The 2014 World Series of Poker got underway Tuesday with the start of the first two of 65 bracelet events, Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em and Event #2: $25,000 Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold’em. The Casino Employees event will be playing down to a winner tonight, with that person claiming the first gold bracelet of 2014. Meanwhile Vanessa Selbst leads a packed field returning for the second day of the four-day Mixed-Max event.
A big field of 876 players was whittled all of the way down to 51 to conclude play last night in Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em, with California-based poker dealer Corey Emery (pictured) returning as the chip leader to start today’s second and final day of play after building a stack of 164,900.
Emery will have to contend with Jay Graunstadt, a poker host at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, who returns to a second-best stack of 125,000, with Aaron Henderson, Peter Alba, and David Luttbeg rounding out the top five. PokerNews’ own Mo Nuwwarah also returns to just below average chips to start Day 2 and with hopes of following his colleague Chad Holloway’s footsteps to the final table and victory.
The structure moves quickly in Event #1, which means there should be lots of action early and often today as they find a final table and eventually a champion from the last 51. The day begins at 1 p.m. Pacific time, and you can follow all of the action right down to the final card on our live reporting blog.
All the stars came out for the big buy-in $25,000 Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold’em event yesterday — or most of them, anyway — with two-time WSOP bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst doing what she often does by accumulating a big stack early to carry the chip lead into today’s second day of play, having ended last night with 562,800.
The “mixed-max” format dictates that after having played nine-handed yesterday, the tourney switches to six-handed today, then will go to four-handed on Thursday when they’ll play down to four players. Friday’s last day, then, will pit those four in a heads-up tourney format to decide a winner.
As mentioned, many top pros got their 2014 WSOPs started early in this one, including several drafted in the various WSOP Fantasy leagues. Right on Selbst’s heels in the counts are a couple of multiple-bracelet winners in Brian Rast (winner of two) Michael Mizrachi (who has three), with Dan Cates, Ravi Raghavan, John Juanda, Stephen Chidwick, and a host of other top tourney performers returning to big stacks as well.
Table 354 might be one to watch early on today featuring Selbst, Tony Gregg, Mark Radoja, Phil Hellmuth, Ashton Griffin, and Al Decarolis, with Decarolis having led much of the day yesterday and still sporting a big stack.
Practically every table remains stacked, however, as a high percentage of the 60 survivors from the starting field of 131 come into the event with lots of previous tourney success. Look for Phil Ivey, Jason Mercier, and Daniel Negreanu and others turning up amid the updates starting at 2 p.m. Pacific time today over on our live reporting blog.
Finally, a third event gets added to the mix today with Event #3: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha getting a head start on the others with a 12 noon scheduled start time. This is a new event for the WSOP, and the combination of it being the first low buy-in open event, the action-satisfying PLO game, and the increasing urge for players to get their WSOPs underway likely to add up to a large turnout.
Follow all of the action from the 2014 WSOP on our Live Reporting Pages. And stay tuned throughout the summer for plenty more from our What To Watch For series.