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2018 WSOP: Main Event Will Crown New Champ; Hall of Fame Nominees Announced

Scott Blumstein WSOP World Series of Poker Main Event

The 2018 World Series of Poker’s marquee event – the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship (aka the Main Event) – is underway with a much larger crowd for Day 1A than in 2017. It will also crown a new champion as defending titleholder Scott Blumstein was ousted from the tournament on Monday in unceremonious fashion.

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

The first day of any major tournament – especially one with three starting days – is simply an exercise in positioning. As the old saying goes, you can’t win a poker tournament on the first day, but you certainly can lose it. For 2017 World Champion Scott Blumstein, it is a case of him not winning the event in 2018 as he made a mistake that cost him his tournament life.

On the first hand of the start of Level 3 (150/300, 25 ante), Blumstein made an opening raise from early position and, a few seats over, Brian Yoon three-bet the action, which Blumstein called. A seemingly innocent 6-4-4 rainbow flop hit the baize and Blumstein would check-call a bet from Yoon. The same would happen after a second spade, a trey, came on the turn, but it was the deuce of spades on the river that brought fireworks. With a very wet board (possible straight, flush, and full house options available), Blumstein was content to check it down. Yoon wasn’t, however.

Pushing in the entirety of his stack on the river, Yoon forced the defending world champion into the tank. Blumstein agonized over the decision before finally committing his lesser stack to the center. It turned out to be a fatal move: Yoon turned up an Ah, Jh for the runner-runner nut flush, leaving Blumstein shaking his head as he tabled his pocket 10s. As the chips slid across the table to Yoon, Blumstein packed up his bags, his stay at the felt much shorter in 2018 than the year previous.

 It is arguably ludicrous to look at the leaderboard at this point – with two Day 1s and two weeks of play yet to go – but here’s a look at who has the best chance to at least earn some money at the 2018 Main Event:

2018 WSOP EVENT #65 – Main Event Leaderboard
PlayerChips
Timothy Lau338,700
Truyen Nguyen324,800
Chris Fraser316,100
David McCaw220,400
John Vossoughi220,300
Matthew Davidow216,600
Frank Crivello215,000
Casey McCarrel206,200
Eric Hicks204,000
Tristan Bain193,200

On Day 1A, 925 players came out, a nice uptick over the 795 runners that came to the line in 2017. Joining the top 10 among the 661 survivors from the Day 1A fray are such pros as Matt Berkey (185,600), Jake Schindler (157,900), longtime fan favorite Lacey Jones (114,000), Chris “Big Huni” Hunichen (107,300), Ema Zajmovic (106,800) and former WSOP Player of the Year Frank Kassela (106,600). Those who won’t be a part of the 2018 WSOP championship event going forward are former “November Niner” Ben Lamb, former world champ Jerry Yang, former Super Bowl (football, not poker) champion Richard Seymour, Brian Rast and Jonathan Little.

An entirely new cast of characters will hit the felt at 11 a.m. Pacific time as Day 1B will take to the tables. Five more levels are set to be played and the survivors of today’s play will join the Day 1A field for play on Day 2A on Thursday.

Nominees Named for 2018 Poker Hall of Fame

Ten men have been nominated for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. After a lengthy voting process by the general public, the names of the top 10 vote getters have been released by the Poker Hall of Fame voting committee.

Hall of Fame Nominees
  • Chris Bjorin
  • David Chiu
  • Mori Eskandani
  • Bruno Fitoussi
  • John Hennigan
  • Mike Matusow
  • Chris Moneymaker
  • David Oppenheim
  • Matt Savage
  • Huckleberry Seed

The decision is now up to the voting committee, made up of the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame and an equal number of media, poker historians and industry members. Each of those voters will have 10 votes to hand out as they see fit. In the end, two men from the list (provided they receive over 50 percent of the vote) will be the next inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame. The two inductees will be named during the play of the 2018 WSOP Championship Event final table next week.

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