Jun 16, 2016
2016 WSOP Recaps for Events 1-10
By RTR Dennis
The 2016 WSOP is underway, and we've seen some great stories already. A struggling poker pro winning the Colossus II, Robert Mizrachi winning another bracelet, and Kyle Julius earning his first bracelet are just a few of the big stories so far. That said, let's look at highlights from the first 10 events of the 2016 WSOP.
Event #1: Sands Wins $565 Casino Employees NLHE
As usual, the WSOP kicked off with the $565 Casino Employees tournament. 731 players entered this event, which is far more than most years. Christopher Sand, a 45-year-old sportsbook writer and cashier at Caesars Palace, topped the field to earn $75,157.
Event #2: Uber Driver Ben Keeline Wins Colossus II and $1m
There were multiple big stories in this event, beginning with the Colossus II's turnout. A staggering 21,613 players entered in pursuit of the $1 million top payout. Uber driver and struggling poker pro Ben Keeline was the lucky recipient of this seven-figure prize. Just months ago, Keeline began struggling financially and even had to borrow money from his father to pay bills. But Keeline got a miracle when he needed it the most by battling through tens of thousands of players.
Event #3: Robert Mizrachi Earns Third Bracelet in $10k Seven Card Stud Championship
Robert Mizrachi has been on fire in recent years, winning gold bracelets in both the 2014 and '15 WSOPs. It doesn't look like he's cooled off either since he beat out an 87-player field in this tournament to win $242,662. Mizrachi now joins his brother, Michael, as one of only 12 players to win gold bracelets in three straight years. He also pushes his career winnings over $5.9 million.
Event #4: Kyle Julius Wins First $1k Top Up Turbo NLHE
This was a tournament of firsts, with this being the inaugural Top Up Turbo event, and long-time online/live pro Kyle Julius winning his first bracelet. As for the Top Up event, players could double their chip stack through online/live satellites, or by paying an extra $1k fee. 667 players entered this event, and Julius earned the largest payout at $142,972. The Illinois native had never won a live tournament before, but he did earn $1.5 million for taking second in the 2012 PCA Main Event.
Event #5: Former Dealer Wins $1.5k Dealer's Choice
Dealer's Choice tourneys are difficult because you need a mastery of various poker games to succeed. And who better to have this mastery than Lawrence Burg, a former Bellagio poker-dealer-turned pro. He'd dealt a lot of different poker variations in his career, which helped him survive this 389-player field and win the $125,466 top payout. “I called Baducy and Badugi quite a lot (during the tourney), and also Big O,” said Berg. “I didn’t really like Limit Hold’em or No-Limit Hold’em.”
Event #6: Sweden's Eichhardt Takes Down $1.5k NLHE
In 1992, Peter Eichhardt made his first trip to Las Vegas to play in the WSOP. Since then, he's been hooked on poker, making over 40 trips to Vegas, which is a long way from his native country Sweden. It looks like all of these trips have paid off since he topped a 2,016-player field in this NLHE tournament to win $438,417. In addition to playing poker, the 50-year-old is also a crime fiction writer. He draws on his experiences working as a casino manager in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he encountered some nefarious individuals.
Event #7: Ryan D’Angelo Wins 2-7 Draw Lowball
With over a dozen WSOP cashes, Ryan D’Angelo has been hunting for a WSOP gold bracelet for a long time. And he finally got it in this 2-7 Draw Lowball tournament after topping 278 opponents. D’Angelo’s prize is $92,338, while fellow pro John Monnette settled for the $57,061 runner-up payout.
Event #8: Ian Johns Grabs Victory in $1.5k H.O.R.S.E. Tourney
A decade ago, Ian Johns earned his first WSOP bracelet by winning a $3k Limit Hold’em event ($291,755). It took a while, but Johns has added a second-career bracelet by taking down this $1.5k H.O.R.S.E. tourney. Johns battled through a 778-player field to win this event along with $212,604. But it almost didn’t look like he’d even cash after finishing the first day in last place. “I bagged up barely enough to post a blind, 2000 in chips,” said Johns. “Then I came back on the second day and tripled up in Stud because the antes were enough to amount to a full double up, and in the next hour I built my stack up to 50,000.”
Event #9: Unknown Player Upsets $10k Heads-Up Hold’em Field
This $10,000 buy-in Heads-Up Hold’em event is supposed to be won by a skilled pro who has dedicated years to the craft. But don’t tell that to actuary Alan Percal, who topped an elite 153-player field to win this tourney along with $320,574. The 23-year-old admitted that this is only the second time he’s ever played a live heads-up tournament. Furthermore, he claims to have gone “zero for 20” in last year’s WSOP. But none of this mattered as Percal beat noted pros like Brian Rast and Jeff Gross en route to the title.
Event #10: Mike Cordell Wins $1.5k 6-Handed NLHE
WSOP victories are always special, but this one has extra meaning to Mike Cordell, who topped a 1,477-player field to win Event #10 along with $346,088. The Arkansas native lost his mother and wanted to have his best WSOP to honor her. And Cordell did just this with his first-ever gold bracelet in 30+ tries.