July 5, 2019 (Las Vegas) - The second starting flight of the biggest poker tournament of the year has just wrapped up. A field of 1,914 players rocked up to the Rio to take their first steps toward possible poker immortality in Day 1B -- 1,420 of them made it through the day to bag. Among them, Adam Owen bagged a whopping 351,800, which was good for the chip lead.
Several of the faces we’ve come to know throughout the years were in the 1B field.
Cord Garcia was one of the unfortunate players to hit the rail on 1B, busting to Gary Patanjo with about a little more than an hour left in play. Garcia flopped a set and Patanjo made a flush to take most of his stack. Then the remaining chips went in with Garcia in the lead. However, Patanjo just couldn’t miss and flopped one of his three outs to eliminate the Colossus I winner.
Dan Ott, runner-up to Scott Blumstein in 2017, was also eliminated on 1B. Four-time bracelet winner Max Pescatori and Joe Ebanks also failed to make it through the 1B field. Two-time bracelet winner Anthony Zinno was eliminated during the final hands of play, losing a flip to Dejuante Alexander (109,300).
Allen Kessler did some stack building on 1B, heading into the final level of play with 304,800. Kessler flopped quad fours to eliminate Frederic Hwang shortly after returning from dinner break. He spent the next level adding an additional 100,000 to his stack and finished the day with 301,800.
The main event winner from 2004, Greg Raymer managed to chip up a bit on Day 1B as well. He finished with 73,100. Ryan Riess (89,300), Greg Merson (25,000), Joe Hachem (61,300), and Chris Ferguson (36,100) also found bags.
Daniel Negreanu (71,800) spent most of his day at the main feature table. Negreanu’s best main event finish was in 2015 when he fell in 11th place to Joe McKeehen, the eventual champion. Today he managed to get through the day with little-to-no drama. Some other main event final tablists that bagged today include: Michael Dyer (68,000) last year’s third place finisher, Kenny Hallaert (159,900) who finished sixth in 2016, and Neil Blumenfield (166,000) who finished third in 2015.
Another player who spent time at one of the feature tables is Taylor Carroll (79,500). Carroll might be a name unknown to most. He’s a predominantly cash game player who says he had a pretty good year and wanted to take a shot at some tournaments. He signed up for his first-ever live poker tournament, the $1,500 Millionaire Maker, and finished 198th for his first WSOP cash ($7,664).
The Air Force veteran was also interviewed before he played his second WSOP tournament, the $500 Salute to Warriors No-Limit Hold’em. Part of every entry in the tournament goes directly to the United Services Organization (USO). In Carroll’s second live tournament, he bagged the chip lead with eight players remaining. He has about a 5-million chip lead heading into Friday’s final table, but used his day off, Independence Day, to play Day 1B of the Main Event.
“I’m very tired. This morning when I woke up I said I’m just going to be late to this one because I can because the structure is so good. Then my wife texted me and said, No, you paid $10,000 to come play in this tournament, so get there on time. So I get to the table and they say, hey you’re on the feature table. I’m like, oh my goodness, because I’m wearing a bathing suit and sandals and I expected to come in here and kind of chill out a little bit.”
Little did he know he would be seated with fan favorite John Hesp. Carroll’s mother took a photo with Hesp before play began and Hesp was making the rounds with the fans he’s gathered over the last few years after his 2017 Main Event final table.
Carroll would bust Hesp about four hours into the day. He had an open-ended straight draw that he three-bet shoved into Hesp’s flush draw. Carroll made the straight and Hesp missed to be eliminated..
“I’m getting a lot of hate for knocking out John Hesp, so I’m not a fan favorite right now,” He said. It’s kind of unfortunate that it happened to early on in the tournament so he didn’t get to hang around as long as I wish he could, because he brings a great atmosphere.”
Beyond just knocking out Hesp, Carroll is getting some first-hand experience of what poker fame, or infamy, feels like. He’s used to playing on streams, but not a stream with so many people watching.
“I play Live at the Bike, so I’m used to being on stream playing, but this is a whole new animal. I’ve had random people across the world today message me, how could you do that to John?”
The grind for Carroll started Tuesday when he started Day 1 of the Salute to Warriors event. He played two full days in that event before playing his main event opening flight. Now with the final table tomorrow, Carroll’s next day off would be Sunday. Hopefully by then he will have booked his first WSOP bracelet, in only his second-ever live tournament, and have some time to realize he’s just spent a day playing on poker’s biggest stage.
“I guess I don’t have the buzz of the main event just because I’m so tired. I played a lot of poker this week. I don’t have that buzz yet, but last night at the final table I really started to get excited cause it’s a final table of a bracelet event and there’s a chance I could go home with a bracelet. So that’s exciting to me. I imagine after tomorrow this will kind of sink back in once I get a little sleep.”
Several of the players used their dinner break to sit on the front steps and watch the fireworks from all over the Strip in Las Vegas. As this is only the second day of the biggest poker tournament in the world, there are sure to be many more fireworks to come as we move one step closer to crowning the next World Series of Poker main event champion.
Day 1B Live Updates
End of Day Chip Counts