2014 WSOP Event Recaps 1-15
June 10, 2014
By Jeremy Olson
There's one reason why tens of thousands of players descend on Las Vegas every year for the World Series of Poker - to win lots of cash! So it was quite symbolic when the 2014 WSOP was kicked off with a $10,000 "Cash Cannon." Before the start of Event #1, money rained down from the sky as players rushed to collect as many $1 bills as they could. And while you didn't see any stars like Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey on their hands and knees digging for money, the Cash Cannon was a big hit among amateurs.
Speaking of Ivey and Negreanu, this famous duo has stolen some headlines by making a joint bracelet bet. The poker pros took even-money bets on at least one of them being able to win a gold bracelet at the 2014 WSOP. As you'll see later, Negreanu had a VERY good chance to win this prop bet for himself and Ivey.
Other headlines throughout the first portion of the 2014 WSOP include a record-breaking "Millionaire Maker" event, Ted Forrest denying Phil Hellmuth, and Vanessa Selbst furthering her place in history. That said, let's discuss all of these stories and more while recapping events 1-15 of the 2014 WSOP.
Event #1: $500 Casino Employees Hold'em - Former chef-turned-poker dealer Roland Reparjo cooked an 876-player field to win the Casino Employees tournament and $82,835. He spent three decades working as a chef, but changed to playing and dealing poker games because he enjoys the players so much. Now he can feel more validated with his career choice after winning almost $83k and a gold bracelet.
Event #2: $25,000 Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold'em - Most people call Vanessa Selbst the best female player in poker. And she did nothing to hurt this billing after winning the $25k Mixed-Max tournament along with $871,148. Selbst is now the only women in history to win three open WSOP tourneys, and she tied Barbara Enright for the most gold bracelets by a women with three. The 29-year-old Yale Law School graduate can also boast of having over $10.5 million in live tournament winnings.
Event #3: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha - On a relatively low-key final table, Steve Billirakis was the headliner since he was chasing this third bracelet. However, Billirakis busted out in fourth ($57,785), leaving the door open for Brandon Shack-Harris to top 1,128 players and collect the $205,634 first-place payout. Shack-Harris is a cash game regular at the Horseshoe Hammond (IN), but isn't very well known on the world poker stage.
Event #4: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em - Kyle Cartwright has done very well in WSOP Circuit tournaments, winning five bracelets playing these less-heralded events. But his poker fame took an even bigger step up after he beat out 2,223 players to win Event #4 and $360,278. Former chess hustler and WSOP November Niner Ylon Schwartz also fared well in this tournament, finishing third and collecting $157,926.
Event #5: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball - The $10k Triple Draw Lowball event brought out a lot of star players, which the final table accurately reflected. Justin Bonomo (2nd, $219,565), Eli Elezra (3rd, $144,056), Nick Schulman (4th, $99,015) and Phil Galfond (6th, $51,538) all made strong runs at the title. But it was Tuan Le who eventually topped this elite field and won $355,324.
Event #6: $1,500 Hold'em Shootout - Despite making several WSOP final tables and winning an Ante Up for Africa event, Alex 'Diesel' Bolotin had yet to become a big poker name. But this is set to change now after he won the $1.5k Shootout in addition to $259,211. It's also worth mentioning that Bolotin tops the Belarusian all-time poker winnings list with $2,471,269.
Event #7: $1,500 Seven Card Razz - There were no shortage of stories on this event since Phil Hellmuth and Ted Forrest met heads-up to decide the winner. Hellmuth was searching for a record-extending 14th gold bracelet while Forrest was hoping for his sixth bracelet, and first in a decade. Despite holding a chip lead, Hellmuth had to settle for his ninth second-place WSOP finish and $74,848. Meanwhile, Forrest celebrated his sixth WSOP victory and the $121,196 top payout.
Event #8: $1,500 "Millionaire Maker" NL Hold'em - The 2014 Millionaire Maker attracted a giant 7,977-player field making it the second-largest WSOP event in history behind the 2006 Main Event. In what was something of a crapshoot with players falling by the wayside left and right, Jonathan Dimmig emerged victorious with a $1,319,587 prize. Dimmig is an amateur hockey player and enthusiast who hails from Buffalo.
Event #9: $1,000 NL Hold'em - Jeffrey Smith, a California web developer, beat out 1,939 opponents to win Event #9 and $323,125. Smith's toughest challenge was no doubt his heads-up opponent, Danny Nguyen ($199,829), with the two players going back and forth for several hours before a champion emerged.
Event #10: $10,000 Limit Omaha Hi-Low - Former "Magic: The Gathering" standout Brock Parker continued his illustrious poker career by winning his third gold bracelet and $443,407. Parker, who beat Richard Ashby ($274,019) heads-up to secure the victory, now has over $3.2 million in career tourney winnings.
Event #11: $1,500 6-Handed NL Hold'em - Mentioned as the runner-up in our Event #5 recap, Justin Bonomo has come close to winning a gold bracelet plenty of times in the past. But finally, he made the breakthrough by taking down this shorthanded Hold'em tournament along with a $449,980 payout. Bonomo now furthers his legend in the poker world and runs his tourney earnings up to almost $8 million.
Event #12: $1,500 PL Omaha - Having never cashed in a WSOP event, Gregory Kolo wasn't exactly a household name in Vegas. However, he made his first cash a good one by running through a 557-player field and on to the $169,225 first-place payout. Interestingly enough, it only took Kolo two hours to finish off the 9-player final table.
Event #13: $10,000 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball - Negreanu was hoping to win what probably amounts to millions for he and Ivey in bracelets bets. After all, he navigated through the 87-player field in this tournament and met Paul Volpe heads-up. But the only problem was that Volpe was armed with a 2:1 chip advantage and plenty of poker skills himself. Volpe went on to win his first bracelet and $253,524 while Negreanu settled for second and $156,674.
Event #14: $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi-Low - Most people in the Rio were focused on Calen McNeil during Event #14. After all, the wild Canadian won the $1.5k Limit Omaha Hi-Low tournament last year and was trying to pull off the improbable feat of winning back-to-back titles. But after battling through the 1,036-player starting field, he fell just short in fourth place ($79,608). The lesser-known Nicholas Kost went on to win and earn a $283,275 top payout.
Event #15: $3,000 6-Handed NL Hold'em - Belgian poker pro David Kitai became just the third non-American poker player to win three WSOP bracelets after taking down Event #15. He topped 507 opponents to earn a $508,640 prize and enter elite company. It's worth adding that Kitai is just one of five players who've won poker's Triple Crown, which consists of winning an EPT, WPT and WSOP title.
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