World Series of Poker WSOP Las Vegas Main Event

2018 WSOP: Anderson Tops Kassela in $10K Razz, “Main Event” Starts Today

It is Christmas, New Year’s Eve and a birthday party all wrapped into one day. The 2018 World Series of Poker has gone through a litany of preliminary events (and still has a few to go), but it is the time that everyone waits for – the start of the $10,000 World Championship event. Before that gets going, however, there was some business to finish in one of those preliminary tournaments.

Event #56 - $10,000 Razz Championship

Thirteen players started the day on Friday from the 119-player field and, by the end of 10 levels of action (the WSOP “curfew” for tournaments), they had still not determined a champion. There were two players left in the $10,000 Razz Championship tournament, three-time bracelet Sportsbook Frank Kassela and one-time Sportsbook Calvin Anderson, who had battled it out for FIVE hours without deciding a victor. Thus, the duo returned on Saturday and looked to finish their business, with Anderson’s 4.585 million chips dominating Kassela’s 1.37 million.

Because of the size of the blinds and antes, it wasn’t going to take long for a champion to be determined one way or the other. Would Anderson prevail or would Kassela make a stirring comeback? It would be Anderson, who clipped the former WSOP Player of the Year with a 9-7 against his 9-8 to leave him with only 60,000 in chips. On the final hand, Anderson had to river a 5 against Kassela’s Q-10 low, but it was still enough to get Kassela to say “Well, we could have finished this last night,” with a chuckle as he shook Anderson’s hand.

2018 WSOP EVENT #56 – FINAL Table
Player Winnings
Calvin Anderson $309,220
Frank Kassela $191,111
Julien Martini* $134,587
Mike Leah* $96,744
Jerry Wong* $71,014
Alex Balandin* $53,253
John Hennigan* $40,817
Dzmitry Urbanovich* $31,992

(* - eliminated Friday night)

Event #58 - $5,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em

Shedding the label of “best player to never win a WSOP bracelet” (arguably he was on the list), poker pro Jean-Robert Bellande captured his first WSOP bracelet in taking down the $5,000 Six-Handed No-Limit event.

The battle wasn’t particularly interesting until Bellande came to heads-up against Dean Lyall for the title. Bellande held exactly a 2:1 lead over Lyall and “JRB” would take that lead to 6:1 at one point. Lyall fought back, however, pulling into the lead after an hour of action and stretching it to his own 2:1 advantage.

Bellande grinded it out and, after 150-plus minutes of play, was finally able to get the lead and put the tournament away. At one point he won eight consecutive hands to build a massive lead and best Lyall. On that decisive hand, Lyall pushed for his remaining four million in chips and Bellande immediately called. Lyall had a strong A-3 for heads-up action, but Bellande had awoke with pocket queens for war. After a 10-high board rolled out, Bellande was the champion and has momentum toward the Main Event.

2018 WSOP EVENT #58 – FINAL Table
Player Winnings
Jean-Robert Bellande $616,302
Dean Lyall $380,595
Andrew Graham $254,684
Tan Nguyen $173,598
Eric Blair $120,669
Kacper Pyzara $85,570

Event #65 - $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship

Today marks Day 1A of the 2018 $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, its official name, though it is known more commonly by the moniker “The Main Event.” It is thought that upwards of 7,000 people will be getting into this game, which is the traditional “old school” way of tournament poker – one entry, no rebuys (otherwise known as a “knockout” tournament). Roughly two weeks from now, there will be a (new?) champion of the poker world crowned, but it will all start here.

Players will begin with 50,000 chips and the levels will be two hours in length, giving players plenty of opportunity for play at the table. Day 1B will (of course) be on Tuesday and Day 1C on Wednesday. The Days 1A and 1B will combine on Thursday for Day 2A, while Day 1C (usually the largest of the trio of start days) will stand on its own as Day 2B on Friday. On Saturday, the survivors will all gather together for the first time under Day 3 and stay together until a champion is determined on July 14.

But that champion must start somewhere and that somewhere is today. Action begins at 11 a.m. Pacific time and will be covered at For those of you who have the streaming channel PokerGO, some of the day’s play will be covered there also. It is one of the most exciting times in poker as the Main Event prepares to blast out of the starting blocks.