The field for the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event is being whittled down but weekend action also produced two controversies - including one involving the Poker Brat himself.
Event #65 - $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship – “The Main Event”
On Saturday the field for the Main Event came together, with 2,786 players left competing for the title. However, two incidents at the tables overshadowed the action. Some might say one issue was worse than the other, but both didn’t put the game of poker in the best spotlight.
On Friday, Phil Hellmuth mucked a winning hand and cursed out one of his opponents after they'd moved all-in against him - apparently they'd done this on Hellmuth bets several times already. The multiple World Series of Poker bracelet Sportsbook was at the ESPN feature table at the time, and streaming online via the PokerGO cameras.
Poker analyst Shaun Deeb suggested Hellmuth should have been penalized for the outburst. The Poker Brat, though, was eliminated from the tournament prior to the money bubble.
As well, a European player was ejected from the Main Event for directing a racial slur at Maurice Hawkins. The two poker players reportedly have a long-standing feud, which bubbled over at the tournament over the weekend. The European player has now apparently been banned from all Sportsbook Entertainment properties for life.
There WAS Some Actual Poker Played
The field battled it out over the course of Saturday to the point that the money bubble was within reach, even though they had met the five-level limit to play. WSOP officials overruled themselves, however, with the goal of getting the players into the money. It proved to be the right move as, about an hour into play, the bubble popped with the elimination of Matthew Hopkins in 1183rd place ($0, although he will receive a seat in the 2019 WSOP Championship Event as consolation).
Sunday was a day for the big stacks to position themselves and some of the $74.015 million prize pool to be handed out. Players such as Will Failla, Max Altergott, Scott Clements and Ryan Laplante all took home the minimum prize ($15,000), while Ilya Trincher, Jake Cody, Marvin Rettenmaier, Yevgeniy Timoshenko and Chip Jett earned a bit more with deeper drives. When players return on Monday for action, there will be 310 runners left in the field with veteran pro Barry Hutter leading the way.
The 310 surviving players will return on Monday at 11AM (Pacific Time) to continue the festivities, with another five levels set for action. Beginning at 9PM (Eastern Time), ESPN2 will pick up the “live delayed” broadcast of the action until 2AM.