Day 6 of the 2015 World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino featured something for almost every player or poker fan, as five different tournaments were in action on the day, showcasing three different forms of poker plus three very different hold'em variants. The Colossus was whittled down, the first $10,000 buy-in event of the series reached a final table, and razz and pot-limit hold'em tournaments kicked off.
But first, a brand new WSOP tournament spawned a new champion.
John Reading Wins First Hyper Hold'em Event
Longer structures and increased play have been all the rage at this summer's WSOP. Somewhere, Allen Kessler is smiling, but plenty of players still enjoy getting the action fast and furious right away. Turbo tournaments have long been a staple of the game, and the WSOP staff aimed to please players who enjoy a faster structure with Event #6: $1,000 Hyper Hold'em, featuring 20-minute blind levels.
The final table was determined in just 12 hours on Day 1, and Day 2 commenced at 1 p.m. on Monday. True to form, things took just 48 hands to wrap up, hyper hold'em indeed. When the dust had settled, Minnesota pro John Reading emerged as the speed demon, claiming $252,068 and his first gold WSOP bracelet.
Final Table Results
Reading has been on quite a tear of late, notching three Mid-States Poker Tour final tables in late 2014 and early 2015, with the best score being a third-place finish at Canterbury Park for $37,509. He continued to experience success as he traveled to the WSOP Circuit in Council Bluffs, where he cashed three times and earned his first ring and $10,531 in an Omaha hi-low event.
Reading credited his experience playing turbos online with preparing him to deal with the fast format. He topped a final table featuring Harrison Beach (fourth), Matt Woodward (fifth), and Ryan Julius (eighth).
Colossus Field Trimmed to 39
The once enormous field of Event #5: The Colossus $565 No-Limit Hold'em has been cut to 39 after four starting flights and two subsequent full days of play.
More than 22,000 have been eliminated, but a surprisingly robust number of recognizable names remain in the field. Maurice Hawkins did guarantee that a professional would be taking this one down, and he may be proven right in short order.
Aditya Prasetyo (6.88 million), Cord Garcia (4.05 million), Kenny Hallaert (2.99 million), Caufman Talley (2.565 million), Ryan LaPlante (2.555 million), Mike Leah (2.225 million), Adam Lamphere (2.175 million), Anthony Spinella (2.02 million), and Joshua "JJProdigy" Field (1.82 million) all loom as threats, but it's old school grinder Ray Henson (7.42 million) who holds the inside track to becoming the first man to conquer a live field of this size.
Henson has more than $1.7 million in earnings, including nearly $700,000 at the WSOP without a win. He does, however, own four WSOP Circuit rings, giving him a wealth of experience over the types of recreational players who filled the ranks of the Colossus. Henson's bid for the controversial first-place prize of $638,880 resumes at 2 a.m.
Tuan Le Gunning for Two Straight
The draw games typically produce some of the more seasoned fields in the WSOP, and Event #7: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Championship has been no different. On Monday's Day 2, 56 players took their seats to begin the day, and it was Tuan Le emerging as the top dog after 10 levels of play.
Le is attempting to pull off the nearly impossible feat of winning the same WSOP event two years running — he took down a 120-player field, ultimately beating Justin Bonomo heads up last year to bank $355,324. The total entrants is down slightly this year, but not alarmingly so, and even with these small draw fields, winning two $10,000 events in a row is quite the accomplishment considering how loaded this tournament was.
Only 12 places paid out, with Paul Volpe (12th), Mark Gregorich (11th), Viacheslav Zhukov (10th), Greg Mueller (ninth), and Bruno Fitoussi (eighth) making the cut but missing the final table.
Le, meanwhile, bagged 1.1 million, a monster lead over second-place Calvin Anderson (552,000). Rounding out the final tablists are Maximilian Casal (431,000), Ismael Bojang (404,000), Phil Galfond (355,000), start of day leader Rep Porter (303,000), and James Obst (207,000). They'll be coming back to play for a $322,756 first-place prize, beginning with blinds of 6,000/12,000.
Pot-Limit Hold'em Begins
For those who rue the all-in preflop shoves so much more common in the modern game than back in the day, pot-limit hold'em brings a happy medium of big bets with postflop play. Day 1 of Event #8: $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em kicked off on Monday at noon, drawing 639 entrants to create a prize pool of $862,650.
Michael Rocco finished with the top stack among 108 survivors with 123,300. Rocco has earned nearly $700,000 playing live tournaments to date but is still seeking his first major win. Some of the players standing in his way include Antonio Esfandiari (94,600), Oleksii Khoroshenin (80,700), Jonathan Duhamel (78,900), Ashton Griffin (66,100), Jesse Sylvia (59,300), Tom Marchese (50,100), Joe Cada (48,200), and Andrey Zaichenko (46,500).
Eliminated players included Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Ryan Riess, David "Doc" Sands, Joseph Cheong, and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow.
Play resumes at 1 p.m. local time with blinds of 600/1,200.
Razz Kicks Off
With the Colossus winding as nearly everyone has been eliminated, one might expect the massive influx of players to have mostly left the Las Vegas area. If the numbers for Event #9: $1,500 Razz are any judge, perhaps the eliminated Colossus runners are all secretly razz junkies. The tournament drew a 462-player field, blowing away last year's number of 352 runners, and Alexander Kuzmin had the most successful opening round as he finished with 56,500.
Jason Schwartz (55,400), Andre Akkari (52,200), David "ODB" Baker (52,000), and Eddie Blumenthal (51,000) round out the top five. Other players among the 169 survivors included PokerNews' own Mickey Doft (41,000), Tom Koral (37,800), Mark Herm (33,000), James Woods (32,800), John Hennigan (30,100), Jimmy Fricke (25,000), Bryan Campanello (19,300), and Daniel Negreanu (12,600).
Woods, a famed Hollywood actor, has gotten off to a hot start in the 2015 WSOP and seeks his third cash and second final table.
Negreanu, meanwhile, just recently arrived at the WSOP and is looking to hit his stride with an early cash despite nursing one of the shorter stacks. Negreanu was able to knock out a short-stacked David Bach late. He'll seek to get things trending in the right direction when play resumes at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
In honor of Doft doing so well on Day 1, we'll leave you with a the famous "Mickey Doft vs. The Stack" video from the 2012 WSOP: