Esfandiari Heads WSOP Big Drop
The second day of the World Series of Poker $1 million Big One for One Drop saw the remaining thirty-seven players reduced to a final table of eight, all of whom will return later today to play for a first prize worth in excess of $18 million.
Plenty of big names hit the rail during the day, with Tom Dwan and the short-stacked Daniel Negreanu among the first to go, in the same hand to Mikhail Smirnov. Dwan got his money in good with the pocket aces, while Negreanu’s ATo was massively dominated. But it was Smirnov, holding 99, who came good, when the flop brought him a set and he completed quads on the river. Phil Galfond, Noah Schwartz, Tobias Reinkemeier and Gus Hansen all headed for the exit as well, before Phil Ivey left in 26th. Ivey hadn’t managed to produce much all day, and he got the last of his chips in with pocket queens. His opponent Phillip Gruissen had A8s, and, when the flop brought him only bottom pair, it looked good for Ivey, but runner-runner diamonds saw Gruissem make a flush.
The biggest hand of the day saw a clash between Jason Mercier and Antonio Esfandiari, with Mercier seven-bet shoving all his chips in with KK. Esfandiari’s call was an easy one as he had the aces; they held, and he seized the chip lead from Tom Marchese.
Players continued to fall until the tournament reached the bubble stage; at this point Ilya Bulchev was the shortest stack, and when he shoved Q6s from the small blind, Sam Trickett, the last British survivor, made the call with K7o. A seven was the first card out on the flop, and Bulchev couldn’t find anything to catch up.
There was just time for Mike Sexton to become the first player eliminated inside the money – he took away $1,109,333 – before the chips were bagged for the night. Esfandiari closed as overnight leader, narrowly ahead of Sam Trickett, but both holding more than 15 million more chips than third-placed Guy Laliberte, whose came up with the idea for the tournament. In total the remaining eight players have won nineteen WSOP bracelet between them, although Phil Hellmuth’s presence accounts for twelve of those, and Bobby Baldwin four others, although the most recent was over thirty years ago. Brian Rast is the most recent winner, with both of his coming last year, while a player of Antonio Esfandiari’s quality is overdue another one, his sole triumph coming back in 2004.
The chip counts ahead of the last day are as follows:
1. Antonio Esfandiari – 39,925,000
2. Sam Trickett – 37,000,000
3. Guy Laliberté – 21,700,000
4. Brian Rast – 11,350,000
5. Phil Hellmuth – 10,925,000
6. David Einhorn – 8,375,000
7. Richard Yong – 7,475,000
8. Bobby Baldwin – 7,150,000
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