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Daniel Alaei made history on Wednesday when he became the second youngest player in WSOP history to win five bracelets. Meanwhile both the $1,500 NL and $1,500 NL 2-7 failed to play to a conclusion. Benjamin Zamini and Christian Pham lead heading into play on Thursday.

Jay Dragland leads with 22 players remain in the $1,000 NL Hold’em. The $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. kicked off on Thursday and saw a noticeable jump in attendance. Finally, Dan Smith leads the $5,000 NL Eight-Max into Day 2 play.

Daniel Alaei Wins $10k Omaha Hi-Lo Championship for Fifth Career Bracelet

Daniel Alaei may not be a household name for “TV fans” of poker, but he is well known in the professional circles as one of the fiercest players in the world. Alaei added to his legacy on Wednesday by winning the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship for his fifth career bracelet and $391,037.

The final day of this event started with 18 players and the Prince of Docness in the chip lead. Eight-time bracelet winner Erik Seidel was also in contention at the start of the day but lost a massive pot early and was the first player eliminated.

In just over a level of play, the final table of this event was reached with Scott Clements holding the chip lead and Daniel Alaei in second. Here are your final table participants:

  • Daniel Alaei – 725,000
  • Scott Clements – 960,000
  • Jeremy Ausmus – 140,000
  • Kyle Miaso – 620,000
  • Ken Aldridge -350,000
  • Anthony Zinno – 625,000
  • Jeff Vaughn – 640,000
  • Tobias Hausen – 200,000
  • Mike Wattel – 225,000

Ultimately, it was Kyle Miaso facing Alaei for the title. Miaso started heads-up play with 2.8 million versus 1.9 million for Alaei. Miaso took control early on and by the time the dinner break was reached, he held 80% of the chips in play.

Alaei must have eat his Wheaties during the dinner break as he came storming back from the opening deal and evened the stack in short order. Once play was back on level footing, the pair battled back and forth for a couple of levels but during the 60k/120k level Alaei started to take over.

Alaei grabbed a strangle hold on the match during a bit pot that left Miaso with just a couple big bets. Alaei flopped a full house and Miaso stuck around in the hand and wound up rivering a costly flush.

Miaso tried to mount a final comeback but the momentum was clearly with Alaei. In the final hand, Miaso’s remaining stack went in on a flop of Js-10c-7h. Alaei made the call and turned over Qc-10h-10d-8d for a set and wrap draw. Miaso showed Kh-6h-Kd-8c for an over pair and the sucker straight draw. The turn fell the 2h to give Miaso a low draw and outs to a flush but the river 6c gave the victory to Alaei.

Daniel Alaei becomes just the second youngest player in WSOP history to win five bracelets. His last win came in 2013 when he took down the $10k PLO Championship. This was the second time in his career winning the $10k Omaha Hi-Lo title. Four of his five bracelets are in $10k Omaha events.

With this victory, Daniel Alaei moved up the all-time bracelet list and is already in elite company. Due to his skill in most forms of poker, Alaei is a player that we will likely see at the final table for years to come.

Benjamin Zamani Leads Final Day of $1,500 NL – Barbour Second

Wednesday was supposed to be the final day of Event #20, $1,500 NL Hold’em, but five players remained after ten levels and will force an additional day on Thursday to award the bracelet.

Thursday’s action started with 35 players looking to make the final table Garrett Beckman started the day as chip leader and that helped to propel him to the final table. Andy Frankenberger was perhaps the most notable player remaining in the field but he fell short of the final table, finishing in 14th.

This final table was headlined by EPT Champion Kevin MacPhee and Benjamin Zamani. In addition, two women made the final table in this event. Shola Akindele started the final table second in chips while Natasha Barbour started fourth.

Here’s how the final table started play on Wednesday:

Seat 1: Shola Akindele – 1,625,000
Seat 2: Kevin Benoit – 510,000
Seat 3: Natasha Barbour – 1,475,000
Seat 4: Paul Ephremsen – 915,000
Seat 5: Garrett Beckman – 1,290,000
Seat 6: Benjamin Zamani – 3,800,000
Seat 7: Jared Griener – 455,000
Seat 8: Kevin MacPhee – 1,560,000
Seat 9: Wenlong Jin – 2,225,000

Shola Akindele started second in chips but was the second eliminated from the final table. She lost around half of her stack when Paul Ephremsen doubled through with Ad-Qh verses Akindele’s As-Jc.

A few hands later, she moved all-in pre-flop with pocket eights and Wenlong Jin made the call holding pocket tens. The board failed to produce an eight and the first of our two women were eliminated.

Garrett Beckman started the day as chip leader and made the final table, but couldn’t build momentum for the title as was exhibited by his final hand. Beckman was all-in pre-flop with Ah-Js and Kevin MacPhee made the call holding Ks-Qs. MacPhee caught a king on the flop and his pair of kings would hold to eliminate Beckman in sixth.

After Beckman’s elimination, play continued for two full levels without a knockout. Play was halted after ten levels with five players remaining. Benjamin Zamani finished the day with 4.5 million in chips. A huge double-up in the final level propelled Natasha Barbour to second with 3.77 million.

Play will resume later today at 1 p.m. and continue until the bracelet is awarded. Here are the chip counts for the final five players:

  • Benjamin Zamani – 4,535,000
  • Natasha Barbour – 3,770,000
  • Paul Ephremsen – 2,695,000
  • Kevin MacPhee – 1,720,000
  • Wenlong Jin – 1,115,000

Christian Pham Leads Final Three in $1,500 NL 2-7 Lowball

The $1,500 NL 2-7 Lowball also failed to complete its final table on Wednesday. Play began with Christian Pham holding a massive chip lead over the final 40 players. We lost several notables as play marched towards the final table. Dan Smith, Ray Henson, Jon Turner, Frank Kasella, Jorryt van Hoof and Robert Mizrachi all fell short of the final.

