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2024 55th Annual World Series of Poker The Official WSOP Live Updates

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 to Thursday, May 30, 2024

Event #3: $500 WSOP Kickoff No-Limit Hold'em Freezeout

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  • Buy-in: $500
  • Prizepool: $1,463,700
  • Entries: 3,485
  • Remaining: 0

EVENT UPDATES

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Friday, May 31, 2024 7:08 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 7 hours ago)
Daniel Willis Rides Momentum to Secure First WSOP Bracelet

Daniel Willis

A British businessman and a two-time WSOP bracelet winner went heads up for the title, and it was the former who stood alone in the end.

Daniel Willis defeated Michael Wang on Day 3 to take down Event #3: $500 Kickoff No-Limit Hold'em Freezeout, securing Willis a $175,578 winning prize and his first WSOP bracelet after he outlasted the final eight players. Wang collected $117,046 as the runner-up.

"Coming off the first event I played and have a huge win, it's a dream come true moment," Willis said with a smile.

Willis, who entered Day 3 as the chip leader, didn't falter at the final table and credits the momentum he gained late in Day 2.

"In deep fields, thousands of players, you get these really crucial spots where you get your chips in and it's a really critical hand to keep that momentum going," Willis said. "And so many times when I played poker professionally 10-15 years ago before I started my music journey and business, I found that those crucial spots weren't going my way really deep for very big prize money.

"But in this tournament, it just went really, really well in those crucial spots, like (Thursday) when I was like fifth or sixth in chips, perhaps seventh, and someone shoved all in, another big stack re-raised all in, and then I got kings in the big blind, so I call. I was up against jacks, Q3 suited. The flop came 2, 4, 5, so I had to dodge an Ace, a Jack, a 6, and I did. Those are the key spots where I just kept gaining momentum."

Not only did Willis gain momentum, he sustained it throughout Day 3 while in good spots en route to winning the event.

"The final table seemed to go really smoothly," Willis said. "Someone shoved all in and I have kings; obviously an easy call. The same thing happened again and I had Aces, and it just kept going like that where I was in those dream scenarios, spots that a lot of poker players would just love to be in and would just appreciate that the luck is on your side."

Final Table Results

PlacePlayerCountryPrize
1stDaniel WillisUnited Kingdom$175,578
2ndMichael WangUnited States$117,056
3rdShawn SmithUnited States$86,820
4thSteven BorellaUnited States$,64,920
5thYoshinori FunayamaJapan$48,938
6thDaniel ShererUnited States$37,194
7thJohn MarinoUnited States$28,501
8thDavid NiedringhausUnited States$22,022

While luck is a factor, there is arguably a level of skill required to navigate the minefield of not just players, but capable players.

Ryan Riess
Ryan Riess

The overall field boasted multiple WSOP bracelet winners, including Wang, Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu, Ryan Riess, Tamas Lendvai, Jason Wheeler, Joseph Altomonte, Qiang Xu, andMarco Johnson, among others.

Going through all the tough competition isn't lost on the WSOP's newest bracelet winner.

"I'm just really grateful for this amazing opportunity," Willis said. "And how everything unfolded to be here and to be the winner."

With a major tournament win in his back pocket and a shiny WSOP gold bracelet on his wrist, Willis now looks forward to the future, which includes sticking around for a few more weeks in Las Vegas before he heads home.

"I'm definitely going to try and play the Mystery Bounty, probably take a day off and celebrate," he said. "I'll probably play a few more events, and then I got to get back to work."

THREE-DAY SNAPSHOT

A new event for 2024, the $500 Kickoff No-Limit Hold'em Event secured a sizeable 3,485 total entries, building a prize pool of $1,442,960. There were plenty of notables in the field, including Joe Cada, Greg Raymer, Brad Owen, Shaun Deeb, Josh Arieh, and Jeremy Ausmus but were not successful in making the money.

Maria Ho
Maria Ho

The bubble burst on Day 1 with Deeb losing out on the score. Maria Ho and Justin Saliba were sent to the rail shortly after making the money and didn't get to advance to Day 2.

Day 1 finished at the end of level 22 with 151 remaining players, including WSOP bracelet winner and 25K fantasy draft player Qiang Xu. Steven Borella was second in chips going into Day 2 with Gregory Snyder close behind in third.

Day 2 saw some big bust-outs with Xu eliminated in 37th place for $4,596, Ryan Riess (63rd - $2,679), Marco Johnson (47th - $3,805), Daniel Negreanu (16th - $8,541) and Jason Wheeler (14th - $8,541) before the final table was reached.

Play stopped when the field reached 8, with the final table redraw seeing Willis have 47 big blinds and the short stack David Niedringhaus with seven big blinds.

Day 3 resumed at 1 p.m. with the final table action being streamed by PokerGO on a two-hour delay, which saw Willis prevail as the event champion.

Friday, May 31, 2024 5:28 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 9 hours ago)
Daniel Willis Wins $500 Kickoff No-Limit Hold'em Event #3 ($175,578)

Daniel Willis

Congratulations to Daniel Willis, the third bracelet winner of 2024! Keep a look-out for a full tournament recap which will be posted soon.

