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In two days, we have two multi-bracelet winners. A day after Brian Hastings took his second bracelet of the summer; Max Pescatori took down the $10,000 Stud 8 or Better Championship for his second title of the year. Meanwhile, one of the rowdiest rails in recent memory cheered Thiago Nishjima to victory in the $3,000 NL.

Travis Baker is the chip leader heading into to the final table of the Seniors Event with bracelet winner Steve Gee in contention. Antonio Esfandiari is near the top of the leader board heading into the third day of the $1,500 Extended NL Event.

The first-ever Super Senior NL Hold’em Event kicked off on Sunday and drew over 1,900 runners. Doyle Brunson made a surprise appearance and took part in the event, choosing it over the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship. The $50,000 PPC kicked off on Sunday as well with Scott Seiver leading heading into the second day.

Thiago Nishjima Wins $3,000 NL Hold’em

An additional day was needed to complete Event #38, $3,000 NL Hold’em. Just five players returned to the Rio on Sunday to battle for the bracelet and $546,843 in prize money. Thiago Nishjima led heading into the final day of play with former November Niner Jesse Sylvia in second and looking for his second bracelet.

Seat 1: Sotirios Koutoupas – 1,495,000
Seat 2: Thiago Nishijima – 4,510,000
Seat 3: Yun Fan – 2,090,000
Seat 4: Sam Razavi – 2,657,000
Seat 5: Jesse Sylvia – 4,080,000

Jesse Sylvia made a deep run but fell just shy of the title in third place. After slipping to under 2 million, he decided to make a move with Kd-8s and shoved pre-flop after a raise by Nishjima. Nishjima made the call and turned over Ac-10h.

Sylvia flopped the world as it fell Qd-9d-8d to give him bottom pair and a flush draw. His lead would be short lived as the turn fell the As to give Nishjima the lead. The river 9h missed both players and Sylvia was out in third.

Heads-up play began with Thiago Nishjima in the chip lead holding 9.68 million versus 5.17 million for Sotrios Koutoupas. Nishjima being from Brazil had an amazingly rowdy rail. Anyone that has been to the WSOP in the past knows that Brazilian rails can be among the most entertaining of the series and this one was no exception.

While this heads-up match lasted 44 hands, Nishjima was never in any serious trouble. In the final hand, Sotirios Koutoupas was all-in pre-flop and called by Nishjima who held Ah-9d. Koutoupas showed As-5d and the Brazilian rail started celebrating.

The board ran out 4d-4s-2s-6d-4h to give Nishjima the title and the celebration began by the rail. According to, the celebration was so intense that the rail in the mothership actually broke and had to be reinforced by security guards.

This victory was the largest in Thiago Nishjima’s career. He won his first bracelet and $546,843. Congratulations.

Max Pescatori Wins 10k Stud 8 or Better Championship for Fourth Career Bracelet

Stephen Chidwick led a stacked final day in the $10,000 Stud 8 or Better Championship. Several big names remained in contention heading into the final day including Daniel Negreanu, Max Pescatori and Aussie Hall of Famer Gary Benson.

Yuval Bronshtein was the first to fall after running into rolled up nines from Aleksandr Denisov. After Phillip Hui hit the rail in 10th, Yehuda Bechalter became this event’s final table bubble boy. He was unable to beat two pair from Stephen Chidwick.

At the start of final table play, Chidwick led with Gary Benson right behind. Pescatori and Negreanu were looking to improve on their career bracelet totals and were in the middle of the pack.

Below are the chip counts at the start of final table action:

1 – Thomas Butzhammer – 270,000
2 – Max Pescatori – 465,000
3 – Alan Ledford – 265,000
4 – Richard Sklar – 180,000
5 – Stephen Chidwick – 755,000
6 – Daniel Negreanu – 350,000
7 – Aleksandr Denisov – 350,000
8 – Gary Benson – 640,000

Gary Benson started the final table second in chips but was unable to build for a run at the bracelet, eventually finishing in fifth. In his final hand, Benson was all-in on fifth street with split sevens and three low cards against aces-up for Max Pescatori. Benson picked up the 6s on Sixth Street and now could chop with a low or win with a five or seven. However, the river only improved him to kings-up and that ended his day in fifth place.

Alexsandr Densiov was the next player out. He was short and all-in on Fourth Street with ten-high and three low cards. Stephen Chidwick had split fours and three spades. Denisov could only improve to a pair of threes by showdown and hit the rail to collect his $81,865 payday.

Daniel Negreanu had stated after Day 1 of this event that he was “calling his shot” to win his seventh bracelet. While he made the final table, he couldn’t quite get there and fell in third. He was ground down to just one bet and put that at risk against both Max Pescatori and Stephen Chadwick. By Sixth Street, just Pescatori and Negreanu remained in the pot. Pescatori held kings-up against a pair of eights and a low draw for Negreanu. Negreanu only managed to pull eights-up on the river and was out just shy of the bracelet.

At the start of heads-up play, Chadwick led with 1.91 million versus 1.42 million for Pescatori. Only 20 big bets were in play by the 80/160k betting round so a couple of hands could cause major swings and that is exactly what occurred.

After scooping consecutive hand Pescatori jumped into the chip lead and held a 2:1 lead prior to the final hand. The last of Chidwick’s chips went into the pot on Sixth Street with him holding a pair of kings and a gutshot straight draw. He was actually ahead at the time as Pescatori held only a pair of tens. Chidwick bricked on the river, but Pescatori spiked a third ten to give him the hand and his second bracelet of the 2015 WSOP.

Prior to the 2015 WSOP, Max Pescatori held a bracelet in NL Hold’em and PL Omaha/Hold’em. This summer, he had won two legs of the Stud Triple Crown after winning the $1,500 Razz and the $10k Stud 8 Championship.

