The 2015 World Series of Poker was buzzing on Saturday, which marked the 18th day of the 46th annual poker gathering. The day's highlights included three players capturing a coveted gold bracelet, Day 1b of the $1,500 Monster Stack drawing another massive crowd, and the start of the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship.
Here's a look at everything that went down at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Long-Time Pro Ghaneian Takes Down Event #24: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
Arash Ghaneian has been coming to the WSOP for 11 years as a professional player, and he now has his first bracelet after winning Event #24: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. for $239,750.
Just three players survived the first three days of the tournament, with Ghaneian coming into the final day on a stack of 2.27 million, just behind Robert Campbell's 2.67 million. David Levi came in with a short stack of 855,000 as limits began at 80,000/160,000. He was quickly eliminated in a Razz pot as he got in with a nine-five only to have Ghaneian draw a deuce on the river to complete a seven-six.
That left Ghaneian and Campbell heads up and they battled back and forth for a few hours despite the massive limits. In the end, Ghaneian was able to finish off his Australian foe in an Omaha hi-lo pot to get the last elimination in a 772-player field.
Ghaneian, who told assembled media after the win that his wife is expecting twins soon, has tournament cashes dating back to 1996. This was by far the biggest score of his tournament career.
Final Table Results
|1||Arash Ghaneian||Henderson, NV||$239,750|
|2||Robert Campbell||Berwick, Australia||$148,096|
|3||David Levi||Las Vegas||$100,676|
|4||Ronald Schiffman||Bensalem, PA||$70,067|
|5||Michael Trivett||Johnson City, TN||$49,775|
|6||Mike Watson||Toronto, Canada||$36,080|
|7||Jonathan Pineda||Miami, FL||$26,669|
|8||Jeffrey Mitseff||Portland, OR||$20,093|
Florida Football Coach Jeff Tomlinson Makes WSOP Fairy Tale Come True
In fairy tale fashion, a 51-year-old High School football coach from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida outlasted a field of 493 and a final table of extremely accomplished pros to win the 2015 WSOP Event #25: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed and $567,724 Saturday night.
"This is like a dream come true," said Jeff Tomlinson. "Thats what's so great about poker and the World Series: Anybody can win."
The final table included 2014 WSOP Bracelet winner Pierre Milan, WPT Season XIII Player of the Year Anthony Zinno, WPT Season VI Player of the Year Jonathan Little, three-time WSOP bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche, 2014 WPT Montreal Champion Jonathan Jaffe, five-time WSOP final table participant Dan O'Brien and online star Andrius Bielskis.
O'Brien was the first out, running into Little's and failing to improve. Soon after, Zinno's big slick was no match for Jaffe's pocket kings and he was out seventh. Jaffe's own big slick then out-flopped Little's pocket jacks to end his run sixth.
Tomlinson turned trip sixes to double through Jaffe and start to make the impossible seem possible. After Bielskis shoved into Nitsche's and didn't get there, the table was left four handed. Tomlinson busted Jaffe when his pocket kings held against Jaffe's all in preflop and Nitsche took third when he ran into Milan's , setting up a heads-up match between the improbable amateur and the French pro looking for his second WSOP bracelet.
Tomlinson doubled into the lead when his top pair held against Milan's flush draw, but he was soon ground down again. They took a dinner break close to even in chips and when they returned, Milan soon had Tomlinson on the ropes again. Tomlinson doubled back into the lead when he got it all in preflop with Big Slick against Milan's eights and spiked a miracle king on the river, but Milan inched back into the lead soon after.
Tomlinson would not be denied though, and doubled up into the lead again when his jacks held against Milan's Big Slick all in preflop. This time there would be no comeback for Milan, as he got down under the three-million chip mark and shoved smack into Tomlinson's . After the final board ran out the bracelet belonged to Tomlinson.
Final Table Results
|1||Jeffrey Tomlinson||Jupiter, FL||$567,724|
|2||Pierre Milan||Paris, France||$350,994|
|3||Dominik Nitsche||Minden, Germany||$220,657|
|4||Jonathan Jaffe||Longmeadow, MA||$158,373|
|6||Jonathan Little||Las Vegas, NV||$85,616|
|7||Anthony Zinno||Boston, MA||$64,484|
|8||Dan O'Brien||Las Vegas, NV||$49,331|
Family Man Aaron Wallace Wins Event #26: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha for $226,985
The third and final day of Event #26: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha, a tournament that attracted 1,293 players (the largest live non-hold'em event in history) and created a prize pool of $1,163,700, saw 16 players return to action with Indiana's Aaron Wallace and Germany's Marko Neumann leading the way. Fittingly, the title came down to the two of them.
In the end, Wallace, a 32-year-old father of two with one on the way, dispatched his German opponent to capture the $226,985 first-place prize and his first gold bracelet.
"It's surreal," Wallace told PokerNews after the win. "It's a dream come true, to have friend here. I missed my daughter's third birthday to come out here and play this. I told my wife I'm going to win it. I believed it, and it happened. I'm blessed beyond words for family, friends, and this. Grateful."
Wallace, who serves as director of sales for Traders Point Creamery – a company that sells 100% grass-fed organic dairy products – was actually in Los Angeles for work, but made sure to time his business trip to coincide with the PLO tournament. While he planned to play Event #26 regardless, he had the added bonus of winning a single-table satellite Friday night to qualify for the event at a discount.
