WSOP What to Watch For: The Main Event Has Arrived!

WSOP What to Watch For: The Main Event Has Arrived! 0001

That tweet by 2012 world champ Greg Merson on Friday night said it all. The most anticipated tournament of the year — the World Series of Poker Main Event — kicks off Saturday afternoon at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

While the Main Event takes center stage, two other events will be taking place on Saturday. A winner is scheduled to be crowned in the $10K Pot-Limit Omaha (Event #64), and a final table will likely reached in the “Little One for One Drop” (Event #62).

Here's what you should be watching for on Day 40 of the 2014 World Series of Poker:

Event #65: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event

The most prestigious tournament in the world has arrived! The first starting flight of the WSOP Main Event kicks off Saturday at noon, at which point the long journey to find poker's next champion begins.

The Main Event will run from Saturday, July 5 through Monday, July 14, which is when the "November Nine" final table will be determined. Play will be halted until November 10-11, 2014 when the final nine players return to the Penn & Teller Theater to play down to a winner.

A big change has been made to this year's Main Event to celebrate the 10th year at the Rio. The $10,000 buy-in remains the same, but a new $10 million guaranteed payday for the winner will ensure at least the second largest prize in the event's history. In 2006, Jamie Gold took home $12 million for his victory in the Main Event. The biggest payout since then went to Peter Eastgate in 2008 ($9,152,416). Last year, Ryan Riess' victory earned him $8,361,570, the smallest prize since Jerry Yang received $8,250,000 in 2007.

How will the $10 million guarantee affect this year's turnout? That remains to be seen, but traditionally the Day 1a field is the smallest of the three starting flights. Last year the first starting flight drew 943, which was significantly smaller than both Day 1b (1,942) and 1c (3,467). We expect history to repeat itself on Saturday as many players will take a day off after the July 4 celebrations on Friday night.

The players who do take their seat on Day 1a will begin with 30,000 in tournament chips on Saturday. Each level in the Main Event lasts 120 minutes with a 20-minute break after each level. Play will continue on Days 1a until the completion of Level 5, with a 90-minute dinner break after three levels of play. The remaining players from the Day 1a field will resume play at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8.

Let the madness begin!

Event #62: The $1,111 Little One for One Drop

A massive field of 4,492 entrants has been trimmed down to the final 102 in the mini version of the One Drop. The top prize of $637,539 is anything but mini, however, and the man best positioned to collect that prize is chip leader Charbel Azzi with 514,000.

Azzi was the only player to accumulate more than half a million in chips thus far, but not far behind are Alexander Ziskin (480,000), Julian Parmann (471,500) and Matthew Lapossie (458,000). Other notables returning with healthy stacks include Maxim Panyak (335,500), Sergio Castelluccio (291,500), Salvatore Bonavena (255,000), Joep van den Bijgaart (249,500), Maurice Hawkins (236,000), Jose Carlos Garcia (234,500), Michael Tureniec (219,500) and Brian Pinkus (215,000).

Be sure to follow the PokerNews Live Reporting page for continuous coverage of the "Little One" until a champion is crowned.

Event #64: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship

The summer's biggest pot-limit Omaha tournament is down to the final 23 players, and many big names are still in contention for the $923,379 top prize. David Williams, Tom Marchese, Sam Trickett, JC Tran, Matt Stout and Matt Marafioti all bagged up chips when Day 2 came to a close on Friday night.

However, they'll all be chasing relatively unknown German grinder Marko Neumann who heads into Day 3 atop the leaderboard with 1,442,000. Neumann has more than $1.3 million in live cashes in his career, most of which came from a third-place finish in the European Poker Tour Vienna Main Event in March for $877,615. A victory in this PLO event would trump that result and secure the first major title of his career.

Not far behind Neumann is longtime tournament specialist Isaac Baron, who is also chasing his first WSOP bracelet. The former top-ranked online tournament player in the world will take 1,267,000 into Day 3 after spending much of Friday as the chip leader. He won the most exciting pot of the tournament thus far, which he explained in a video with Sarah Grant:

This three-day event is scheduled to play down to a winner on Saturday, but an additional day may be added. Either way we'll have complete up-to-the-minute coverage of Event #64 until a winner is determined.

Here’s a look at the rundown for today (all times PDT):

  • 12:00 p.m. — Event #65: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event (Day 1a of 7)
  • 1:00 p.m. — Event #62: The $1,111 Little One for One Drop (Day 3 of 4)
  • 2:00 p.m. — Event #64: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship (Day 3 of 3)

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