On Wednesday, an aura of excitement hung about in the Amazon Room at the Rio and the day was unlike any other so far during the 2013 World Series of Poker. There were fewer tables than usual, but the rails were packed with spectators, almost all on hand to see the One Drop High Rollers Event, as the tables at this $111,111 buy-in tournament were filled with famous faces.
Play started with 166 players, and 57 have been eliminated after the first day of action. This is a record-setting field. Before Wednesday, the largest field size and prize pool in a six-figure buy-in event was the 2013 GuangDong Ltd. Asia Millions HK$1,000,000 (approx. $130,000) Main Event which had 125 entries (71 unique and 54 re-entries). Obviously that number was blown out of the water here in Las Vegas with 166 entries, all unique.
The chip leader after Day 1 is Brandon Steven, who finished with 1,398,000 in chips. Tobias Reinkemeier is hot on his heels with 1,225,000. They are the only players who finished the day above the million-chip mark.
After the success of last year’s $1 Million buy-in Big One for One Drop, the World Series of Poker again teamed up with the One Drop Foundation, a charity with the mission of providing access to clean water everywhere and encouraging sustainable farming. For each entrant in the $111,111 high roller event, $3,333 will be donated to One Drop. With 166 players starting the event, the donation totals $553,278. Many players have pledged 1% of their winnings to One Drop, as well.
Wednesday’s event is not the only One Drop event on this year’s WSOP schedule. Event #58: $1,111 The Little One for One Drop No-Limit Hold'em kicks off on June 3. This tournament features a relatively small buy-in, two starting days, and unlimited re-entries each day. It is expected to garner a massive number of entries, and $111 from each entry goes directly to the One Drop Foundation.
The 166 players built a prize pool of $17,891,148. The top 24 places will be paid. The minimum payout is $173,723, and first place will receive $4,830,619. It is the highest first-place prize of the Series except for the Main Event and last year's Big One for One Drop.
This is the highest buy-in tournament on the 2013 WSOP schedule, and it attracted one of the toughest fields of 166 players in the history of poker. The entry list is a veritable “who’s who” of the poker world, including Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, Tom Dwan, and defending Main Event champion Greg Merson, just to name a few. The field also included six of the eight final tablists from last year’s Big One for One Drop, Antonio Esfandiari, Sam Trickett, David Einhorn, Brian Rast, Bobby Baldwin, and Richard Yong.
Not surprisingly, in a field featuring the game’s best players, there were plenty of interesting moments. The hand that almost everyone is talking about involved Greg Mueller, who took an excruciatingly long time to make a decision. He later said he was in the tank for about 22 minutes our team on the floor reported closer to 15. Mueller flopped a set and turned a full house but was convinced he had been outdrawn by Daniel Alaei, whom he believed turned a higher full house.
Antonio Esfandiari, last year’s Big One for One Drop champion, was clearly enjoying the second WSOP tournament benefitting One Drop. He forced the dealer to pause and build the excitement when he was all in and on his way either to a double up or to the rail.
Tom “durrrr” Dwan was eliminated when his pocket aces were outdrawn on the river by Brandon Steven’s queens. This hand helped catapult Steven toward the top of the leaderboard.
Alexey Rybin had the dubious honor of being the first player eliminated. He was joined by quite a few of poker’s most talented players, including, Sam Trickett, Isaac Haxton, Philipp Gruissem, Dan Smith, Michael Mizrachi, Bryn Kenney, Erick Lindgren, Ben "bttech86" Tollerene, Phil Ivey, Faraz Jaka and Scott Seiver.
Many well-known players fared better. In addition to Steven and Reinkemeier, Dan Shak (999,000 in chips), Jason Mo (975,000), Ben Lamb (855,000), Matt Glantz (854,000), Bobby Baldwin (839,000), Daniel Negreanu (785,000), John Juanda (720,000), Jean-Robert Bellande (719,000), Vivek Rajkumar (674,000), Johnny Chan (655,000) and Jason Koon (644,000), among others, all punched their tickets to Day 2.
Perhaps the most notable absence in the room was 13-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. A few hours after late registration ended, Hellmuth tweeted about his decision to skip the event, explaining he didn’t feel he would be able to play his best game. The other prominent absence from the entrant list was Guy Laliberté, founder of the One Drop Foundation and founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil. Laliberté had another commitment and was unable to spend a full day playing poker, but he is expected to be on hand on Friday to kick off the final table festivities.
The 109 players who survived Day 1 return on Thursday at 1 p.m. local Las Vegas time, and the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the action and eliminations from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Greg Mueller tanked for a long time while considering a tough decision on Day 1 of the One Drop High Roller. Kristy Arnett caught up with him to talk about the hand:
Follow all of the coverage of the $111,111 One Drop High Roller Event at the PokerNews live reporting page.
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