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Fields Narrow at Massive WSOP Tournaments

With two of the largest tournaments to be held this summer playing out concurrently, the Rio was jam packed with thousands upon thousands of hopefuls on Monday.

In Event #19: $365 NLHE “The Giant,” the allure of the smallest ever World Series of Poker bracelet event buy-in attracted 1,629 entrants for the first of five Day 1 starting flights.

The Giant is using a staggered starting day format, so Day 1s like that which played out on Monday will take place each Friday throughout the summer – until the survivors from each reconvene in July to play out the endgame.

Several bona fide stars of the game turned out and bagged a stack for July, including WSOP-Circuit ring winner Bernard Lee (359,000), WPT champion Asher Conniff (152,000), and “Ace on the River” author and poker legend Barry Greenstein (90,000).

The overall leaderboard is topped by Jeffrey Brin (718,000), Timothy Miles (707,500), Richard Alsup (637,500), Southisak Seunsom (612,000), and Matthias Eibinger (610,500).

The next four Day 1 flights for The Giant take place on the Fridays of June 16, June 23, June 30, and July 7.

In Event #20: $1,500 NLHE “Millionaire Maker,” the massive field of 7,761 generated over two days of starting flights was pared down to a more manageable 136.

Per the live updates provided by PokerNews, many notable names built big stacks for a deep run at the $1,221,407 first-prize payout – including 2016 WSOP Main Event “November Niner” Kenny Hallaert (523,000) and 2009 Main Event champion Joe Cada (508,000).

Entering the Millionaire Maker’s “moving day” on Tuesday, when the contenders for a real bracelet run will emerge from the fray, the top five players on the chip leaderboard are Senovio Ramirez III (1,570,000), Lucas Blanco (1,339,000), Daniel Lee (1,196,000), Scott Baumstein (1,187,000), and Michael Falcon (1,135,000).

In the non-NLHE arena, eight of poker’s top talents played their way to the final table of Event #22: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw World Championship.

With a payout of $256,610 waiting for the winner, not to mention one of the more highly prized bracelets within the mixed-game community, the leaderboard entering today’s final table is topped by two-time bracelet winner John Monnette (1,051,000).

Monnette holds a healthy lead over fellow veteran pros Darren Elias (637,500), Mike Leah (618,500), Mike Gorodinsky (591,000), Xavier Kyablue (484,500), Per Hildebrand (474,500), James Chen (428,000), and Paul Volpe (315,000).

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