Every good story needs a villain. The World Series of Poker will have two of them on showcase at the Rio on Saturday.
Chino Rheem and Dutch Boyd are in contention for WSOP bracelets, both looking to put their shady pasts behind them in pursuit for glory. Rheem, a World Poker Tour champ and WSOP November Niner, will be eyeing his first career bracelet, while Boyd will attempt to win his third.
Plenty of other big names are in contention for bracelets on Saturday. Here's a look at the key stories to watch on Day 19 of the 2014 WSOP:
Fifteen players will return for the final day of action in Event #27: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. Chip leader Kristan Lord is best positioned to pocket the gold bracelet and $230,744 in prize money, but in order to achieve that goal he'll have to outlast accomplished pros Stewart Yancik, Jim Collopy, Chris George, Tommy Hang, Jon Turner and Dutch Boyd.
Few players have endured the highs and lows that Boyd has experienced in his poker career. In 2003 Boyd and his "crew" were taking over the poker world. But since then Boyd has been at the center of numerous controversies within the poker community; just last month Boyd lost a five-year legal battle against online poker forum TwoPlusTwo and was forced to fork over $25,000 in statutory damages and $33,985 in attorney fees.
“I guess there is one more person rooting for me to have a really successful series this summer,” Boyd told PokerNews after the judgment, admitting that he was dead broke at the time.
Success could be on the horizon for Boyd, who has long been a force to be reckoned with at the table. Boyd's first bracelet came in 2006 when he took down the $2,500 Short-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event for over $475,000. Four years later, Boyd captured his second bracelet in the $2,500 Six-Handed Limit Hold'em event where he pocketed just above $235,000.
Follow the PokerNews Live Reporting blog for up-to-the-minutes updates of Event #27: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. until a champion is crowned on Friday.
Play was halted with 10 players remaining in Event #28: $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship late Friday night. Although poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel was ousted in 11th place, the field is still loaded with big names.
WSOP bracelet winners Todd Brunson and Barny Boatman look to add more gold to their wrist, while Dan Shak and Chino Rheem will attempt to finish on top after many close calls at WSOP final tables. They will all be looking up at chip leader Matt O'Donell, making his second WSOP final table already this year after a fifth-place finish in Event #4: $1,000 No Limit Hold'em.
Rheem enters the final table second in chips behind O'Donnell. Like Boyd, Rheem's prosperous poker career has been overshadowed by scams and unpaid debts. But he's making strides to turn a corner with the help of the Choice Center Leadership University in Las Vegas — the same program endorsed by Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and many other poker players.
Sitting alongside Rheem at the final table will be British poker legend and all-around likeable guy Barny Boatman, aiming for his second bracelet in as many years. Boatman's victory in a $1,500 no-limit hold'em event last year was one of the most memorable moments of the series as a rowdy group of Brits cheered him to his first major title with chants of, "There's only one Barny Boatman!" We expect a similar atmosphere at the Rio on Saturday.
Also taking place on Saturday will be Day 2 of Event #29: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em and Event #30: $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low. Meanwhile, Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em and Event #32: $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em Championship will get underway.
Here's a look at the full schedule of Events on Day 19:
- 12:00 p.m. — Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em (Day 1 of 3)
- 1:00 p.m. — Event #29: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em (Day 2 of 3)
- 1:00 p.m. — Event #27: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. (Day 3 of 3)
- 2:00 p.m. — Event #30: $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low (Day 2 of 3)
- 2:00 p.m. — Event #28: $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship (Day 3 of 3)
- 4:00 p.m. — Event #32: $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em Championship (Day 1 of 3)
Stay tuned to the PokerNews Live Reporting blog for extensive coverage the World Series of Poker.