We can frame poker’s pride and hang it on the wall.
The bitch is back.
The propeller is whirring noisily.
It’s time to take off.
The 49th Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) has been a spectacular success. Hoards of people have managed to evade sexist mobile phone sellers on their way to millions of dollars in prize money, and more bad beats than The Handmaids Tale.
And it’s not ended yet.
For the first time in history, the organisers moved the $10,000 WSOP Main Event forward. It’s a sound move that gives those who fall out of that competition a reason to live and provides the $1m Big One for One Drop with the Rolling Stones like presence it deserves.
And it was a humdinger.
7,874 entrants created a prize pool of $74,015,600, making it the second-largest WSOP Main Event in history behind the incredible Internet-driven Jamie Gold win in 2006.
The winner will pick up $8.8m.
Each final table member earns $1m minimum.
But we have a long way to go before we can talk about a winner.
Until then, I want to get you up to speed on bracelet wins for three men who each have a role to play in our high stakes economy.
We will begin with a legend of the online high stakes world, and a man often touted as the next Daniel Negreanu, when it comes to the perfect ambassador for poker.
Phil Galfond Wins Event #60: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Championship.
Phil Galfond won his third career bracelet after beating 237 players in a format of poker he has never played online, and has only played during mixed game action in the live realm.
Speaking to PokerNews after his win, Galfond said, “I was figuring it out as I went.”
A man who has earned close to $11m playing cards at the highest stakes in the business is apt to do that.
Galfond rose to prominence in the game as one of the most fearsome competitors in online cash games earning a $6.6m profit playing cash games under the handle OMGClayAiken on Full Tilt. He is also up $1.4m profit competing as MrSweets28 on PokerStars.
Not only is Galfond one of the best high stakes online poker players in the world, but he is also one of the most excellent coaches. After building an impressive reputation on BlueFirePoker, Galfond created RunItOnce (RIO), an online training site providing top quality coaching for the best players in the world. He is also in the midst of creating RIO Poker, an online poker room, due for release this summer.
You won’t see Galfond playing many live tournaments, preferring to compete in the more lucrative cash games. He has only cashed in three events that carry a buy-in of $25k+ or more.
Back in 2008, he finished 70/545 in the $25,500 buy-in World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship banking $39,570. In 2011, he got his money back in the $25,000 buy-in NBC National Heads-Up Championship with a min-cash. In 2013, he finished runner-up to Steve Sung in the $25,000 High Roller at the WSOP for $744,841, in what remains his most significant live score to date.
He has won three career titles, and all of them ended up with a bracelet. In 2008, he defeated 152 entrants to win the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha for $817,781. Galfond’s second piece of gold came in 2015 when he beat 77 entrants in the $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball No-Limit Championship for $224,383.
He has won $2.9m playing live.
Final Table Results
- Phil Galfond – $567,788
- Michael McKenna – $350,922
- Ali Abduljabbar – $240,497
- Chad Power – $168,275
- Chris Lee – $120,263
- Marco Johnson – $87,830
- David “ODB” Baker – $65,579
- Chase Steely – $50,086
Chance Kornuth Wins Event #63: $3,200 WSOP.com Online No-Limit Hold’em High Roller.
Things will get very interesting indeed when more states allow fully regulated and licensed online poker. This year, the WSOP hosted a record four online events, with the High Roller buy-in set at $3,200.
How long before that’s $10,000?
It will come.
In the meantime, a legitimate High Roller won the second iteration of the $3,200 Online High Roller.
Chance Kornuth defeated a 480 entrants (356 unique and 124 rebuys) field, 56 more entrants than this time last year when the former November Niner Thomas Cannuli took the title.
It was Kornuth’s sixth cash of the series, and to date, he has cashed in six events carrying a $25k+ buy-in
In 2016, he defeated 122 entrants to take the AUD 790,560 (USD 547,874) first prize by winning the AUD 25,000 (USD 19,000) Challenge at the Aussie Millions.
The following month, Kornuth finished runner-up to Mustapha Kanit in the 58 entrant field €25,750 European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event in Dublin earning €360,150.
In July of that year, he finished eighth in a 63 entrant $25,000 buy-in ARIA High Roller for $60,480. In October 2016, he won a 19-entrant $25,000 High Roller at the World Poker Tour (WPT) best bet Bounty Scramble for $186,672.
There was only one score in 2017 as Kornuth finished seventh in a 117 entrant $25,500 High Roller at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) for $93,600.
His latest HR score came in the CAD 25,500 (USD 19,000) buy-in High Roller at the partypoker MILLIONS North America Festival earning CAD 125,000 (USD 97,863).
Kornuth’s lifetime earnings exceed $5.9m.
His most significant score to date is $641,140 for finishing third in the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event.
He has won two WSOP bracelets, his first coming in 2010 when he beat 460 entrants to take down a $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) event for $508,090.
Final Table Results
- Chance ‘BingShui’ Kornuth – $341,598
- David ‘bewater’ Goodman – $212,021
- Timothy ‘poker.’ Nuter – $144,168
- Noah ‘ ThePunter’ Bronstein – $99,809
- Frank ‘flcrivello’ Crivello – $70,625
- Taylor ‘ReadyGambo’ Black – $50,926
- Justin ‘kingfortune’ Liberto – $37,355
- Jonas ‘LobyPewis’ Mackoff – $28,016
- Pete ‘petechen’ Chen – $21,596
Jean-Robert Bellande Wins Event #58: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed
Jean-Robert Bellande is an integral part of the High Stakes live cash game scene. I like to think of him as a ‘gateway drug’ for the biggest games in the world – a bridge from mid to high stakes cash game action.
Talking to him in Montenegro, during the Triton Poker Festival, where he was organising and competing in high stakes live cash games, Bellande spoke humbly of his abilities, particularly in No-Limit Hold’em.
Bellande is a mixed game man.
So it was a shock to him and me both when he beat 621 players in a highly competitive $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em to win the first bracelet of his career, all the while sipping on a $400 bottle of plonk.
It was a sweet moment for one of the most loved men in the game. In 2008, he finished runner-up to Matt Graham in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout for $173,564. In June 2015, he finished runner-up to Mike Gorodinsky in the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship for $784,828, his most significant score to date.
He finished 12/87 in this year’s $50k for $88,627.
Final Table Results
- Jean-Robert Bellande – $616,302
- Dean Lyall – $380,595
- Andrew Graham – $254,684
- Tan Nguyen – $173,598
- Eric Blair – $120,669
- Kacper Pyzara – $85,570
The next big WSOP High Roller is the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em schedule for July 13th. The WSOP experience ends with the $1m buy-in Big One for One Drop on July 15th.