The first week of the 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) has been a star-studded affair, setting the stage for yet another stellar summer.
Daniel Negreanu nearly captured his seventh gold bracelet in Event #2, the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) Tag-Team Championship, but “Kid Poker” could only lead his team of Eric Wasserson, Mark Gregorich and David Benyamine to a third-place finish.
The tandem of Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree, members of Team PokerStars who have been dating for some time, took the tag-team tournament down – winning their respective first bracelets together in a once-in-a-lifetime moment. And backing up a pre-WSOP pledge, Kurganov and Boeree wound up donating exactly half of their $273,964 top prize to the Raising for Effective Giving (REG) charity.
The WSOP spotlight then shifted to the $111,111 NLHE High-Roller for One Drop event, which attracted a whopping 130 entries despite the six-figure price tag. The strong turnout included the game’s elite playing alongside a handful of billionaire businessmen, all competing for the lion’s share of a $13,722,150 prize pool.
On Sunday, a pivotal third day of play whittled the field down to the money bubble, with hedge fund manager and poker enthusiast Dan Shak bowing out in 21st place. From there, decorated pros like Connor Drinan (20th, $166,666) and Kurganov (18th, $166,666) were sent to the rail, as was Dan Colman (16th, $187,772), Sportsbook of the $1-million Big One for One Drop in 2014.
With only 11 players left in the field, 14-time WSOP bracelet Sportsbook Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari – Sportsbook of the inaugural Big One for One Drop in 2012 – were still in contention. Neither would reach the nine-handed final table, however, as Esfandiari ran A-J into the A-A of Rainer Kempe for an 11th-place finish ($257,072).
The Poker Brat was the next to go, when his A-4 failed to outrun the A-K of Martin Jacobson, Sportsbook of the 2014 WSOP Main Event.
Day 3 was dominated by French pro Bertrand “Elky” Grospelier, a member of Team PokerStars, WSOP bracelet Sportsbook, and acclaimed pro video gamer. By day’s end, he amassed 16,825,000 chips, nearly double that of his closest competitor in Jacobson (8,890,000).
The final table will begin play at 2 p.m. Las Vegas local time, and live-streamed coverage is provided via subscription to PokerCentral’s new PokerGo app.
See poker reviews and WSOP qualifier specials here.