The last time Chris Ferguson won a WSOP gold bracelet (2003), gas prices around the country were still under $2, President George W. Bush was only midway through his first term, and raising the flop with top-pair in position was considered a good move.
Things have changed over the past 14 years. But there is one thing that remains the same: Ferguson is still a top-notch talent on the felt. On Wednesday, he tried to end his bracelet-less drought in Event #51, $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, to the dismay of many in the poker world.
As the field narrowed down to the final table, and then a few more players busted, Jesus potentially winning a bracelet became a reality. And that wasn’t sitting well with some on social media.
“Damn He Who Must Not Be Named is crushing it this year. Is there no justice?” Twitter user @PokerZomb posted.
“Why are guys like Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson not banned from playing events? They stole MILLIONS from the poker world,” another user, @steveb197924, commented.
What Will Have Jesus Done?
Relax, haters, Ferguson didn’t win. And he’s not your leader for 2017 WSOP Player of the Year.
Jesus busted in 4th place ($150,929), keeping his bracelet-less drought alive. Bryce Yockey from Los Angeles ended up winning the tournament ($511,147), his first career bracelet and 28th cash.
Josh Arieh, trying to win his first WSOP bracelet in 12 years, will have to wait a little longer for that winner’s shot. The 3rd place finisher in the 2004 Main Event was eliminated in 3rd place on Wednesday ($216,077).
For those who aren’t willing to forgive Jesus for sins committed during the Full Tilt Poker scandal, we have some bad news.
2017 WSOP Player of the Year Standings (through 50 events)
1 Ray Henson (614.87)
2 Chris Ferguson (599.50)
3 John Racener (580.05)
4 James Obst (555.58)
5 Mike Leah (542.99)
6 Ryan Hughes (530.13)
7 John Monnette (511.30)
8 Daniel Negreanu (488.91)
Ferguson is a legitimate threat to win the coveted annual award. He’s also closing in on a record. Jesus has 12 cashes this summer. On his next cash, he will tie the single-year record set by Roland Israelashvili in 2016.
Monster Win for Brian Yoon
Brian Yoon is showing himself to be master of big-field tournament poker. The California resident topped 6,716 players in Event #47, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack, for $1,094,349 and his third career bracelet.
Yoon’s first bracelet came in 2013 in the $1,111 buy-in Little One for One Drop where he beat a field of 4,756 players. His second WSOP championship, a $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament, had “just” 550 players.
The Monster Stack win, the biggest of his career, brings his WSOP earnings over $2.7 million. Yoon defeated Ihar Soika heads-up for the title. Don’t feel too bad for his opponent, however. Soika took home $675,995 for his four days of hard work.
Mercier, Kempe, and Katz in the Mix
With 23 players remaining in Event #52, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, quite a few familiar faces are still alive. That includes 2016 WSOP Player of the Year Jason Mercier (457,000), Poker Central creator Cary Katz (145,000), and German high-stakes pro Rainer Kempe (240,000).
Samuel Phillips leads the way (1,289,000) after Day Two. Former NFL star and Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour was the last to bust on Wednesday. The returning players all hope to win the $364,438 1st place prize on Thursday.
Can Silver Hold His Lead?
Max Silver has more than $3.3 million in lifetime live tournament winnings, including 24 WSOP cashes, and an overall impressive poker resume. But the Brit is missing one thing: a WSOP title. That could all change on Thursday.
In Event #53, $3,000 Limit Hold’em 6-Handed, Silver is leading going into Day Three with seven players remaining. One knockout away from the final table, he is the only player with more than 1 million chips (1,021,000). The champion will receive $172,645 and a gold bracelet.
Record-Setting $10K PLO
It’s rare for any $10,000 and up WSOP tournament other than the Main Event to draw a large field. Coming up with that kind of money isn’t easy for the average grinder.
But there were a record 428 entries in Event #54, $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship. Defending champion Brandon Shack-Harris finished Day One with the fourth largest stack (299,500) out of 186 remaining players, all vying for the $938,732 reward the winner will receive.
Sorin Drajneanu bagged the most chips (469,700). Big names with big stacks include Johnny Lodden (270,000), Dan Shak (255,100), Ben Lamb (189,200), Justin Bonomo (160,500), and Mike Gorodinsky (150,200).
Interestingly, with 428 players in a $10K event, the field size was similar to what the no-limit hold’em Main Event was drawing in 1999 (393) and 2000 (512), the year Chris Ferguson won.
Preparing for Holiday Weekend
In Event #55, $1,500 Seven Card Stud, there were 298 runners and 68 players advanced to Day Two on Thursday. The top prize they are chasing is $96,907. Marcel Luske, Christopher Vitch, and Andre Akkari all bagged and tagged on Day One. A winner will be crowned on Friday.
Two tournaments will begin on Thursday, both scheduled to conclude over the weekend: Event #56, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em, starts at 11 am PT.
And at 3 pm is the start of Event #57, $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Mix, where in addition to the bracelet, the victor will go home knowing they won the longest-worded tournament title of the year.