The 2019 World Series of Poker has seen Day 1 of Event #15: $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship kick off with a total of 112 entries, and after an initial play-in round, two further heads-up matches in the official bracket of the last 64 were completed to reduce the field to the last 16 hopefuls.
Among them is the Heads-Up legend John Smith, as well as the bracelet winners Ben Yu, Brian Rast, 2015 champion Keith Lehr, Kristen Bicknell, and Cord Garcia. After a bye in the play-in round, Phil Hellmuth defeated 2018 runner up Jason Mcconnon only to bow out in cruel fashion in a lengthy battle with Jake Schindler in the final round of the night.
Defending champion Justin Bonomo also fell short in his bid to win the event for the second year running after he was eliminated by Scott Baumstein.
All players that advanced to the second day will have one further duel to win in order to earn a share of the $572,800 prize pool and get one step closer to the elusive gold bracelet. The round of the last 16 is scheduled to kick off at noon local time at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.
Round of 16 Bracket
Notable match-ups in the play-in round included Erik Seidel against Boris Kolev, Joe Cada against Doug Polk, Rainer Kempe versus Ben Yu, Chance Kornuth against Thomas Boivin and Alex Foxen facing Dario Sammartino. Kolev also beat Layne Flack, but could not get past Kristen Bicknell, while Boivin came up short against Ole Schemion and Sammartino was eliminated in the next match by Ricky Guan.
Other notables that failed to reach the official bracket were Joe McKeehen, 2017 champion Adrian Mateos, Dominik Nitsche, Julien Martini, Cary Katz, and David Peters,
Cord Garcia first knocked out Anton Morgenstern and also sent Nick Schulman to the rail in order to make it to the last 16. Ricky Guan had tricky matchups against Lucas Reeves, Dario Sammartino, and Manig Loeser, which he all beat to also advance to the second day.
Patrick Leonard defeated Doug Polk, however, Austrian High Roller regular Matthias Eibinger would be his nemesis in the next round. In a standard flip, Leonard got it in with nines against ace-ten and Eibinger spiked a ten each on the flop, turn and river to make quads.
Other epic run outs in the early morning hours would be preserved for the final two matches to finish. John Smith had a tough match against Mark Burford and needed to get lucky when he was all in with jack-ten against king-jack suited, as Burford had top pair, the same gutshot and a flush draw on top. Smith got there with a blank ten on the river to make trips and then won the duel with quads against a flush.
Last but not least, the stage was set for the duel between Phil Hellmuth and Jake Schindler. Both had endured long matches in the previous round and were the last to finish. Hellmuth first folded against an overbet by Schindler and got it in with aces against jack-eight for an open-ended straight draw on the flop. The river came a queen to improve Schindler to a straight and Hellmuth became the last casualty of the day.
Once all the paperwork was done, Schindler left the tournament area with a big smile on the face and will be back at noon Thursday when the sweet sixteen play their money bubble matches. Tune back into PokerNews then to find out who makes it through to the next stage.