WSOP Main Event: Selbst, Mercier and Pagano have fallen, but Shahade and Zhu remain

July 10, 2016


Yaxi Zhu: Charging to the final table in the ladies event?

The 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event is nearly one day old. It is a baby in almost all senses, except one: its size. When registration closed on the opening flight after the Day 1A dinner break, there were 764 players registered. For the equivalent flight last year, there were 741.

Any increase is obviously great for the game, even if we’ll need to wait until the end of Day 1C to know for certain how many will ante up in total. This is the first time during the multi-flight era when Day 1A has fallen on a Saturday, inviting a decent showing of recreational players. That could explain any uptick.


Main event tournament room

Anyway, at time of writing, a man named Robert Carlson has emerged at the top of the very early chip counts. Carlson is kitted out like an all American poker player: sports jersey, mirrored shades and with Phil Galfond on his table. But Carlson’s 220,000+ stack has Galfond covered.

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He is also slightly ahead of Scott Neuman, whose precise count at most recent time of asking was 206,000. There are probably no more than about three players with stacks of more than 200,000, but still two hours to go tonight.

Of the Red Spades entering today, only Jennifer Shahade remains. The Mind Sport Ambassador has about 80,000, which is more than double her starting 30,000–and 80,000 more than either Luca Pagano or Naoya Kihara.


Jen Shahade: Only remaining Red Spade on Day 1A

Pagano’s demise was documented earlier. Kihara seemed to be ticking along well until he suddenly found reason to tweet “Bust from main…Got in pre TT Cash game maybe”.


Naoya Kihara: Heading for the cash games

Over in the Ladies Event, there’s good news intrinsically linked to some bad news. The latter first: there will be no birthday bracelet for Vanessa Selbst. She confirmed Brad Willis’s title as cooler-in-chief today, busting shortly after he spoke to her. She won $4,160 for 23rd.

The good news is that her assassin was her Team PokerStars Pro colleague Yaxi Zhu, who now sits in the middle of the pack of 18. Zhu has 265,000, approximately 44 big blinds, which gives her plenty to play with. (June Jenkins, who has featured on PokerStars Blog before, is also still alive in this one.)

The other big event going on at the Rio this evening is, of course, the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop. As you might expect, that tournament is stacked with talent. All of the remaining 30 players has a glittering poker reputation.

The table captains include Igor Kurganov (8 million chips; on table with Joe McKeehan (6.3 million), Michael Mizrachi, Jack Salter, Antonio Esfandiari); Niall Farrell (5.2 million; on table with Dan Smith); Taylor Paur (2.4 million; on table with Isaac Baron, Rainer Kempe, Sergio Aido); Kyle Julius (4.3 million; on table with Christoph Vogelsang, David Peters, Fedor Holz, Scott Seiver and Nick Schulman); and Adrian Mateos (6 million; on table with Brandon Steven, Nick Petrangelo, Tony Bloom and Noah Schwartz).


Igor Kurganov: The biggest drop

You would correctly infer from the above that Jason Mercier is now out of that event, falling short of the money and falling short of his third bracelet of the summer. He’ll play the Main Event for sure, but perhaps he might now take some time to enjoy the other success story of his week.


Jason Mercier: He’s won enough already

WSOP photos by


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