EVENT 1: $565 Casino Employees' No Limit Holdem
The WSOP 2015 has just started and the first two Champions are crowned. The first one is obviously a Casino employees since any WSOP starts traditionally with an exclusive 565$ event for Casino Staff only. It's Brandon Barnette who claimed the victory in this first event.
Brandon Barnette – Champion of the Casino Employee's Event
Against the eventual Runner-Up Greg Seiden he raised preflop from the Small Blind with 10 8 of diamonds. Seiden just called with KK from the Big Blind – without a diamond. The flop brought AQ4 with three diamonds. After Seiden had checked Brandon Barnette fired a continuation bet with his flopped flush. Seiden tought it would be now the right moment to protect his pair of Kings against potential straight and flush draws, even if there was Ace on the board, and checked raised All-In.
Barnette obviously called as instantly as he could. But Seiden managed to hit the miracle 2% chance of still winning this hand with another queen on the turn and a king on the river to draw out Barnette's flush with a full house of kings over queens.
After this pot Barnette still had the lead and managed 27 hands later to take down the tournament, winning his first WSOP bracelet and $75.704 in cash. Congratulations!
EVENT 2: $5,000 No Limit Holdem Event
The second bracelet was to be won in the $5.000 No Limit Hold'em event, the first serious event of this year's series. The line up of this final table was even better than expected.
First place and the bracelet went to Michael Wang (USA) for $466k after beating Bryn Kenney (USA) heads-up,. Bryn was on the way to win his second bracelet and is very well known for playing up to $100.000 highroller events live and crushing online poker for years.
Michael Wang, Champion of the $5.000 Ho Limit Hold'em Event (Photo Jamie Thompson)
The third place and $208k went to Artur Koren, a German poker pro living in Vienna (AUT), who is the actual official European Champion of Poker, crowned in Baden, Austria, in october 2014 for $146k besides several other cashes including an EPT final table and great perfomances online for several years.
Before him it was the WSOP 2012 Main Event Champion Greg Merson (USA) who left the table with $152k for his 4th place. Way less than the $8,5 Million US he won 2012, but still a great start to his WSOP 2015.
The 5th place for $112k went to Jason Wheeler (USA) who had over 1,5 Million US$ in tournament cashes before this event including the title in the highroller event of the WPT Amsterdam three weeks ago for $140k.
Before him Amir Lehavot from Israel left the table with $83k for 6th place. He has already won $ 5.5 million in tournaments so far including a 3rd place in the 2013 WSOP Main Event for $ 3,7 million.
Joe Ebanks finished in 7th place for $63k. The US poker player has won a bracelet in the 10k$-6max event of the WSOP 2011 for $ 1.1 million and several other great live result aside from his great online perfomance.
The 8th place finisher Long Nguyen (USA) was the unluckiest guy on this final table. Even if he won $48k, it's tough to get busted whith such a cooler. Greg Merson raised from early position to 55.000. Nguyen woke up with two Aces in the Big Blind and three bet to 155.000. Merson called after thinking about it for a while. The flop was great for Nguyen: top set on A J K. Nguyen bet, Merson called. The turn seemed to be even better for Nguyen since another J brought Nguyen a full house. After all the money went in on this card, he saw the bad news: Merson was holding two Jacks, so finally Nguyen was down to one out. Unfortunately he wasn't as lucky as Merson.
Last but not least Byron Kaverman was the first player who left the final table finishing in 9th place for $37k. The US pro has already won more than 4 million US$ in tournaments so far and is actually running pretty well in Aria's Highroller series where he managed to win two events within two days for $250k each this year.
Finally a lot of action and a great start for this year's WSOP. We're looking forward to seeing more like this. The first "Championship Event" will start tomorrow – the $10.000 2-7 Triple Draw – including a huge assortment of famous pro's like Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, … who are happy to see such events once a year and try to win their first bracelet this year including huge amounts of money for the several bracelet bets they set up among each other every year. Follow the action, folks!