2020 WSOP Main Event – Natural8: Day 1B leader Blaz Zerjav sets the bar; another 42 advance out of 171 players; last starting day coming up

Another action packed day at Natural8 – GG Network with the World Series of Poker completing Day 1B of the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship aka WSOP Main Event. 171 players hit the virtual felt and by the end of scheduled play, only 42 remained led by Slovenia’s Blaz Zerjav. This past summer Zerjav cashed at 8 of the WSOP Online 2020 series events however a bracelet still eluded him. With a very strong run today, Zerjav is well on his way to making that dream a reality. Other players also making the cut were bracelet winners Simon Klas Lofberg, Toby Joyce “shinerrr”, Barak Wisbrod “LuckySecret”, and Ivan Deyra “Cordialement”. All of the day’s survivors have a short break before returning for Day 2 on December 8 @ 02:00 HKT. In between is the last starting day. Day 1C takes place in just several hours time, Monday, December 7 @ 02:00 HKT. We have all the info for you below including a recap and results of the Day 1B action.

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Slovenia’s Blaz Zerjav claims the Day 1B chip lead – 639,394

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Blaz Zerjav. Credit: partypoker LIVE

After a grueling 16 levels of play, Slovenia’s Blaz Zerjav was the man up top with a commnanding 639,394 in chips. To demonstrate how large this was, it was over a 100K more than Day 1A chip leader Julian “VWgunther” Menhardt’s stack. Zerjav has now set new heights for the final starting day to come.

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Two pair for chip leader Blaz Zerjav

It wasn’t until Level 11 did Zerjav emerge as one of the leaders. He dragged in a big pot on an uncalled river shove against WSOPE 2013 Main Event champion Adrian Mateos to send his stack zooming to second rank, just below WSOP double ring winner Alexandre Reard “STAY_HUNGRY”. From there, Zerjav stayed within the top five until Level 15 when he knocked out Anton Morgenstern “storytellerA” with AcJc higher kicker over QdJd on a board Js9d9s2d10h. To close out the day, Zerjav also emptied out Lander Lijo “TaPWateR” with AcAh dominating AsQc. He currently leads the 104 Day 2 qualifiers.

Top 10 players of Day 1B

Blaz Zerjav – Slovenia – 639,394 – 127.9 BB
Rodrigo Valente “sauvage” – Brazil – 592,043 – 118.4 BB
Amir Dvir “8ty4calling8” – Israel – 538,003 – 107.6 BB
Artem Vezhenkov “Ar0wana” – Russia – 511,114 – 102.2 BB
crackers614 – Canada – 488,965 – 97.8 BB
pleasehurtme – Ukraine – 427,584 – 85.5 B
Javier Gomez – Spain – 427,190 – 85.4 BB
Qibing Wang “degenkaliu” – China – 392,108 – 78.4 BB
Diego Falcone “TeaLover” – Brazil – 341,782 – 68.4 BB
David Cowling “Edeskie” – Canada – 337,990 – 67.6 BB

Day 2 – Top 10 players

Blaz Zerjav – Slovenia – 639,394 – 127.9 BB
Rodrigo Valente “sauvage” – Brazil – 592,043 – 118.4 BB
Amir Dvir “8ty4calling8” – Israel – 538,003 – 107.6 BB
Julian Menhardt “VWgunther” – Germany – 534,490 – 106.9 BB
Artem Vezhenkov “Ar0wana” – Russia – 511,114 – 102.2 BB
crackers614 – Canada – 488,965 – 97.8 BB
Paul Esau “AsiaStylez” – USA – 472,075 – 94.4 BB
Dirk Gerritse – Germany – 457,197 – 91.4 BB
Preben Stokkan – Norway – 446,688 – 89.3 BB
sunnyzyang1982 – China – 441,981 – 88.4 BB

WSOP decorated players into Day 2

It was a better starting day for WSOP decorated players with six out of 14 that entered advancing to Day 2 namely Simon Klas Lofberg (323,563), Toby Joyce “shinerrr” (243,195), Alexandre Reard “STAY_HUNGRY” (2176,609), Anton Wigg “RUN_CMD” (210,608), Barak Wisbrod “LuckySecret” (177,386), and Ivan Deyra “Cordialement” (148,142). Of the crew, Cordialement was the most decorated with one bracelet and three rings to boast of. He was also the only one who earned a Main Event seat via a $1K Ultra Satellite, though it took a second bullet to win it.

