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Last Few Bracelets Decided As Main Event Kicks Off

The final bracelets of this year’s World Series of Poker prior to the start of the Main Event have been decided, with Nick Schulman winning the $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball (No Limit) tournament.  The field was packed with big names from the start and the final table featured two former winners of the event, in Schulman, back in 2009, and John Juanda, who picked it up last year.

Schulman took a healthy chip advantage to the final table, and added to it when he took a huge pot of Juanda with nine-six low to Juanda’s nine-seven.  Juanda was all-in next hand and eliminated in sixth.  Schulman also accounted for Benjamin Parker before a huge hand against George Danzer brought about the heads up.  Both stood pat on their hands, but Schulman held ten-eight to Danzer’s ten-nine.  Facing Mike Wattel, Schulman had a huge chip advantage and Wattel was all-in within ten minutes.  Schulman drew a seven to make himself nine-seven low, while Wattel, also drawing one, had quite a few cards to beat him.  In the event a king appeared and Schulman took down the title.

The payouts from the final table were as follows:

  1. Nick Schulman – $294,321
  2. Mike Wattell – $181,886
  3. George Danzer – $115,295
  4. Benjamin Parker – $78,088
  5. Ashton Griffin – $55,482
  6. John Juanda – $41,270
  7. Bob Bright – $32,080

Dominik Nitsche won the $1,000 NL Hold’em title a day ahead of schedule, despite the mammoth field of 4,620 players.  The day began with fifty-one players left, but was down to sixteen within four hours.  Nitsche had being building his chip stack all day, and it was already huge when the final table was reached, but once there he proceeded to steamroller the opposition into submission; by the time three-handed play was reached he was holding seventy percent of the chips.  The heads-up saw him facing Jonathan Hilton, who was never able to pick up momentum and spent most of it with only a stack so small he could only push and hope.  Hilton survived a few all-in situations before he called with A8o against Nitsche’s open push with K5s.  The flop brought 3JQ, before a ten on the turn.  This gave Nitsche an open-ended straight draw to add to his other outs, and the nine on the river sealed his first winner’s bracelet.

The final table payouts in this one looked like this:

  1. Dominik Nitsche $654,797
  2. Jonathan Hilton $405,156
  3. Alex Cordero $291,725
  4. Sebastien Comel $215,592
  5. Randolph Lanosga $160,665
  6. Franklin Johnson $120,748
  7. Martin Vallo $91,476
  8. Jonathan Miller $69,896
  9. Daniel Eichhorn $53,846

The first of the three opening days at the $10,000 Main Event saw 1,066 entrants, with William John finishing the day as chip leader; his total of 266,700 more than a hundred thousand better that of second-placed Gerardo Lubas.

Plenty of notable players decided to make their entrance on Saturday, but for many it didn’t work out too well.  Phil Hellmuth opted to play having originally registered for the final opening day, but he hit the rail in the last level of blinds.  He was in good company, as Day 1A also saw the departures of Greg Mueller, Allen Bari, Kathy Liebert, Erich Froehlich, Frank Kassala and Soi Nguyen.  It was a tough day for former event winners as well; in additional to Hellmuth, Jim Bechtel and Joe Hachem also departed.

Last year’s winner Pius Heinz looked like joining them; short-stacked for much of the day, he managed a late double-through and closed on a respectable stack of 39,275.  Among those also through to the second day, Cary Katz, Eric Baldwin, Faraz Jaka and Yann Dion all enjoyed excellent days, closing the right side of a hundred thousand chips.  They will be joined by Filippo Candio, JJ Liu, Jon Spinks, Isaac Haxton, Andy Black, Chris Bjorin, Toby Lewis, Eugene Du Plessis, John Eames, Donnacha O’Dea and David Williams, among many others.

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