Friday, May 23, 2014 1:28 AM Local Time
The 2014 WSOP National Championship began Thursday at Bally’s Atlantic City as the Circuit’s top performers matched up against WSOP Player of the Year qualifiers and WSOP.com online winners. The elite player pool convened on the property to compete for an up-to $2 million prize pool and, of course, the year’s first bracelet all the while under the scrutiny of the ESPN cameras.
In all, play began with 124 hopefuls including Main Event champions Greg Merson and Ryan Riess, gold bracelet winners Loni Harwood and Eric Baldwin, Circuit points leader Yossi Azulay and six-time ring winner Ari Engel.
Following 10 levels of Day 1 play just 50 players remain with Palm Beach Casino Champion Jeff Gunnip out in front as the only player over the 200,000 mark. Gunnip holds 201,000 chips and begins Day 2 with a slight advantage over POY qualifier and bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche. Nitsche bagged 171,000 and sets the pace for POYs.
Starting Day 2 toward the middle of the pack is Greg Merson with 73,800. As far as Main Event champions are concerned, Merson was one of just two in the field. The other, defending champion Ryan Riess, exited the event toward the end of the day when he came out on the losing end of a coin flip against Merson.
Notables joining Gunnip and Merson on Day 2 include Loni Harwood, Eric Baldwin, Matthew Ashton, Pavlin Karakikov, Russell Thomas and James Dorrance who burst on the WSOP scene earlier this year besting a record field of 1,717 entires in the Horseshoe Hammond Main Event.
Those not fortunate enough to punch their ticket to Day 2 include Engel, Joe Kuether, Austin Buchanan, Charles Syvestre, Marvin Rettenmaier, Jake Balsiger, Zal Irani and Charles “Woody” Moore. The latter held the chip lead shortly after dinner break but surrendered it to Gunnip over the course of two pots and ultimately exited shy of Day 2.
Day 2 begins Friday at noon ET with blinds of 800/1,600 and a 200 ante. Registration remains open until tournament staff announces “shuffle up and deal” and full prize pool information will be posted at that time. Day 2 play is set to wrap when the field narrows to the final six.
Top 10 chip counts:
1. Jeff Gunnip - 201,000
2. Dominic Nitsche - 171,000
3. Ruslan Dykshteyn - 145,200
4. Bryan Campanello - 143,300
5. Jessie Bryant - 132,600
6. Eric Baldwin - 129,100
7. Matthew Ashton - 121,200
8. Jason Sandling - 116,700
9. Russell Thomas - 116,200
10. Ylon Schwartz - 114,000
Full chip counts are available on WSOP.com.
Friday, May 23, 2014 12:30 AM Local Time
The clock reads zeros and the remaining players are bagging and tagging for Day 1. A complete recap of the day's action as well as full chip counts will be posted shortly.
Friday, May 23, 2014 12:12 AM Local Time
Three-time ring winner Jessie Bryant raises to 3,200 from under the gun and at-large qualifier Andrew Robinson calls from the hijack. The flop comes [9s[p4d[ and Bryant bets 5,100. Robinson calls.
The turn brings the and both players check. The river is the and Bryant checks again. Robinson pauses a moment before checking behind, then rolls over for a rivered set of queens.
"I really wanted to bet," Robinson says.
"I wouldn't have called," Bryant replies.
Andrew Robinson - 77,500
Jessie Bryant - 62,000
Friday, May 23, 2014 12:06 AM Local Time
Robert Panitch was eliminated in a three-way pot with Yossi Azulay and Athanasios Polychronopoulos. Azulay tripled up while Polychronopoulos surrendered a chunk of his chips and Panitch hit the rail.
For Panitch, this marked his second WSOP National Championship. He finished third in last year's event, pocketing $156,743.
Yossi Azulay - 51,000
Robert Panitch - eliminated
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:59 PM Local Time
At-large qualifier Cory Waaland, who won two rings this season, gets his last 10,000 in holding K-Q to another player's K-10. The other player hits their ten to send Waaland to the rail.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:41 PM Local Time
Greg Merson came out on top in the battle of the Main Event champs as he sent Ryan Riess to the rail on the last level of the night. Riess' run at a follow-up bracelet in Atlantic City is over, but a whole new grind starts next week.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:39 PM Local Time
The top Circuit point earner of the season, Yossi Azulay, moves all-in from early position for his last 18,700. Action folds to Lumiere Place Main Event Robert Panitch in the big blind and he calls with . He is racing with Azulay's .
The flop pairs up Azulay, but the on the turn gives Panitch an open-ended straight draw. The river brings the and Azulay improves to trip sevens to double up.
Yossi Azulay - 24,000
Robert Panitch - 38,500
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:36 PM Local Time
An active Matt Stout raises the button to 2,400 and Athanasios Polychronopoulos folds the small blind. Action is on Zal Irani in the big blind and he moves all in for his last 13,000. Stout calls and Irani sees the bad news.