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Throughout the day, four of the players were spotted in the top 10 several times. At Level 3 Lofberg made the jump to second rank when his JsJd boat got full pay from Russia’s “fatunov” 7c6c flush on a board that completed Jc3c9c9d8h. By Level 8, Lofberg dropped below the top ten mark while LuckySecret slid into second rank. LuckySecret won several big pots to balloon his stack. The first one was 7s7d full house against Namaste!’s 5c5s lower full house on a board 5d6s6d3d7h. He later cracked FDDW’s pocket Kings when pocket Tens flopped a set. Another strong performer was STAY_HUNGRY who held the top spot from Level 9 to 13 until a costly three way showdown sent his stack to mid range. Bracelet winner “shinerrr” also graced the top tier in the late rounds. One of his victims was Ivan Gabrieli “MarkHateley” whose overcards couldn’t topple pocket eights.

Other notable players that made the cut to Day 2 were Rafael Reis (302,255), Diego Zeiter “Ushuaia1” (245,830), Sergio Aido (270,355), Simon Mattsson “FiestaPagana” (131,241), Martin Pineiro (86,161), and Javier Gomez (427,190) who closed the heat ranked 7th. Gomez had a scare in Level 15 in a hand against Blaz Zerjav. Gomez was all in with 7d7s, Zerjav looked to eliminate with AsKc, the flop ran AdKd2h for top two pair to Zerjav, the turn 8c changed nothing but the 7c was the two outer needed by Gomez for a rivered set and the win. Gomez expressed his relief with a “Whew”.

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WSOPE 2013 Main Event champion Adrian Mateos misses the mark

So far only two WSOP Main Event champions have been spotted, 2007 WSOP Main Event champion Jerry Yang at Day 1A and 2013 WSOPE Main Event champion Adrian Mateos at Day 1B. For the latter Mateos, hefull hous ran steadily even landing a double up in Level 13 against Roland Rokita “Gwriden”. The hand had Mateos holding 9s9h full house to Rokita’s 8c2c flush on a board 4c9cJcJdAs. Rokita bet the river, Mateos shoved, Rokita called then plunged to 5 BB. However, Mateos’s rise was short lived. Before the level completed, his tank ran out. On a turn board 3h7c7d8c, big stacked “crackers614” shoved with 8h8sfull house, Mateos called for all his chips with AsAc two pair. The river was 10h.

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Fallen notable players

Also at the rail with Mateos were numerous WSOP decorated players and known pros. The first out was ring winner Jesse Mercado “AAGenius88”. Midway through the opening level, AAGenius was all in with pocket Kings and ran smack into Yaman “granjefe77” Nakdali’s pocket Aces to become the first elimination of Day 1B. AAGenius88 won his seat via a US$ 525 Mega Satellite so even if the early departure was a big disappointment, at least he wasn’t out US$ 10K. On the opposite side, ring winner Niall Farrell was the last of the WSOP decorated champions to exit. Farrell kicked off well, reaching the top ten by Level 4 and as high as second rank by Level 9. His hot run began to lose pace in the later rounds resulting in Sergio Aido to claim his short stack with pocket nines turned quads against AKo top pair.

Other fallen champions were bracelet holders Jens Kyllonen, Ravid Garbi “jerbi9999”, David Miscikowski, and Ivan Zufic “zufo16”. Among the ring bearers was Felipe Ramos who watched his chips drain out all day. At Level 12, he took a stand with Ad10d laying out a three-bet that was called by initial raiser James Worth “RetiredKK”. Acting next was Diego Zeiter “Ushuaia1” who initially called the open raise, this time he replied with a four bet shove holding 8s8d. Ramos went ahead and risked it all, the board bricked.

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Other known pros busting were Kazuki Ikeuchi “8809”, Dzmitry Urbanovich, Niklas Astedt, and Sylvain Loosli.

Day 1B recap

Briefly recapping the day’s fierce action, the timer started with 94 players lined up. Within the first fifteen minutes, WSOP ring bearer Jesse Mercado “AAGenius88” was eliminated on a cooler with pocket Kings falling to Yaman “granjefe77” Nakdali’s pocket Aces. The next bust was also the result of a cooler with Daniel “Namaste!” Koninger’s pocket Aces railing player “tezyy’s” pocket Kings. By Level 9, 165 had registered with 138 remaining. Among the fallen was bracelet holder David Miscikowski whose Jd10s trips lost to Adam “static88” Banko’s 3d3h full house.

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Chinese pro Guo Dong also got the boot after playing just one round. Dong’s 2c2s set was rivered by AnoNYMous19’s Ah4h turned straight on a board 6s9h2h3s5c. At the close of registration, 108 out of 171 were still in contention led by double ring winner Alexandre Reard “STAY_HUNGRY”. Action then picked up pace that after one hour, the field was down to 79 players. Bracelet winner Barak Wisbrod “LuckySecret” was in the driver’s seat with the elimination of Bryan Micon “Macallan18” helping him get there.

During the last three levels Luigi Shehadeh “shadinho94” denied Per Karlsson “Nick_Carter”, player “pleasehurtme” doubled up through Gleb Tremzin “IamMVP” with AsAc dominating AdQd then finished off short stacked “MrBrownstone”, and Blaz Zerjav jumped to pole position after booting out players Anton Morgenstern “storytellerA” and Lander Lijo “TaPWateR”.

