As he has all week, Jason Mercier stole the headlines on Day 16 of the 2016 World Series of Poker.
One day removed from a runner-up finish in his effort to win back-to-back $10,000 Championship level events, Mercier grabbed the chip lead in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship and will be looking to win a fifth career bracelet, and his second of the summer, when the event's final day plays out Friday.
Day 15 also saw a winner crowned in the $1,500 Limit Hold'em, the $3,000 6-Handed event play down to five, and the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em find its final 27.
Plus, two new events kicked off.
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Mercier Leads The $10k H.O.R.S.E.
Jason Mercier has taken up permanent residence in the Amazon Room, running deep in his third straight $10,000 Championship level event.
After winning the $10,000 Lowball title, he immediately hopped in the $10,000 Razz and ultimately finished runner-up. Within minutes of that heads-up match, he late-registered the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. After two days of play, Mercier will take the chip lead into the event's final day on Friday with just 14 players remaining.
A $422,874 first-place prize and a WSOP bracelet awaits the winner in this one, but could be worth even more to Mercier, as he has a number of bets on winning multiple bracelet this year, including one that will pay $1.8 million if he can win three.
Mike Sexton bubbled the money and players who cashed, but failed to advance included Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel, Roland Israelashvili, David Benyamine, Daniel Alaei and Jason Somerville.
Play will resume at 2 p.m. with plans to play down to an eight handed final table, and ultimately, a champion.
Top Eight Chip Counts
Danny Le Wins The $1,500 Limit
California poker pro Danny Le win the 2016 WSOP Event #22: $1500 Limit Hold'em on Thursday night.
“I finally got a gold bracelet," Le said. "I can’t believe it."
After three days of poker, Le got the best of a 665-player field filled with some of the best limit Hold'em players the world. Originally from Vietnam, Le earned $188,815 for the win, marking the biggest score of his career. He started the event's final day as chip leader and only fell out of it briefly three handed.
Runner-up Scott Farnsworth reportedly thought he was entering a No-Limit Hold'em tournament and was forced to learn the game on the fly.
$1,500 Limit Hold'em Results
Givens Looking for Bracelet No. 2, Negreanu Falls Short in $3K Six-Max
Event #21: $3,000 Six-Max No-Limit Hold'em was scheduled to play down to a winner on Thursday, but the final five players decided to bag up and call it a night to return for one final battle on Friday.
Fast-rising Colorado native Will Givens will have pole position when the tournament resumes, toting 6.03 million with blinds set to head to Level 31 (60,000/120,000/20,000). Givens is looking for his second bracelet after taking down a $1K in 2014 for $306,634.
Joining Givens for the unscheduled Day 4 will be Calvin Lee (4.25 million), Mark Herm (2.77 million), Martin Kozlov (1.555 million), and Steven Thompson Vila (835,000). None has tasted WSOP gold before.
Twenty-six players began the day, and two very notable eliminations occurred back-to-back in 19th and 18th. First, Daniel Negreanu, down to his last 12 big blinds, pushed all in over a raise from Andros Ioakimides with and found himself at risk against Ioakimides' . A ten-high flop and a brick turn signaled the end for “Kid Poker.”
Then, defending champ Justin Liberto, after losing a race to Alex Queen for a chunk of his stack, saw his bid for a second straight bracelet in this event end. He called off his last 16 big blinds with when Kozlov pushed from the small blind with , and the board ran out dead for both players.
The last five players will return at noon with a first-place prize of $531,577 on the line.
Riess Bags Big in Event #25
The 11 a.m. event for Thursday was Event #25: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em, and 2013 WSOP Main Event champ Ryan Riess was among the players advancing with a big stack, putting 155,000 in the bag to sit in sixth place when Day 2 gets underway.
Riess has yet to really put together a signature performance in the years since his Main Event win, but he's in good position to possibly do so after 10 levels of play.
The tournament drew 1,045 players, and 228 survived Day 1. With 157 places paid, the money should be reached fairly early on Friday. Chip leader Chuc Nguyen (196,600), Shankar Pillai (180,000), Bryan Piccioli (149,700), Jason Koon (115,600), Taylor Paur (86,000), and Negreanu (64,200) are a few more players in good shape stack-wise.
The Day 2 schedule calls for 10.5 levels and a noon restart.
Spinella Leading, Varnell Third in Event #23
Anthony Spinella, who took down the inaugural $1,000 online bracelet event last year for $197,743, is in hot pursuit of another piece of WSOP gold after finishing Day 2 of Event #23: $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em as the chip leader with 1,060,000.
Meanwhile, Craig Varnell, who was at that same final table and finished third for $73,079, finished third in chips with 989,000 – Andrey Pateychuk was second at 1,022,000. Varnell notably won the WPT500 last year at ARIA for $185,800.
Sam Chartier (956,000), Matt Stout (550,000), Thiago Nishijima (542,000), and John Dolan (454,000) were also among the 27 finding bags.
A total of 283 players began the day, with 213 set to be paid. Players walking out with their wallets a little fatter included Jeff Madsen (29th), Chris Hunichen (41st), and Aaron Steury (105th).
The remaining 27 players get back to the felt at noon.
The $1,500 Omaha 8 Draws almost 1,000
The 2016 WSOP Event #26: $1500 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better drew a healthy 934 entries on Thursday, creating a $1,260,900 prize pool that will pay the top 141 spots. A min-cash is worth $2,242 while a top prize of $244,103 and a WSOP bracelet awaits the winner.
After ten levels of play, approximately 260 players survived with Anthony Furlough bagging the overnight lead. 2011 WSOP $1,500 Omaha 8 bracelet winner Francesco Barbaro also bagged big.
Actor James Woods, George Danzer, Matthew Ashton, David "ODB" Baker and WSOP POY leader Ryan Laplante also survived.
Play will resume at 2 p.m. local time with plans to play 10 more levels.
What's On Tap?
In addition to all the other action described above, the 2016 WSOP Event #27: $1000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship begins at 10 a.m. local time Friday and Event #28: $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship starts at 3 p.m.
As the 2016 WSOP rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, brought to you by our sponsors, 888poker.