It wasn’t until level nine that play reached the final table, guaranteeing a return on Thursday. Daniel Ospina took the chip lead into the final table with Christian Pham right behind. Mike Leah made his second final table of the 2015 WSOP and looked for his second bracelet.

Here’s how the unofficial final table of eight started play:

Seat 1: Andrey Zhigalov – 130,000
Seat 2: Christiam Pham – 320,000
Seat 3: Daniel Ospina – 512,000
Seat 4: Matthew Smith – 272,000
Seat 5: Mike Leah – 140,000
Seat 6: Huck Seed – 140,000
Seat 7: David Matthews – 92,000
Seat 8: Aleksandr Denisov – 121,000

David Matthews became the final table bubble boy. Matthews was all-in pre-draw with Daniel Ospina calling and staying pat. Matthews chose to draw one. He should have drawn two as Opsina turned over a made 9-8. Matthews chose to draw to a 10-7 and was drawing dead.

Christian Pham scored a double elimination against both Mike Leah and Alexsandr Denisov. Leah moved all-in pre-draw and Denisov called. Pham then put Denisov all-in. Pham stood pat with 10-9-6-5-2 and both Leah and Denisov drew one. Both players were drawing to an eight. Leah drew an ace (aces are high in lowball) and Denisov paired up. Leah finished in eighth while Denisov hit the rail in seventh.

Former Main Event champion Huck Seed was the fourth place finisher. After a Matthew Smith raise, Seed moved all-in for 102,000. Smith made the call and drew one. Seed stood pat. Seed turned over 9-5-4-3-2 while Smith showed 8-7-4-2. Smith then squeezed out a 5 to complete his 8-7 and Seed was out in fifth.

Andrey Zhiglov was the last player knocked out on the night. Both he and Daniel Ospina drew a single card and Zhiglov moved all-in for his last 34,500. Ospina made the call and both showed a J-9 low. However, Zhigalov’s J-9-8-7-2 was outpipped by the J-9-6-3-2 of Ospina.

After Zhiglov’s elimination, just a couple additional hands were dealt but they were enough to allow Christian Pham to jump back into the chip lead. He had a 15k chip lead over Daniel Ospina while Matthew Smith will start today’s final as the short stack.

Play resumes at 2 p.m. and we will find out who will take the title. Here’s the chip counts for the final three players:

  • Christian Phamm – 695,000
  • Daniel Ospina – 680,000
  • Matthew Smith – 271,000

Dragland Leads Final 22 into Final Day of $1,000 NL Hold’em

Event #22, $1,000 NL Hold’em, resumed on Wednesday with 208 players looking to cash in this event and begin the march to the final table. Since 198 players will be paid in this event, you would have thought the bubble would have been burst in the first few hands.

No so fast folks. Hand-for-hand play in this event last for a solid hour before we finally saw an elimination. Eventually, both James Gilbert and Chris Back hit the rail during the same hand and split 198th place prize money of $1,947.

Once the money bubble was burst, the remainder of the day was spent thinning the field from 197 to just 22 players. Some of the notables that finished in the money included Jessica Dawley (182nd), Jesse Sylvia (120th), Antonio Esfandiari (56th), Barry Shulman (55th), and David “ODB” Baker (25th).

Jay Dragland will lead the final 22 players into action on Thursday as chip leader holding 946,000. Some of the notables still in contention are Lisa Hamilton, Paul Darden, Sam Greenwood and Stephen Chidwick.

Play resumes at 1 p.m. PDT and continues until the bracelet has a home.

Chris Boedecker Leads $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. – Dan Smith Leads $5k Eight-Max

Two new events kicked off on Wednesday. The Noon Event, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E., drew a strong crowd of amateur and professional mixed games players. A field of 772 runners took to the felt on Wednesday, up 3.76% from the 743 from 2014.

Well over half of the field was eliminated on Day 1 with Chris Boedecker emerging as chip leader holding 67,800. Notable players advancing to Day 2 were Maria Ho, Paul Sexton, Mike Matusow, Cyndy Violette, Al Barbieri, Miami John Cernuto, Barry Greenstein, Marsha Waggoner, Chris Bjorin and the ever skilled DID NOT REPORT.

The evening event was the $5,000 Eight-Handed NL Hold’em Event. A field of 493 players came out for this one, down 10.37% from the 550 in 2014. It should be noted that this event was a Noon event in 2014, likely the reason for the dip.

Just 198 players remain after Day 1 and Dan Smith leads with 191,400. Valentin Vornicu, Shaun Deeb and Jonathan Jaffe are in the top 10. Other notables advancing were Griffin Benger, Martin Finger, Melanie Weisner, Robert Mizrachi, Matt Gianetti and Mark Newhouse.

Hold’em Takes a Vacation on Thursday

Thursday is one of the few days at the 2015 WSOP where Texas Hold’em is not part of a new event. The much-anticipated $1,000 PL Omaha Event kicks off later today and should present one of the largest crowds in history for a PL Omaha event.

The evening event is the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship. This will be a pro-heavy field with a noticeably older slant. This could be an event where one of our Five Stud to Watch could shine.

The lack of Hold’em action on Thursday gives officials the chance to prepare for Friday’s Monster Stack Event. Last year’s Monster Stack drew 7,862 players so it will be interesting to see if this year’s version will top that number or drop off slightly like the Milly Maker.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.

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