Friday, May 31, 2024 5:09 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 9 hours ago)
Michael Wang Eliminated in Second Place ($117,046)

Michael Wang

Three hands after losing a massive pot to Daniel Willis, two-time WSOP bracelet winner Michael Wang was looking up to Willis' stack and a 2,500,000 preflop raise. Willis made the action after looking at   .

Wang, who started the hand with 19,200,000, peeked down at    and called.

The dealer fanned     on the flop. While both players hit a pair, they each checked their respective action.

The   appeared on the turn, prompting Wang to bet 4,000,000 on his top pair, but Willis, holding second pair, called.

The dealer placed   on the turn, giving Willis a hammerlock on the hand with trip Jacks. Wang checked and Willis applied maximum pressure by moving all in, a bet that covered Wang's remaining stack.

Wang took his time, shifting in his seat and shuffling chips for a few minutes. He then called and shook his head after seeing Willis' hand.

Wang earned $117,006 for his second-place finish in the event.

Daniel Willis87,300,00017,200,000
Michael Wang0-17,200,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 5:06 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 9 hours ago)
Wang Tanks and Moves All-In to a Chop

Michael Wang

Shortly after Daniel Willis took the chip lead, Willis raised to 2,500,000 from the button with   . Michael Wang in the big blind made the call with   .

With a wet     flop, Wang checked and Willis continuation bet to 2,200,000 into a 6,000,000 pot.

The dealer brought the   turn, which gave both players two pair, but Wang held the bigger sevens. Wang checked and Willis pushed 4,200,000 into the pot. Wang wasn't giving up and made another call.

The river brought the   and Wang tank jammed for 7,800,000.

Willis asked "how much is it" whilst deliberating his action, before making the call to chop the pot.

Daniel Willis70,100,000500,000
Michael Wang17,200,000-500,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 4:48 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 9 hours ago)
Willis Takes Chip Lead from Wang

Daniel Willis

It didn't take long for heads-up play to heat up.

Just a few hands into the competition, Michael Wang and Daniel Willis were involved in a large pot, which swung the balance to Willis at the end.

Wang peeked down at    and raised 2,500,000, which Willis called holding   .

The dealer fanned an action flop of    , giving Wang top pair with top kicker, while Willis flopped a flush draw. Wang bet 3,500,000, only to see Willis check-call the action.

Then, it got interesting on the turn after the dealer placed   on the board.

Willis checked, and Wang bet 7,500,000. Willis responded with a check-raise to 16,500,000. Wang took his time before announcing an all-in bet, which covered his opponent's stack.

Willis snap-called and tabled his flush, which had Wang drawing dead.

The   didn't change the outcome of the hand, but the 69,600,000 pot gave Willis the chip lead and left Wang with 17,700,000.

Daniel Willis69,600,00026,800,000
Michael Wang17,700,000-14,650,000
Gorilla Gaming
Friday, May 31, 2024 4:38 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 9 hours ago)
Shawn Smith Eliminated in 3rd Place ($86,820)

Shawn Smith

Only one hand after Steven Borella hit the rail, the table saw another all in.

Michael Wang raised 2,000,000 from the button and Shawn Smith moved all in for 11,000,000 from the big blind. Wang made the call and the players went to a flop with near even equity.

Shawn Smith:   [allin]
Michael Wang:   

The dealer peeled the     flop which gave Wang a strong lead.

The   and   runout didn't help Smith and he was eliminated in third place, and remaining players went to heads up.

Michael Wang44,950,00012,600,000
Shawn Smith0-12,100,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 4:33 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 9 hours ago)
Updated Chip Counts for the Final Three
Daniel Willis42,800,0000
Michael Wang32,350,0000
Shawn Smith12,100,000-5,800,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 4:28 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
Level 38 started
Level: 38
Blinds: 500,000/1,000,000
Ante: 1,000,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 4:25 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
Steven Borella Eliminated in 4th Place ($64,920)

Steven Borella

Michael Wang raised on the button with   . Steven Borella moved all in from the small blind with his remaining 7,775,000 stack.
Daniel Willis called in the big blind, and Wang quickly got out of the way.

Steven Borella:   [allin]
Daniel Willis:   

Borella hopefully said to Willis, "If I do suck out, I apologize" before seeing the     flop. Borella decided to stand and put on his backpack as he prepared himself to leave the tournament.

The   turn and the   river, left three at the table and Borella went home in fourth place.

Daniel Willis42,800,00010,975,000
Michael Wang32,350,000-1,600,000
Steven Borella0-12,875,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 4:05 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
Yoshinori Funayama Eliminated in 5th Place ($48,938)

Yoshinori Funayama

With a little more than five big blinds in front of him, Yoshinori Funayama moved all in under the gun. Unfortunately, Funayama ran into Daniel Willis, who called.

Funayama saw the bad news once the cards were tabled.

