WSOP 2019 in full swing: Record smashed, Negreanu and Hellmuth go close and Asian hopes grow in the Short Deck

Big 50 becomes record-breaking 50

The WSOP is no stranger to large tournament fields, with the Main Event regularly attracting well over 7,000 players and events like the Colossus consistently trebling that figure. Despite the name, the event commands a buy in of $500. The name Big 50 is in honour of the 50th anniversary of the World Series of Poker this year.

WSOP Big 50 Fifty
Big 50 field – Photo

The Big 50 has certainly lived up to its name in terms of field size, with each of the four starting day flights adding thousands of players to the field. By the end of day 1c the field had already swelled to over 19,000 with the casino struggling to find enough rooms to cram the players into. By the end of day 1d the overall figure had breached the 26,000 mark. This smashed the previous record set by the Colossus event which attracted 22,374 runners back in 2015.

Daniel Negreanu hits the ground running

Having sold action to his fans at zero mark-up, Daniel Negreanu began his 2019 campaign by giving them all a payout and a huge sweat. The first open event on the calendar was the $10k Super Turbo Bounty, and Negreanu immediately made a mark on the series, navigating his way to the final table of an event which began with 204 runners.

He didn’t enter the final table as one of the bigger stacks though, and with the accelerated blind structure, had to get busy early on in order to make something happen. He only took nine hands to get his chips in, with AT against JQ, and certainly made something happen – his own elimination. Sadly, for the Canadian six-time bracelet winner, his opponent caught the turn and sent him to the rail in 6th place for $52,099.

Final table payouts

1 – Brian Green – $345,669 
2 – Almedin Imsirovic – $213,644 
3 – Asher Conniff – $145,097 
4 – Loren Klein – $100,775 
5 – Ping Liu – $71,614 
6 – Daniel Negreanu – $52,099 
7 – Martijn Gerrits – $38,823
8 – Zachary Clark – $29,650 
9 – Cary Katz – $23,224 

Hellmuth flexes his online muscles in sixteenth bracelet near-miss

All-time bracelet winning frontrunner Phil Hellmuth came agonisingly close to adding a sixteenth bracelet to his collection in event 7 this year, excelling in an online setting which has historically, not been his favoured format. The $400 online WSOP event gathered a field 1,965 unique players, with the total number of buy ins rising to 2,825. Hellmuth managed to work his way through the large field, reaching the final table with a middle stack, but could not find any magic at the final table, losing a flip to bow out in 5th place. Hellmuth picks up $39,460 for his efforts and will surely be jumping straight into another event as he seeks to extend his bracelet record.

Final table payouts

1 – Yong Keun “LuckySpewy1” Kwon – $165,263
2 – Gabor “MeatisMurder” Szabo – $99,361
3 – Scott “merrick” Eskenazi $73,021
4 – Frederic “LeakStain” Roetker $53,494
5 – Phil “lumestackin” Hellmuth $39,460
6 – Phillip “DjPhiLWiLL” Raetz $29,493
7  – Dan “MeatJustice” O’Brien $22,374
8 – Steve “FlatcallSPC” Cicak $17,086
9 – Samuel “Roopert” Uhlmann $13,199

Short-deck falters as Asian hopes rise

Nobody expected the inaugural short-deck event at the WSOP to attract a huge field, but 79 entries is a weak return for any event at this series. The $10,000 price tag, coupled with the game still being in its infancy in terms of optimal strategies being understood could have impacted the numbers somewhat, but the field that did assemble was certainly not lacking quality. David Peters, Anthony Zinno, Daniel Negreanu, Dan Smith, Erik Seidel, Justin Bonomo and Ben Lamb were among the recognisable names.

Those looking out for Asian hopes of a bracelet were not disappointed either, with Taiwan’s James Chen bagging up 95,000 at the end of the first day and Chinese hopefuls Liu Jiaxiu and Yong Wang bagging hefty stacks of 267,700 and 278,000 respectively.

Additionally, Macau’s Anson Tsang will bring the fourth biggest stack into the second day’s play when the 26 remaining players return to the tables.

Article by Craig Bradshaw