The 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) has awarded the first gold bracelet of the summer! Action kicked off on June 1 in the usual fashion at the Rio All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino with the $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em event and resumed on June 2 with that tournament finding the summer’s first champion. The first two of six starting flights to Colossus also got underway on Thursday.
Christopher Sand Wins Event #1: $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em
Since 2009, Event #1 of the most prestigious series in poker has been for employees of the industry. The quick two-day event carries a low cost of admission and allowed a single reentry. When registration closed, 731 buy-ins were counted to create a prize pool of $365,500.
Two Canadians cashed on Day 1 before just 23 players returned for a final day of play. Spencer Bennett bagged an incredible chip lead with 627,000 chips — 300,000 more than the second-best stack of 323,000.
Bennett was able to carry that stack all the way to the final table where he was ultimately eliminated in fourth place for $22,753. The top prize of $75,157 awaited the winner while the final three battled it out, and Californian Christopher Sand was the player to get it done, becoming the first player to earn a 2016 WSOP bracelet.
Event #2: $565 Colossus II No-Limit Hold’em Days 1a & 1b
Last year, the introduction of the Colossus set new records; it was the largest live tournament in poker history with an incredible 22,374 entries. The low-priced tournament returned for 2016 with a few adjustments. One of the alterations was that each starting flight would play into the money before bagging for Day 2.
The first of six starting flights kicked off at 10 a.m. on Thursday and 3,249 entries were tallied. The final 488 earned a payout and just 120 survived to return for Sunday’s Day 2. Coming out on top was David Polop from the U.K. with 513,000 chips.
The best Canadian stack was that of Joshua Sone with 187,000. Craig McLennan (174,000), Perry Burrell (142,000), and 2007 WSOP bracelet winner Robert Cheung (39,000) will also carry chips to Day 2 to try to find a deep cash.
At 4 p.m., the second flight for the Colossus kicked off and received 2,153 entries to add to the field. The top 323 celebrated making it in the money and, by the time the night concluded, just 69 of them had chips to carry to Day 2. Jason James from Oregon bagged the most with 407,000.
Just two Canadians were among the 69 survivors. Fatima Nanji counted out a stack of 115,000 to end the night and Sherif El-Messiri held 71,000.
Some of the noteworthy Canadians to earn their payout already included newly minted Team PokerStars Online Pro and Big Brother Canada Season 3 contestant Kevin Martin who finished 72nd for $2,155, one of Saskatchewan’s top players Ryan Smith who finished 126th for $1,255, and Martin’s roommate and fellow Team PokerStars Online Pro Jaime Staples who managed 165th for $1,129.
Got 72 of 2150 in the @WSOP collossus flight today. Not bad for my first World Series of Poker event ever! https://t.co/lOoNbLNAwzFollow @KevinRobMartin
What to Watch For Tomorrow
Another two starting flights for Colossus will fire up on Friday, June 3, which will keep the tournament rooms at the Rio plenty busy.
Check back with PokerNews Canada tomorrow for an update on the Colossus. Good luck to the Canadians in the field!
Photo and details courtesy of the WSOP Live Updates.