The board brings worse news for Irani when Stout turns the nut flush leaving Irani drawing dead.
Zal Irani - eliminated
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:34 PM Local Time
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:28 PM Local Time
A recently-eliminated Marvin Rettenmaier filled us in on how Caesars Palace Las Vegas Main Event winner Christian Pham took the bulk of his chips.
According to Rettenmaier, he raised from the hijack, Pham called on the button, and Circuit at-large qualifier Josh Evans called from the big blind. The flop came K-6-3 and action checked to Pham, who bet around 3,500. Evans folded and Rettenmaier called.
The turn brought a 5 and both players checked. The river came 2, prompting Rettenmaier to bet 7,200. Pham moved all-in for 11,000 total. Rettenmaier called with a set of treys, which were no good up against Pham's A-4 for a straight.
Christian Pham - 28,000
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:25 PM Local Time
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:24 PM Local Time
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:24 PM Local Time
The flop reads and Jesse Sylvia is all-in holding for flush and straight draws against the over pair of Athanasios Polychronopoulos.
The turn comes no help falling the and the river is dry as it brings the .
With Sylvia's elimination Greg Merson and Russell Thomas are the only members of the 2012 November Nine still alive.
Athanasios Polychronopoulos - 130,000
Jesse Sylvia - eliminated
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:17 PM Local Time
There is 10,000 already in the pot when the flop comes . Bike Main Event winner Nipun Java checks from the small blind, at-large qualifier Daniel Lowery bets 6,500 from middle position, and WSOP POY qualifier Stephen Chidwick calls from the cutoff. Java folds.
The turn brings the , prompting both players to silently check. The river is the . Lowery checks again, then Chidwick bets 11,100, roughly half of Lowery's remaining stack. Lowery folds and Chidwick takes the pot.
Stephen Chidwick - 41,000
Daniel Lowery - 20,000
Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:15 PM Local Time
Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:44 PM Local Time
Reigning $50,000 Poker Players Champion Matthew Ashton is in the small blind and Horseshoe Hammond Casino Champion Micheal Oshana is in the big blind when they see a flop of . Ashton bets 2,400 into the pot of 6,000 or so and Oshana raises, making it 6,300 to play. Ashton calls, then both players check when the turn brings the .
The river is the and Ashton checks again. Oshana bets 8,200 and Ashton doesn't take too long to call.
Oshana shows for a backdoored diamond flush, Ashton mucks, and Oshana takes the pot.
Micheal Oshana - 70,000
Matthew Ashton - 82,000
Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:40 PM Local Time
At-large qualifier Justin Bond opens for 2,200 and action folds to bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche on the button. Nitsche three-bets to 5,300 and the blinds fold. It's back on Bond and he four-bets to 10,200. Nitsche re-checks his hole cards, sends a glance Bond's way and moves all-in. Bond, whose stack is covered by Nitsche's, calls.
The players expose their hands and it's a classic race with Bond's slightly ahead of the of Nitsche.
The flop is not kind to Bond, falling pairing Nitsche's ace and giving him a strangle hold on the pot.
The turn and river are no help either, coming the and .
"Good game. I enjoyed playing with you guys," Bond says to a table that includes Main Event champion Ryan Riess and Greg Merson as well as Loni Harwood and Jake Balsiger.
Dominik Nitsche - 89,000
Justin Bond - eliminated
Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:25 PM Local Time
Players are back from their final break of the night and taking their seats to blinds of 500/1,000 with a 100 ante. Play is set to conclude following Level 10. At that time, the remaining players bag and tag set to return tomorrow at noon ET for Day 2.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:24 PM Local Time
Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:17 PM Local Time
Woody Moore's time atop the counts was short-lived, as he is now on the rail with one break left in the day. According to Palm Beach Casino Champ Jeff Gunnip, most of Moore's chips ended up in Gunnip's stack courtesy of two hands.
First, Gunnip and Moore went heads-up to a flop of 9-8-6. Moore check-raised Gunnip on the flop, Gunnip called, then the turn brought a 3. Moore checked, Gunnip bet 7,500, then Moore check-raised all-in having Gunnip's remaining 40,000 or so covered.
Gunnip called with pocket kings for the overpair, while Moore had 9-7 for top pair and an open-ended straight draw. The river was an 8 and Gunnip doubled up.
A little while later, Gunnip raised from under the gun, Moore called from the cutoff, and a player called from the big blind. Gunnip bet the J-10-10 flop and Moore called. The turn brought the , putting two clubs on board. Gunnip checked, Moore bet 10,000, and this time it was Gunnip who moved all-in. Moore called with for jacks up along with a straight and a flush draw, while Gunnip had K-J for two pair with a better kicker. Moore bricked the river to hit the rail, while Gunnip is the chip leader heading into the break.
Jeff Gunnip - 166,000
Woody Moore - eliminated