Brazil’s Rodrigo Valente “sauvage” closed the day in second rank after securing a big chunk from player “AdultShark” with Ac8c flush besting As10d straight on a board Qs7cKs6cJc. For third ranked Amir Dvir “8ty4calling8”, it was a positive day throughout. Dvir grabbed the lead in Level 4 after cracking Shuki Saadon’s pocket Kings with 7c8c straight. Dvir held the lead until Level 10, slipping slightly to 6th rank. At Level 15, Dvir ended the hopes of Israel’sMaby2Time” when AhJs spiked the Ace on the flop to crack KcKh.

wsop main event 7

Next down the line was Artem Vezhenkov “Ar0wana” finishing in fourth rank after scooping up all of Adam “static88” Banko’s chips during the final round. Ar0wana’s KhQh trips denied AdJc. To complete the top five in chips was Canada’s “crackers614” who scored a large pot at Level 13 by eliminating 2013 WSOPE Main Event champion Adrian Mateos.

Of the 42 Day 1B survivors, 21 earned their ticket via satellites. Three players won it for just US$ 100 (Step Satellite) namely Luigi Shehadeh “shadinho94”, fumi2323, and crackers614. Germany’s pokerface_wf also won a US$ 100 Step Satellite but fired a second bullet to earn a next stage ticket.

2020 WSOP Main Event info

The international segment of the 2020 WSOP Main Event continues tomorrow with one final starting day to play out before moving on to Day 2, the Final Table, and the Heads Up Championship. For all you fence sitters, this is your last chance at the 51st WSOP Main Event championship title. Buy in is US$ 10,000. Already signed up are Natural8 Team Hot pros Bertrand Grospellier “ElkY” and Pete Chen, and Natural8 Freeroll winner “vansy1988”.

With everyone looking to join the action, there are many options to enter for cheap. Step satellites start at US$ .50 and direct satellites start at US$ 54. These satellites run continuously on the site. A combined 53 players into Day 2 have won their seats via these satellites. For just US$ 10, Day 1A player “ml223322” won a ticket to a US$ 100 Step Satellite that fed into a US$ 1K Ultra Satellite and made it through to Day 2 currently ranked 14th.

Buy in: US$ 10,000
Game: No Limit Hold’em Freezeout
Cumulative Entries: 417
Cumulative Prize Pool: US$ 4,003,200

Day 1A: 62 advanced out of 246 players
Day 1B: 42 advanced out of 171 players
Day 1C: Monday, December 7 @ 02:00 HKT
Day 2: Tuesday, December 8 @ 02:00 HKT
Final Table: Tuesday, December 15 @ King’s Casino (Live)
*Subject to local regulatory approval

To adjust to the current global health crisis, this year’s format has been tweaked. For the first time in history, the Main Event is a hybrid tournament running on two online platforms before transitioning to the live felt. International action is hosted on Natural8 – GGNetwork and initial domestic segment action is on, though the latter is restricted to players geolocated in US states Nevada and New Jersey. Domestic segment schedule on

Day 1: Sunday, December 13
Day 2: Monday, December 14
Final Table: Monday, December 28 @ Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino (Live)

Both segments will run the same structure. Starting stack is 60,000 with 100-200 opening blinds and level intervals running a lengthy 30 minutes. Late registration is open for six hours. Starting days conclude at the end of Level 16. For those that advance to Day 2, it plays down to the Final 9.

Once the final tables have been reached, the live portion begins. The international final 9 players fly to King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic and the domestic final 9 players head to the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas where they battle for their respective segment’s Main Event titles. To complete the event, the champions of each segment face off live for one final duel on December 30 in Las Vegas for the 51st WSOP Main Event Championship title. The ultimate champion will claim the WSOP Main Event champion’s gold bracelet and the added $1,000,000 courtesy of Caesars Entertainment, Inc. and GGPoker.

Promo: Natural8 US$ 100,000 Team Bling Sponsorship

If you haven’t signed up yet to Natural8, the time to do so is now. Natural8 is offering an exciting Main Event promo for all its members, a Team Bling Sponsorship worth up to a whopping US$ 100,000. Team Bling was formed during the 51st WSOP. Each Natural8 – WSOP bracelet winner was inducted into the team and awarded sponsorship packages. To be part of this exclusive band of champions, just sign up to Natural8 and win the international WSOP Main Event Final Table for a US$ 30,000 Team Bling Sponsorship. An added US$ 70,000 sponsorship and Team Bling captainship when you win the Heads Up Championship.

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Stick with us at Somuchpoker as we bring you recaps of the WSOP 2020 Main Event as it unfolds.

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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