Day 26 of the 2015 World Series of Poker proved to be an exciting one. Poker legend Doyle Brunson made his summer debut, but it wasn't for the start of the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship. In addition, Brazilian Thiago "XTheDecanoX" Nishijima made his country proud by capturing gold, while Max Pescatori managed to win his second bracelet of the summer.
Here's everything you need to know from Sunday's action.
Thiago Nishijima Claims One for Brazil
Five weary players returned for Day 4 of Event #38: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em, and Thiago Nishijima emerged as the winner to take home $546,843 and his first bracelet, backed by a raucous Brazilian rail that left piles of empty Corona bottles in their wake.
After Yun Fan busted in fifth, Nishijima won a huge race against Samad Razavi, spiking a king on the river with to outrun Razavi's two sevens. That gave Nishijima half of the chips in play three-handed, much to the delight of his crowd.
Jesse Sylvia, who finished runner-up to Greg Merson in the 2012 Main Event, made a notable run at his first bracelet but busted in third when he three-bet shipped against Nishijima's . Sylvia outflopped the Brazilian with three diamonds and a pair, but an turn doomed him. That left Nishijima heads up with Sotirios Koutoupas, and he came out victorious after a couple of hours for the biggest live score of his professional career.
Final Table Results
|1||Thiago Nishijima||Sao Paulo, Brazil||$546,843|
|3||Jesse Sylvia||Las Vegas, NV||$211,731|
|4||Samad Razavi||Brighton, UK||$153,682|
|5||Yun Fan||Taipei, Taiwan||$113,452|
|7||Alexander Keating||Saratoga, CA||$64,691|
|8||Duncan McCallum||Lexington, MA||$49,868|
|9||Steve Brecher||Reno, NV||$38,960|
Octo-Niner & WSOP Bracelet Winner Steve Gee Headlines Seniors Event Final Table
Day 3 of Event #40: $1,000 Seniors Championship – a tournament that attracted 4,193 players and created a prize pool of $3,773,700 – saw 65 players return to action, and it didn't take long for 56 of them to hit the rail. That left just nine players standing, with Travis Baker and his stack of 4.93 million leading the way.
While Baker has the most chips, the biggest story at the final table has to be that of Steve Gee, who a bracelet in the 2010 WSOP Event #13: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em for $472,479, and then two years later final tabled the 2012 WSOP Main Event. The Octo-Niner ultimately finished in ninth place that year for $754,798.
Among those to fall on Day 3 were Ken Lipscombe (63rd - $8,000), David Roncelli (27th - $18,642), Leon Chambers (19th - $18,642) and poker industry veteran Dan Goldman (13th - $29,849), who used to be head of marketing for PokerStars.
According to updates from the event, Goldman fell in Level 27 (20,000/40,000/5,000) when Jim Hopperstead limped and Lee Budin called from the small blind. Goldman then moved all in from the big, Hopperstead called, and Budin got out of the way.
It was a flip, but Goldman was left wanting as the board ran out a dry . Hopperstead went on to bag the third biggest stack.
The Final Table
|1||Justin Tseng||Flushing, NY||1,950,000|
|2||Steve Gee||Sacramento, CA||1,455,000|
|3||Jim Hopperstead||Cookeville, TN||2,835,000|
|4||Stephen Nussrallah||Alpharetta, GA||4,060,000|
|5||Carl Torelli||Pahrump, NV||1,640,000|
|6||Michael Smith||Union, KY||855,000|
|7||Shane Goldsmith||Newton, KS||1,600,000|
|8||Lee Budin||New Albany, OH||1,630,000|
|9||Travis Baker||Tulsa, OK||4,935,000|
The final nine players will return at 11 a.m. on Monday to play down to a winner, who will take home a gold bracelet and $613,466 first-place prize.
Max Pescatori Wins Second Bracelet of the Summer
Max Pescatori captured his second bracelet of the 2015 WSOP – tying Brian Hastings – by winning Event #41: $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Championship. He won $292,158 in prize money for coming out atop the 111-player field.
The “Italian Pirate” vaulted into the rarefied air of four-time bracelet winners, joining a club that includes names like Bobby Baldwin and Amarillo Slim. To do so, he had to overcome well-respected British pro Stephen Chidwick and six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu in a brutal three-handed match.
