The 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is officially underway!
Day 1 of the world’s premier poker festival traditionally starts with the $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em. This year, the first day also hosted the start of a new tournament in this year’s calendar: Event #2: $10,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em Championship.
One Canadian Cashes and Only 11 Remain After Day 1 of $565 Casino Employees Event
The fast structure of Event #1: $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em always leads a busy day of action, and 2017 was no exception. At the start of the day, 651 entries were recorded, but, by the time the last card was dealt, just 11 players remained with chips in front of them.
Of the 651 starting entries, 98 players were guaranteed a payday, and many of those spots were paid out on Day 1. The minimum cash was set at $834 and the player to take the 98th spot was Romain Lotti from Las Vegas. Only one Canadian cashed in the event: Michael Hutchings of Brantford, Ontario. Hutchings collected $1,575 for his 36th-place finish.
The final 11 players will return to play on Thursday with Chris Gellagher leading the chip counts with 519,000. The only other player with more than 500,000 chips is Chris Solomon who cashed in this event in 2014. The remaining players will play down to a winner on Thursday.
Team Negreanu and Team Mueller Bag Day 1 of $10,000 Tag Team Championship
Event #2: $10,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em Championship is a new event this year. In 2016, the WSOP premiered a $1,500 Tag Team event that saw huge interest. For this year, they put a Championship event at the beginning of the schedule. The unique format allows teams of between two and four players to enter. All members of the team must play at least one round of blinds and a player can tag a teammate to take over play anytime they aren’t in the action.
The tournament was rife with big names, with teams headed by the likes of Brian Rast, Mike Leah, Ben Lamb, Fedor Holz, Paul Volpe, and Phil Hellmuth, as well as family teams fielded by the Mizrachi and Brunson clans all falling by the wayside during the first day of play. Of the 102 teams that registered, 51 made it through the day with chips.
Leading the way into Day 2 is Team Polk, consisting of Doug Polk, Ryan Fee, Jason Mo, and Michael Finstein, who finished Day 1 with a stack of 240,600. Fee and Polk took down the inaugural $1,500 Team Event last year, so they are looking to repeat that finish this year in the larger event. Team Staats (Christopher Staats, Orlando Romero, and Roland Israelashvili) bagged the second-largest stack with 216,400, and Team Tran (J.C. Tran, Nam Le, and Antonio Gutierrez) and Team Chidwick (Stephen Chidwick and Dan Smith) are the only other teams to bag more than 200,000.
Some other notable teams to make it through Day 1 with a shot at the Championship include teams lead by Liv Boeree (122,100), Loni Harwood (148,700), Jack Salter (192,300), Connor Drinan (127,600), Bryn Kenney (114,000), David “ODB” Baker (79,000), Dan Shak (45,000), and Erik Seidel (36,000).
Canada’s Mike Leah put together an all-Canadian team, but they weren’t able to survive Day 1. However, two other Canadian-led teams — Team Negreanu (78,000) and Team Mueller (38,000) — both bagged chips at the end of the day.
Day 2 action starts at 2 p.m. local time Thursday for Event #2 with team Polk looking to go two-for-two in WSOP Tag Team events.