Final Table Results
|1||Aaron Wallace||Carmel, IN||$226,985|
|2||Marko Neumann||Recklinghausen, Germany||$140,353|
|3||Noah Merritt||Vancouver, WA||$88,801|
|5||Daniel Zack||Princeton, NJ||$47,548|
|6||Chase Steely||Williamsburg, KY||$35,609|
|8||Curtis Krushelniski||Macklin, SK, Canada||$20,830|
|9||Thomas Kearney||Las Vegas, NV||$16,245|
Among those to fall short of the final table on Saturday were Henri Koivisto (15th - $10,275), Raul Paez (13th - $10,275), and Julian Galvan (10th - $12,835), just to name a few.
The final hand of the tournament came after a lengthy heads-up battle that saw both players hold the lead. In Level 29 (40,000/80,000), the duo saw a flop of and Wallace checked to Neumann, who bet 80,000. Wallace check-raised to 400,000, Neumann called, and the appeared on the turn. Wallace led out for pot, and then called when Neumann committed the last of his chips.
Wallace had flopped a full house, but Neumann was drawing live with his trip sevens. Unfortunately for him, the blanked on the river and he had to settle for runner-up and a $140,353 consolation prize.
Hastings Gets Second Bracelet and Big Prop Payout in Seven-Card Stud Championship
Brian Hastings came into the summer full of confidence and bet big on himself, accepting a heap of bracelet bets and performance bets, and buying himself in the $25K Fantasy Draft. That confidence paid off in a big way as he took down Event #27: $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship for $239,518 and his second gold bracelet.
Just 91 players entered the event, making it one of the smallest of the summer. Hastings had to contend with bracelet winners Max Pescatori, Dan Kelly, and Scott Clements, who finished runner-up. Noted mixed-game player Chris George also made the final table. Hastings' combination of skills and a sizable chip lead coming into Day 3 proved too much to overcome.
Hastings also had a well-documented series of prop bets including one that he would win a bracelet. Plenty of people – whom Hastings wouldn't out in his interview – are going to lose a pile of money after this result. Hastings wouldn't specify the amount but said he will be collecting “more than twice first place money.”
“I came into the summer with high expectations, obviously,” he said. “I worked on my game a lot in the last year, and I also have a great girlfriend who I started dating six months ago. I just thought I was in a really good place where I could come here every day and play my A-game.”
Final Table Results
|1||Brian Hastings||Hanover Township, PA||$239,518|
|2||Scott Clements||Mount Vernon, WA||$148,001|
|3||Dan Kelly||Potomac, MD||$92,691|
|4||Chris George||Croton On Hudson, NY||$67,114|
|5||Oxana Cummings||Weston, MA||$52,453|
|6||Harley Thrower||Cumming, GA||$41,829|
|7||Mikhail Semin||Moscow, Russia||$33,967|
|8||Max Pescatori||Milan, Italy||$28,031|
Maimone Leads Day 1b of Event #28: $1,500 Monster Stack
Day 1b of the popular Monster Stack tournament attracted 4,165 players, which means with 3,027 players from Day 1a, the field stands at 7,192 players (down a bit from last year's 7,734 players) with a $9,709,200 prize pool up for grabs. Of that, $1,286,942 is reserved for the eventual winner, while 720 players will get paid a minimum of $2,815.
After 11 levels of play, just 1,235 players survived the Day 1b fracas, meaning with Day 1a's 825 survivors, 2,060 will return to action on Day 2.
Leading the way will be Day 1b chip leader Nick Maimone, who amassed a stack of 240,200, which is quite a bit more than Day 1a chip leader Chi Truong, who bagged 193,400. Others who bagged big were Rick Basham (206,400) and Gary Bolden (203,000).
Among those returning for Day 2 are Joseph Cheong (184,400), Martin Jacobson (116,600), JC Tran (99,700), Annette Obrestad (94,700), Alexander Allison (93,400), Will Molson (86,900), and Vanessa Selbst (81,000).
Top 10 Day 2 Chip Counts
Of course not everyone was so lucky. Among the Day 1b fallen were Paul Darden, Andre Akkari, Max Silver, Eric Baldwin, Billy Pappas, Jackie Glazier, Michael Mizrachi, Jim McManus and James Bernard.
Day 2 will kick off at 11 a.m. on Sunday as the remaining players look to play 10 more levels.
Schulman Leads 32 Day 1 Survivors from Event #29: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Championship
Event #29: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship attracted 77 players – one of the smallest fields in the modern WSOP era – and created a prize pool of $723,800. That will be distributed to the top 14 players with the eventual winner taking home $224,383.
The man best positioned to make a run at the top prize is Nick Schulman, who bagged 229,000. The two-time bracelet winner is looking to capture the title for the third time having previously won the same event in both 2009 and 2012.
Top 10 Day 1 Chip Counts
|8||Jorryt van Hoof||99,200|
Among those to fall on Day 1 were Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Justin Bonomo, Mohsin Charania, and Antonio Esfandiari.
Day 2 will kick off at 2 p.m. local time on Sunday as the remaining players look to play 10 more levels.