Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu right behind Salomon at the top of the counts

July 16, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV) - The final event of the 2018 World Series of Poker got underway on Sunday morning, and it’s the biggest buy-in of the summer. The $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop finished 10, 60-minute levels and Rick Salomon led the 19 players that survived the day’s action.

One of the only seven-figure buy-ins on the poker calendar drew 24 players, but that number may increase over night since registration is open until cards get in the air on Monday at noon for Day 2.

Salomon bagged up 11,445,000 in chips to lead the way. Joining him at the top of the counts are Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu with 10,365,000 and 8,100,000, respectively. Negreanu, who finished runner-up to Dan Colman the last time this event ran in 2014, doesn’t put a ton of credence into bagging a big Day 1 stack.  

“It’s not really all that important really,” said the six-time bracelet winner. “Even coming in with a starting stack of 5 million is plenty. The story with Day 1 is that you really don’t want to come in short or be bust. There’s five guys that are not going to make it to Day 2, but even a new player that comes in right now is doing fine and will be close to the average. And it starts really deep, so it’s fine.”

As expected, many of the game’s best came out for the event. The rail was full as fans lined up to get an up-close view of players as famous as Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Jason Koon, Erik Seidel, Justin Bonomo, Stephen Chidwick and Fedor Holz.

There was one face that was new to players, media and fans. Matthew Siegel doesn’t have a single cash in a WSOP event, but that didn’t stop him from putting up $1 million and taking his shot against the game’s best.

The Canadian living in New York is an investor in the financial markets and is an avid fan of poker. He grew up watching ‘High Stakes Poker’ on Game Show Network and plays poker as a serious hobby. He played high-stakes cash games in Macau, Las Vegas and home games in New York.

Tournament poker, however, is a new experience for him. He’s taken shots in at least a few tournaments in Atlantic City, but never in an environment like this.

“This is one of my favorite hobbies, poker” said Siegel on his final break of the night. “I play high-stakes cash games though. This is my first tournament endeavor, you know. I’m taking it seriously. Things are great.”

Over the last several levels of the day, he was seated a couple seats to the right of Ivey, and still managed to survive the day and bag up 7,900,000 good for fourth in chips, right behind Negreanu. While he never mentioned specific names, Ivey might be one of the few people he has experience playing with.

“I played with a few of these guys before,” said Siegel. “Not too many though. Most of these guys are tournament pros.”

The players started with 5 million chips, and with starting blinds of 5,000/10,000, they started very deep-stacked with 500 big blinds. The deep stacks didn’t stop a few players from busting.

David Peters busted in the third level of the day. With a completed board of      , Peters decided to check-raise all in for just shy of 2 million against Adrian Mateos. Mateos tanked for quite some time before calling with   .

Peters tabled    and was the first player eliminated, while the three-time bracelet winner padded his stack early.

In the fifth level of the day, the 2012 champion in this event hit the rail. It was a cold deck for Antonio Esfandiari, who five-bet all in for 3,780,000 with ace king against Jason Koon’s pocket kings.

The board ran out dry for the champion of the inaugural event, and he was the second player eliminated from the field.

The action slowed down for a bit after those two eliminations before Ivey picked up a couple of knockouts near the end of the day.

Ivey knocked out Bryn Kenney and Jake Schindler in the day’s last level, which vaulted him to the top of the chip counts. On a board of     , Ivey checked, Kenney moved all in and Ivey called. Ivey showed   , giving him the second nut straight, and needed to fade a diamond against Kenney’s   .

The river was the   and Kenney was busted with about 40 minutes left in the day. A couple hands later, Ivey knocked out Jake Schindler.

In a battle of the blinds, Schindler moved all in with queen-jack and got called by Ivey’s ace-king. Ivey flopped an ace and Schindler was the final player eliminated on Day 1.

Just before Ivey went on his late surge, Isaac Haxton was eliminated by Cary Katz.

When Day 2 action gets underway, blinds will be 50,000/100,000 with a 100,000 ante posted by the big blind. The Day 2 action will be streamed on PokerGO.

End of Day Chip Counts:

1st: Rick Salomon – 11,445,000
2nd: Phil Ivey – 10,365,000
3rd: Daniel Negreanu – 8,100,000
4th: Matthew Siegal – 7,900,000
5th: Dan Smith – 7,735,000
6th: Erik Seidel – 6,835,000
7th: Talal Shakerchi – 6,745,000
8th: Dominik Nitsche – 6,550,000
9th: Jason Koon – 6,540,000
10th: David Einhorn – 6,110,000
11th: Christoph Vogelsang – 5,680,000
12th: Nick Petrangelo – 5,300,000
13th: Cary Katz – 5,230,000
14th: Steffen Sontheimer – 5,150,000
15th: Mikita Badziakouski – 4,725,000
16th: Justin Bonomo – 4,715,000
17th: Stephen Chidwick – 4,550,000
18th: Fedor Holz – 3,220,000
19th: Adrian Mateos

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