After what appeared to be a couple days out of the spotlight, Jason Mercier jumped right back in on Day 20 of the 2016 World Series of Poker.
Mercier took the chip lead in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Low Championship partway through the day, and although he fell out of the top spot, he still managed to make the final two tables of the event.
Plus, two new champions were crowned, one event got all the way to heads-up play before bagging up, two new events kicked off, and the Super Seniors event played down to 14 players remaining.
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Mercier Looms in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Low, Glantz Leads
Event #32: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Low Championship played into the money and down to its final 16 players on Monday.
Matt Glantz grabbed the overnight lead as the only player over the 1 million-chip mark, but after two bracelet wins and a second-place finish in the last three $10,000 championship events he played, Jason Mercier is once again in the thick of things here, looming in the top 10.
The leader board is also littered with WSOP heroes such as Daniel Alaei, Todd Brunson, Eli Elezra, Andrew Brown, Felipe Ramos, and Shaun Deeb. Alaei will be looking to defend his title in this event after winning it last year when he topped a field of 157 entries to win $391,097.
Play will resume at 2 p.m. local time on Thursday with plans to play down to a champion. A WSOP bracelet and a $407,194 first-place prize awaits the winner.
Johnnie Craig Wins Seniors Championship
Johnnie Craig won Event #27: $1000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship on Monday.
The 54-year-old Texan earned $538,204 in prize money outlasting a record-setting field of 4,499 players over four days.
A Military retiree and Afghan and Iraqi veteran, Craig said he felt throughout the tournament like something special was happening.
"I can’t even describe this feeling," he said. "It's amazing. I had the feeling I was going to win, and it worked out."
After 25 years in the military, Craig now owns a restaurant and catering business, playing poker recreationally.
Final Table Results
Grieme Leads Ziskin for Event #29 Bracelet
More than 200 hands of heads-up play has not been enough to determine a winner in Event #29: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em. Jens Grieme and Alexander Ziskin remain deadlocked with the latter at 5.69 million and the former 7.79 million, an astonishing turn of events considering he was down to one big blind heads up before storming back.
Both players are looking for their first bracelets.
Day 3 saw 31 players return for action, with the headliner being David Williams, who went bust in 13th. Jean Montury (13th), Matt Stout (14th), Justin Young (18th), and David Vamplew (20th) were some of the players joining Williams in payouts.
The heads-up battle resumes at noon, and the winner will take home $401,494, while the runner-up gets $248,067.
Ortynskiy Tops Lebron for PLO Gold
Viatcheslav Ortynskiy's game of choice is pot-limit Omaha, though he usually goes for the split-pot version of the game, which accounts for the majority of his deep WSOP runs. There's only a few PLO events on the schedule every year, so he has to make them count, and he did so in a major way Monday by winning Event #30: $3,000 Six-Max PLO.
Ortynskiy got $344,327 for beating the 580-player field.
"Amazing," he said of his feeling after the win. "It's really great."
It looked momentarily like Randy Ohel was going to add a second bracelet to his collection as he held a nice chip lead with four left. However, he lost a huge pot to Ortynskiy on a board of , with Ortynskiy holding top set and Ohel .
That ceded the lead to the 33-year-old Russian father of three, who began the day in the lead and then ended it that way for his first bracelet after beating Rafael Lebron of Washington heads up.
Just don't expect to see Ortynskiy in any hold'em events, as he'll stick to what he does best."I don't like playing hold'em," he said. "I just play Omaha."
Final Table Results
|1||Viatcheslav Ortynskiy||Krasnoyaskij, Russia||$344,327|
|2||Rafael Lebron||Puyallup, WA||$212,779|
|3||Randy Ohel||Las Vegas, NV||$141,187|
|4||Matthew Humphrey||Avon, IN||$95,623|
|5||George Wolff||Portland, OR||$66,134|
|6||Joshua Gibson||Fort Meyers, FL||$46,727|
Andlovec's Super Seniors Defense Ends Deep as 14 Bag
Jon Andlovec was the first-ever champion of the $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold'em, winning $262,220 after topping a field of 1,533. He was almost the second champion of the event as well but fell in 20th on Day 2 after a strong defense.
It was 2002 bracelet winner Fred Berger who bagged the top stack with 1,751,000, so he'll have the lead among the 14 remaining runners when play resumes on Tuesday. Berger has more than $600,000 in lifetime cashes at the WSOP and looks like a good bet to reach a sixth WSOP final table.
The money bubble was reached early in the day. Some of those cashing included Irish legend Donnacha O'Dea (29th), TJ Cloutier (38th), Paul Magriel (46th), Steve Brecher (138th), and David Sklansky (172th).
Play gets back underway at 11 a.m. Tuesday and a winner should be crowned.
Top 5 Stacks
The Summer Solstice Draws 1,840
Event #33: $1,500 Summer Solstice No-Limit Hold'em drew 1,840 entries, creating a $2.484 million prize pool that will pay 276 spots. A min-cash is worth $2,253 while a $409,171 first-place prize and a WSOP bracelet sits up top.
A total of 445 players survived the first day with Ronald Lee taking the overnight lead.
Newly minted 888poker ambassador Chris Moorman doubled up towards the end of the first day, but is still very short. He bagged 8,150 in chips and will be 430th of the 445 remaining players to start Day 2.
2009 November Niner Antoine Saout, Olivier Busquet, Kathy Liebert, and Matt Affleck are also among the notables still remaining.
Play will resume at 12 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
$1,500 2-7 Triple Draw Kicks Off
Event #34: $1,500 2-7 Triple Draw drew 358 entries on Monday, creating a $483,300 prize pool that will play 54 spots. A min-cash is worth $2,256 while a WSOP bracelet and a $117,947 first-place prize awaits the winner.
Just 65 players survived the first day with 2016 WSOP Player of the Year contender Bart Lybaert grabbing the overnight lead.
Recognizable names near the top of the counts include Matt Waxman, Terrence Chan, Vanessa Selbst, Greg Raymer, and Andy Bloch.
Play will resume at 2 p.m. local time with the money bubble in clear sight.
What's On Tap?
In addition to all the other action above, Event #35: $5,000 Six-Max No-Limit Hold'em begins at 11 a.m. local time, and Event #36: $2,500 Mixed Omaha/Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low starts at 3 p.m.
As the 2016 WSOP rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, brought to you by our sponsors, 888poker.