The WSOP is finally here! Time to shuffle up and deal in Sin City with the 2018 World Series of Poker. This year's WSOP marks the 49th running of the donks and it's expanded to include 78 bracelet events. This is the 14th year the WSOP is hosted at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. Wow, time flies, eh? It was just yesterday when I covered my first-ever WSOP in 2005, which was also the first year the WSOP moved to its new home after being held at Binion's Horseshoe downtown.
This year's schedule expanded to 78 events. Yeah, 78 pieces of bling will be awarded to the best donkslayers in Nevada. The 2018 WSOP will be the biggest, baddest, most epic series in the history of all things poker on the biggest degen planet in the solar system. Okay, I have no proof of intelligent life on other planets (aside from one wicked DMT trip, but that story is for another time). There might be a bunch of casinos on the far side of one of Jupiter moons that spread hold'em. And Zeta Reticuli could be chock full of uber-degen three-eyed space monsters that love to gamble it up in some sort of variant of cosmic baccarat. We really don't know what's out there... but one thing is for certain on Earth... Las Vegas is ground zero for all things poker in the summer. And for the 14th year in a row, the Rio will be epicenter for the most prestigious tournament in all of gaming.
Event #1 $565 Casino Employees NL - Final Results
The World Series of Poker kicks off with a closed-event specially designed for casino employees. Initially, this was for poker dealers in Vegas and other casino workers who had an affinity for poker. For many years, this event was akin to the "poker dealer championship" until poker industry and media folks started trickling in. With pros blurring the lines of media/employees, the event has now taken on a slightly different vibe.
Jordan Hufty, a poker dealer and supervisor (originally from Southgate, Michigan) shipped the first event on the 2018 calendar. Hufty faded a field of 566 runners to win nearly $62K. The total prize pool for this $565 buy-in event was only $283K.
Hufty's previous biggest claim to fame was that he dealt on the TV program Poker After Dark.
Hufty beat out Jodie Sanders heads-up for the win. Kate Kopp busted in third place. Zack Seymour took fourth.
The Club Poker WSOP Name of the Day goes to... Won Kim! Won didn't win this one, but finished in fifth place.
Several pros cashed in this event. They qualified for one reason or another by having affiliations with a casino in some manner.
Among the "pros" who cashed in the "employees" event included... Maria Ho, Todd Witteles, Benny Glasser, Allen Kessler, Gank, Aron Dermer, John Racener, Robert Mizrachi, Mark Gregorich, David Levi, Dan Weinman, David Bakes Baker, and Glen Cozen.
2018 WSOP - Event #1 $565 Casino Employees
Prize Pool: $283,000
Final Table Results:
1. Jordan Hufty (USA) $61,909
2. Jodie Sanders (USA) $38,246
3. Kate Kopp (USA) $26,250
4. Zachary Seymour (USA) $18,332
5. Won Kim (USA) $13,031
6. Thomas Booker (USA) $9,432
7. Thomas Yenowine (USA) $6,953
8. Skyler Yeaton (USA) $5,222
9. Jason Pepper (USA) $3,998
Event #2 $10,000 NL Super Turbo Bounty - Final Results
The 2018 WSOP introduced a new event. Say hello to the Super Turbo Bounty bracelet event. This single-day noob event had a $10K entry fee. Who doesn't like fast-paced events? But this super-turbo bounty sorta reminded me of those online events. Maybe that was the point? This $10K buy-in event featured KO bounties worth $3K.
It also played out super fast. Ah, I miss those single-day events! Fitting that a New Yorker won the turbo. NYC peeps are used to fast-paced action. Elio Fox made waves in 2011 when he won the WSOP Europe Main Event for approximately $1.9 million. But the pro had to wait seven more years until he binked his second piece of bling.
Fox told the WSOP reporting pool: “I'm really happy about this one because I haven't won a live poker tournament in a really, really long time, so it feels good. The first one was just such a shock that I wasn't really that excited about it in the moment, but I'm really happy about it now. It's a great way to kick off a summer.”
Elio Fox edged out Adam Adler heads-up for the title and $394K in cash. Adler walked away with a consolation prize worth $243K, Not too shabby, eh! Paul Volpe was dunzo in third place.
The 2009 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Cada made the final table, but he'd have to wait another day to win another bracelet. Cada was the first player to exit the final table when he busted in ninth place. Taylor Black had another strong performance, but his run ended in 8th place. Alex Foxen had an impressive sixth-place finish.
Bryn Kenney bubbled off the final table in 10th place.
The top four places locked up a cash worth six-figures.
Notables who went deep in Event #2 and cashed included... Eric Blair, Justin Young, Talal Shakerchi, John Racener, Griffin Paul, Kenny Hallaert, Danny Strelitz, Marc Macdonnell, Antoine Saout, Nam Le, Allan Le, Noah Bronstein, Ben Palmer, Ben Heath, and Tracy Nguyen.
All Americans at this final table. Yeah, all nine players had the star spangled banner flying next to their names.
2018 WSOP - Event #2 $10,000 NL Super Turbo Bounty
Prize Pool: $2,284,200
Final Table Results:
1. Elio Fox (USA) $393,693
2. Adam Adler (USA) $243,323
3. Paul Volpe (USA) $169,195
4. Danny Wong (USA) $119,659
5. Charles Yohannan (USA) $86,096
6. Alex Foxen (USA) $63,042
7. David Eldridge (USA) $46,993
8. Taylor Black (USA) $35,671
9. Joe Cada (USA) $27,582