Pescatori had just a few bets remaining when limits hit 50,000/100,000, and a heads-up match between Negreanu and Chidwick looked inevitable. But with the limits so large relative to stacks – only a little over 3.3 million was in play – as Pescatori said, “if you can hang on, you can come back.”
He did just that, first doubling up with a seven-high straight to scoop against Negreanu's tens in the hole. Then, a huge hand developed again between the two when Pescatori completed showing a and Negreanu raised from the bring-in with . Pescatori fired back another raise, which Negreanu called.
Negreanu took command of the betting on fourth and fifth, and Pescatori looked very close to folding on fifth. After tanking a bit, he decided to call, and both checked on sixth. Negreanu bet on the end and tank-called Pescatori's raise with , saying he missed the steel wheel and backed into trips. Pescatori had better trips with in the hole.
He's now considering entering the Poker Players' Championship, which will have registration open until the start of Day 2 on Monday. He said he will look at the GPI standings and see where he stands, making a decision from there. For now, he's savoring this win.
“It's a fantastic feeling to put in the work, and it becomes an amazing result like this.”
Final Table Results
|1||Max Pescatori||Milan, Italy||$292,158|
|2||Stephen Chidwick||Deal, UK||$180,529|
|3||Daniel Negreanu||Toronto, Canada||$113,062|
|4||Aleksandr Denisov||Moscow, Russia||$81,865|
|5||Gary Benson||Sylvania Southgate, Australia||$63,981|
|6||Thomas Butzhammer||Wien, Austria||$51,022|
|7||Richard Sklar||Las Vegas, NV||$41,433|
|8||Alan Ledford||Wilmington, OH||$34,192|
Timoshenko and Esfandiari Thrive in Extended Play
One of the new events at this year's WSOP is Event #42: $1,500 Extended Play No-Limit Hold'em. The tournament features 90-minute levels, rather than the usual 60 minutes. In theory, such a structure should give a greater advantage to skilled pros, and two stars of tournament poker sit atop the counts with 114 runners remaining after Day 2.
Yevgeniy Timoshenko (405,400) has the lead, with Antonio Esfandiari in second at 368,000. Timoshenko has earned nearly $1.5 million in WSOP cashes, while Esfandiari has three bracelets and is most famous for winning The Big One for One Drop in 2012 for more than $18 million.
Other notable players advancing to Day 3 included Tony Ruberto (150,700), Jonathan Little (126,000), John Strzemp (96,500), Andrey Pateychuk (96,400), and Barny Boatman (70,600).
Play hit the money on Day 2, with 198 spots paid. Mukul Pahuja (120th), James Calderaro (122nd), Brent Hanks (157th), Ryan Welch (159th), and Jason Senti (190th) were among those busting in the money.
Play resumes at 1 p.m. on Monday at Level 15 (1,200/2,400/400).
Top 10 Chip Counts
Seiver Leads Day of $50K Poker Players' Championship; Ivey & Brunson No Show
Day 1 of Event #44: $50,000 Poker Players' Championship attracted 73 players, but that number is likely to go up a bit as registration is open until the start of play on Day 2. Neither Phil Ivey nor Doyle Brunson made an appearance in the event — though Brunson was at the Rio on Sunday — and the poker world is waiting with bated breath to see whether or not they'll show up.
One man who did show up was Scott Seiver, who bagged up a nice lead with 350,700. His next closest competition is David Oppenheim with 279,000, while Justin "BoostedJ" Smith sits close behind with 273,300.
The first elimination of the day occurred in around of no-limit 2-7 single draw. It happened when Adam Owen opened for 1,800 from the cutoff and the aforementioned Smith three-bet to 8,000 from the small blind. Owen then four-bet hammed for 67,300 and Smith snap-called.
According to updates, Owen tanked for nearly four minutes before drawing one to . Smith stood pat with , meaning Owen, who received a , was drawing dead. Others who joined Owen on the rail as the night progressed were James Obst, Kevin Song, and 2011 champ Brian Rast.
Others who advanced to Day 2 are former champs Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi (249,500) and Matthew Ashton (220,800), reigning WSOP Player of the Year George Danzer (217,800), and the reigning champ John Hennigan (212,100). Day 2 will get underway at 2 p.m. local time on Monday.
Top 10 Day 1 Chip Counts
|8||David "ODB" Baker||238,000|
Monday will also see the start of two new events – Event #45: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em at Noon, and Event #46: $3,000 Six-Max Pot-Limit Omaha at 4:00 p.m. local time.