What began with 21,613 entrants over six starting flights late last week was down to the final nine on Tuesday. After an intense final table battle, 30-year-old Ben Keeline, a regular on various poker circuits, emerged victorious in Event #2: Colossus II.
It was the second-largest live poker tournament in history, and Illinois native Keeline captured his first gold bracelet and a life-changing $1 million first-place prize, which nearly tripled his pre-event lifetime earnings of $574,323.
“I’ve had a really hard time lately,” Keeline told WSOP officials after the win. “I’m elated. I can’t even think about what this means, not just the money, but the gold bracelet.
“This is something I could not have imagined would happen just a few days ago. Sure, I thought it could happen and I thought I could win if I played well, but to have it go the way it went, well – that’s more than I can express how I feel right now. It’s going to take some time for this to all sink in.”
Keeline’s win came after an intense back-and-forth heads-up battle against the Czech Republic’s Jiri Horak, who took home $618,000 for his second-place performance.
Others who cashed at the final table were Farhad Davoudzadeh (3rd/$462,749), Richard Carr (4th/$348,462), Marek Ohnisko (5th/$263,962), Chris Renaudette (6th/$201,151), Alex Benjamin (7th/$154,208), Jonathan Borenstein (8th/$118,937), and Xiu Deng (9th/ $92,291).
Lawrence Berg Wins Dealers Choice for $125,466
The final day of Event #5, the $1,500 Dealers Choice championship, saw the final nine players of a 389-player field return to action. It didn’t take long for that field to whittle itself down, as one by one, Ryan Himes (9th/$8,466), Randy Ohel (8th/$11,454), Daniel Habl (7th/$11,454), John Templeton (6th/$15,932), and Joey Couden (5th /$22,765) all hit the rail.
After Paul Volpe fell in fourth for $33,393 in a round of Razz, Andrew Brown was the sole bracelet winner remaining. However, his experience didn’t pay off, as Lawrence Berg, who would advance to heads-up play with a hefty chip lead over China’s Yueqi Zhu, ousted him in third.
In the final hand of the tournament, Berg made a nut straight to the eight and a low to scoop an Omaha Hi-Lo hand. Zhu took home $77,526 for his runner-up finish, while Berg collected $125,466 in prize money and his first gold bracelet.
Justin Young Leads Final 36 in $1,500 NLHE
Day 2 of Event #6, the $1,500 NLHE, saw 321 of 2,016 original players return to action, which meant they were close to the money.
After Antonio Esfandiari bubbled the tournament in 304th place, the result of his pocket tens failing to win a race against Seth Kugler’s ace-queen, players began to claim a portion of the $2,721,600 prize pool, including, among these notables, actor James Woods (216th/$2,515), Yevgeniy Timoshenko (71st/$5,508), Tim Reilly (47th/$7,681), and Mike Leah (37th/$9,229).
By the time play came to an end for the evening, just 36 players remained, with Justin Young and his stack of 188,700 leading the way. Others still in contention for the $438,417 first-place prize include Alex Masek (744,000), Matt Berkey (450,000), John Racener (438,000), and Anthony Zinno (394,000).
The third and final day of play for this event will kick off at noon Pacific time on Wednesday.
Event #7: $1,500 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball Final Table is Set
On Tuesday, Event #7, the $1,500 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball, saw 52 of 279 players return for Day Two action, which meant 10 players needed to fall before the money was reached. Once WSOP rookie Dzmitry Urbanovich fell in 43rd place to the legendary Jennifer Harman to burst the bubble, the in-the-money finishes began to mount.
Some of the big names to cash in this event included Todd Brunson (41st/$2,266), Erik Seidel (25th/ $3,056), Bernard Lee (23rd/$3,056), Eli Elezra (16th/$3,688), and Barry Greenstein (9th/$5,781).
Harman ultimately made $4,562 for finishing in the #13 spot.
Among those who will return for the final table are chip leader Ryan D’Angelo (499,000), John Monnette (425,000), “Captain” Tom Franklin (360,000), and Dan Kelly (256,500). Action will resume at 2 pm PT in Las Vegas on Wednesday, and will play down to a winner.
Kihara Leads 202 Survivors After Day 1 of Event #8: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
The first of two new events on Tuesday, Event #8, the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E., drew 778 players, and over the course of the day, hundreds fell, including Allen Cunningham, Daniel Negreanu, Brian Rast, Mike Matusow, Jason Mercier, and defending champ Arash Ghaneian.
Among the big names of the remaining 202 players to advance to Day Two were chip leader Naoya Kihara (85,900), Matt Vengrin (54,400), Andre Akkari (50,300), Brian Hastings (48,200), Mel Judah (42,500), and Justin Bonomo (37,800).
Day 2 will kick off at Noon local time in the Amazon Room.
Round of 32 Set in $10,000 Heads-Up Championship
Always one of the more entertaining events on the WSOP schedule, Event #9, the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship, saw 153 players take to the felt, looking to make it to the Round of 32. Here are some matches set for Wednesday’s round:
Alex Luneau vs. Bobby Oboodi
Adrian Mateos vs. Max Altergott
Antonio Esfandiari vs. Bryn Kenney
Paul Newey vs. Sam Soverel
Chance Kornuth vs. Olivier Busquet
The remaining 32 players will return at noon local time on Wednesday, and will play through to the money at the final 16.
Day 8 of the WSOP will see the start of Event #10, $1,500 Six-Handed NLHE and Event #11, the $10,000 Dealers Choice Championship.