The $1,500 Stud is upcoming so he still has time to become only the fifth player in WSOP history to win the Stud Triple Crown. In the meantime, we congratulate him on his second bracelet win of 2015.

Travis Baker Leads Seniors Championship Final Table – Steve Gee Among Short Stacks

Day 3 of the Seniors Championship started with 65 players looking to make the final table. Jim Hopperstead started the day as chip leader, followed by Justin Tseng in second. It took until the eighth level to reach the final table and play was halted until Monday. Both Hopperstead and Tseng managed to make the final table, starting second and third respectively.

Travis Baker leads heading into the final table with 4.93 million. Stephen Nussrallah won a circuit ring earlier this year and is now looking for the bracelet. He starts second in chips. Carl Torelli finished 14th in last year’s Senior’s Championship and looks to win the title this year. Steve Gee is the headliner at this final table. The former November Niner is also a former bracelet winner. He will start as the second shortest stack.

Players return at 11 a.m. PDT and will play until the champion is crowned. Here are the final table chip counts:

  • Travis Baker – 4.93 million
  • Stephen Nussrallah – 4.06 million
  • Jim Hopperstead – 2.83 million
  • Justin Tseng – 1.95 million
  • Carl Torelli – 1.64 million
  • Lee Budin – 1.63 million
  • Shane Goldsmith – 1.6 million
  • Steve Gee – 1.45 million
  • Michael Smith – 855,000

Antonio Esfandiari in Contention in $1,500 Extended Play NL Hold’em

Day 2 of the $1,500 Extended Play NL Hold’em kicked off on Sunday with 543 players looking to make the money in this event. With only 198 players receiving a payday in this event, it took most of the day to reach the money.

The bubble burst at the end of the fifth 90 minute level and Ruslan Gazaev was the player that sent the field into the money. His opponent is all-in pre-flop with Ad-Ks and Gazaev made the call with pocket queens. The board failed to produce an ace or king and the remaining players are guaranteed at least $2,919.

At the end of Day 2, just 115 players remain and will return on Monday to start the march towards the final table. Yevgeniy Timoshenko finished Day 2 as chip lead with 405,400. Antonio Esfandiari is right behind with 368,000 and looking to make a final table run. Other notables still in contention include Mark Radoja, Lisa Hamilton, Blair Hinkle, Barny Boatman and Jonathan Little.

Doyle Brunson Plays in Super Seniors – Event Draws 1,553

The Noon event for Sunday was the first-ever Super Seniors NL Hold’em Event. This event is only for players 65 and older and organizers had to be thrilled with the turnout on Sunday. A field of 1,553 players turned out on Sunday with a special surprise player in ten-time WSOP champion Doyle Brunson.

When Brunson showed up to the WSOP on Sunday, most figured he was there to play in the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship. Rather, he was there to play in the Super Seniors Event. During the event, WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla addressed the field and informed them of Brunson’s prescience. This resulted in a standing ovation for the two-time Main Event champion.

Unfortunately, Doyle wouldn’t make it to Day 2. He was all-in with a flush draw against the top pair of Whit Brayton. Doyle missed his draw and was eliminated.

Doyle Brunson wasn’t the only big name Super Senior in attendance on Sunday. Some of the other notables included T.J. Cloutier, Dan Harrington, Harold Angle, Barry Shulman, Steve Zolotow, Tom McEvoy, Ron Pardey, Susie Isaacs and Oklahoma Johnny Hale.

Henry Hannigan is the chip leader at the end of Day 1 action with 115,000. Some notables returning on day two are two-time bracelet winners Ron Pardey and Dan Harrington, Barry Shulman and Pierre Neuville.

The remaining 279 players will return at 11 a.m. PDT to play to the money and possibly the final table.

Poker Player’s Championship Underway

Sunday’s evening event was the much anticipated $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship. Originally, the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. in 2006, this event has evolved over the years and is now a ten-game mixed event. Most pros consider the $50k PPC the “True World Championship of Poker” because of the skill needed to be proficient at all games.

This event draws the best players in the world due to the high price tag and every table was a murderer’s row of talent. Among those in the field on Sunday included Shaun Deeb, Bill Chen, Scott Seiver, Dan Smith, Brian Rast, David Bach, John Racener, Andy Bloch, George Danzer, David Benyamine, Jennifer Harman, Brandon Shack-Harris, Robert Mizrachi, Michael Mizrachi, Ted Forrest and Brian Hastings.

The slow structure of this event resulted in few eliminations throughout the day. So far, 73 players remain out of 77 that started. Also, registration doesn’t close until 2 p.m. on Monday so we won’t know final totals or even the prize pool until that time. Scott Seiver takes the chip lead into Day 2 with 350,700 but it is still too early to start predicting winners.

Will any big names show up at the last minute or will this event be one of the smallest fields in history for the $50k PPC? We will know the answers to these questions tomorrow.

Two New Events Chase Away the Monday Blues

Two new events kick off on Monday. The Noon Event is the $2,500 NL Hold’em Event. Last year’s event drew 1,165 runners with Pierre Milan eventually taking down the title. This tournament was held on a Friday in 2014, so it will be interesting to see if it can match last year’s numbers.

The evening event is the $1,500 Seven Card Stud. This is the last regular Stud Event of the 2015 and should be well attended by pros and Stud specialists. A field of 345 entered last year’s $1,500 Stud with Eric Buchman taking the title.

Don’t forget that PokerUpdate’s $10 satellite into Event #64 will be held this Thursday at For just $10, you can become part of history as the World Series of Poker awards the first online bracelet. Login to today to learn more or to register.

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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.