Yoshinori Funayama:    [allin]
Daniel Willis:   

The dealer fanned     on the flop, keeping Willis well ahead of his opponent. The   paired Funayama, but the   on the river ended his tournament.

While he was eliminated, Funayama made the most of his run. The payout provided Funayama his best live tournament cash, according to his Hendon Mob page.

Daniel Willis31,825,0005,900,000
Yoshinori Funayama0-4,750,000
Playtika - Jason Alexander
Friday, May 31, 2024 4:02 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
Chip Leaders Battle it Out

Michael Wang

Michael Wang woke up with    under the gun and raised to 1,600,000 prompting folds all around, allowing Wang to add more chips to his monster stack.

In the next hand, Daniel Willis sat with    on the button and raised to 1,750,000 and Wang defended the big blind with   .

The action flop came     which gave Willis top pair and a flush draw for Wang.

Wang opted for a check and Willis bet out 1,600,000, getting a quick call from Wang.

The   turn swayed things in Willis's favor. Wang checked and faced a bet of 2,700,000 from Willis. Wang took some time, but eventually found a fold, allowing Willis to get closer to chip leading.

Michael Wang33,950,000-1,550,000
Daniel Willis25,675,000-250,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 3:58 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
Wang, Funayama Chop it Up

Michael Wang moved all in from the button against the blinds. But he faced resistance from Yoshinori Funayama, who called out of the big blind with his remaining 3,950,000 to put his tournament life on the line.

Yoshinori Funayama:    [allin]
Michael Wang:   

Funayama was ahead and it stayed that way after the dealer fanned     on the flop, but Wang took over when   fell on the board. Funayama was still alive to the river, with hopes to pair his Ace to win the pot.

But the game of poker had other ideas, as the dealer put   on the river to give Funayama and Wang each a flush and a chop.

"Yes!" Funayama exclaimed, as his tablemates chuckled at the result.

Michael Wang35,500,0002,000,000
Yoshinori Funayama4,750,000-4,400,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 3:53 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
Daniel Sherer Eliminated in 6th Place ($37,194)

Daniel Sherer

Michael Wang raised to 1,600,000 from under the gun which was met with a jam from Daniel Sherer on the button for 7,225,000.

Daniel Sherer:   [allin]
Michael Wang:   

Sherer got up from the table and congratulated Wang's "nice hand" as he waited for the runout.

Wang flopped top set on the     flop and Sherer called for a "jack on the turn".

The   turn sealed Sherer's fate as Wang's tens were filled with nines.

As the dealer peeled the   river, Sherer shook the new chip leader Wang's hand, and left the tournament in sixth place.

Michael Wang33,500,00017,125,000
Daniel Sherer0-5,025,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 3:43 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
Level 37 started
Level: 37
Blinds: 400,000/800,000
Ante: 800,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 3:42 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
Updated Chip Counts
Daniel Willis25,925,0001,200,000
Shawn Smith17,900,0000
Michael Wang16,375,0006,700,000
Steven Borella12,875,000-700,000
Yoshinori Funayama9,150,000-2,700,000
Daniel Sherer5,025,0000
Gorilla Gaming
Friday, May 31, 2024 3:39 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
John Marino Eliminated in 7th Place ($28,501)

John Marino

John Marino entered Day 3 as one of the shorter stacks of the remaining players. He decided midway through Level 36 to put it in play out of the small blind following a raise from Shawn Smith, who was on the button.

Shortly after peeking at his cards, Marino announced an all-in bet, which Smith immediately called to put Marino at risk of elimination.

John Marino:    [allin]
Shawn Smith:   

Marino was behind and the situation didn't chance when the dealer fanned     on the flop. The dealer then placed   on the turn, followed by the   on the river to send Marino to the rail.

The $28,501 payout becomes Marino's second-best tournament cash.

Shawn Smith17,900,0001,750,000
John Marino0-7,000,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 3:30 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 10 hours ago)
Katz vs. Martirosian in the $25,000 Heads-Up
Friday, May 31, 2024 3:25 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 11 hours ago)
Sherer Tops Up from Willis

Daniel Sherer

Action folded to Daniel Sherer in the small blind who moved all in for 3,825,000.

Daniel Willis in the big blind with    folded after stating he saw Sherer's "mountain of greens" stack.

Daniel Willis24,725,0001,000,000
Daniel Sherer5,025,000-1,250,000
Friday, May 31, 2024 3:14 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 11 hours ago)
Funayama Gets it Through with Tens

Yoshinori Funayama

Michael Wang raised to 1,200,000 from the hijack with   , which got a call from Steven Borella in the cutoff with   . Yoshinori Funayama then moved all in for 8,200,000 on the button with his pocket tens.

Yoshinori Funayama:   [allin]

Funayama got two folds and added a sizeable 3,3600,000 chips to his stack.

Steven Borella13,575,0000
Yoshinori Funayama11,850,0000
Michael Wang9,675,0000
Friday, May 31, 2024 3:14 PM Local Time (about 23 days and 11 hours ago)
Level 36 started
Level: 36
Blinds: 300,000/600,000
Ante: 600,000
Gorilla Gaming
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