If you’ve been waiting all summer for Phil Ivey to show up in Las Vegas to compete in a World Series of Poker event, you were sadly disappointed. Until now. Ivey finally came to the Rio on Monday to play in the Main Event, Day 1C, which was also the last day for entries.

Phil Ivey WSOP 2016
Phil Ivey finally made an appearance at the 2016 World Series of Poker, entering Day 1C of the Main Event. (Image:

Ivey couldn’t get much going on Monday, but he did make quite a comeback late in the day after being down to just 7,500 chips at one point. The great one bagged up 26,100 chips by day’s end, which was well below his 50,000 chip starting stack.

Phil doesn’t grind the tournament circuit much these days. He’s busy playing high stakes cash games in Macau, China. Unlike other legends, such as Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, his main focus isn’t on winning WSOP bracelets. He’s more interested in padding his bank account.

With almost $24 million in live tournament cashes, Ivey’s most recent bracelet win was over a year ago at the Aussie Millions for $2.2 million. His last WSOP bracelet was in 2014, when he took first in the $1,500 Eight Game Mix championship.

Ivey holds 10 WSOP career bracelets, and has cashed 56 times, along with three Circuit events cashes.

Sheehan Bags Biggest Stack

Day 1C had 4,240 players registered, including 2015 Main Event defending champ Joe McKeehen. That’s a record for any Day One starting flight, by the way.

Overall, 6,737 “kids with a dream” signed up for this prestigious poker tournament, the most since 2011. For those assuming poker is on the decline, head on over to the Rio these next few days and you’ll have a different opinion. That’s assuming you can find a parking spot that doesn’t include a 1/2 mile walk into the back of the casino.

McKeehen picked up where he left off in November. The reigning world champ ended Day One with 110,000 chips. He put on another great performance, but not nearly as great a one as Timothy Sheehan. The Georgia resident had bagged the biggest stack in the field (394,100) by end of day.

Many other former champs will be moving on to Day Two. Ryan Reiss (82,700), Martin Jacobson (71,000), Chris Moneymaker (61,000), Scotty Nguyen (60,400), Phil Hellmuth (45,200), Greg Merson (24,300), and Joe Hachem (24,900) are still in the running to win this event for the second time.

Phil Hellmuth WSOP 2016
Phil Hellmuth takes a second from cell-phone checking to hear a player comment. Hellmuth, like many other top pros, entered the last Day One for the Main Event on Monday. (Image: pokerphotoarchive)

Hellmuth and Moneymaker were up and down all day, more on the down side for the Poker Brat.

At one point, Hellmuth was below 20,000 chips, but got things going late. Moneymaker had around 20,000 at the final break, but went on a heater to close out the evening.

This is an important tournament every year for Hellmuth, a 14-time bracelet winner. But maybe even more important this year, because he has struggled all summer. This is his last chance to win a bracelet in 2016 in what has been a disappointing year for the poker legend.

One More Shot for Mercier

Jason Mercier is down to his final opportunity to win that elusive third bracelet this year. He couldn’t get things going on Day One of the Main Event and hit the rails.

That leaves Event #69, the $1,111 Little One for One Drop, as his last shot to win gold. That tournament begins on Tuesday. There are three Day One starting flights: on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Mercier is likely going to win Player of the Year, but he still needs a final first place finish to win his 180-1 bet with Vanessa Selbst.

Ladies Underrepresented

There were 6,479 men who signed up for the Main Event, and just 268 women. Put down your calculator. We’ve done the math for you. The ladies represented just a shade under four percent of the entire field.

There are many people out there who promote the game to ladies of all ages, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Representing well for female poker players on Monday was Vanessa Selbst. She finished Day One with 133,000 chips.

Clayton Maguire Claims Online Bracelet

The final six players in Event #66, the $1,000 Online Poker Championship, were a bit overshadowed by the Main Event on Monday.

But we still have to pay homage to Clayton “SLARKDUCK” Maguire for winning this unique event, and scooping his first career WSOP gold bracelet. He beat out a field of 1,247 players and won $210,279.

The event began online at, and then the final six players came to the Rio to compete live yesterday. Simeon Naydenov of Bulgaria finished 2nd ($150,569).

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