A brand new event for the 2018 World Series of Poker played out alongside the Main Event final table on Friday as Day 1 of Event #77: $50,000 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller kicked off at 3 p.m. Featuring shot clocks and big blind antes, a field of 97 gathered with Matthias Eibinger bagging best.
Just 31 are left moving forward towards the second and final day after a star-studded lineup filtered through the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino throughout Day 1. Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, David Kitai, and young guns Dominik Nitsche, Adrian Mateos, and Fedor Holz each waged their war on the felt.
The field also saw former WSOP Main Event champions in the mix with Chris Ferguson, Jonathan Duhamel, Ryan Riess, and Joe McKeehen all taking a seat. Unfortunately, the day did not go so well for the majority of the bunch. Only Riess (965,000) and Negreanu (590,000) survived.
When registration closed, a total of 128 entries had been received, based on 97 unique players and 31 re-entries, creating a prize pool worth $6,144,000. The top 20 spots will get paid with anyone making the money guaranteed at least $74,623. Making the final table will lock up $173,604 and awaiting the eventual champion is, of course, a shiny, new WSOP gold bracelet and a top prize worth $1,650,773.
The man with the best shot at the title through the first 14 levels of play is Eibinger, mustering an impressive 2,120,000. Jake Schindler (2,050,000), Isaac Haxton (1,955,000), Elio Fox (1,875,000) and the UK's Daniel Merrilees (1,865,000), round out the top five with likes of Juan Pardo Dominguez (1,650,000), Stefan Schillhabel (1,570,000), Nick Petrangelo (1,500,000), Ben Yu (1,500,000), and Jason Koon (1,450,000) creeping behind.
One of the largest pots of the day spelled the end for David Peters and propelled Elio Fox to the top of the counts. Fox opened from the hijack with a raise to 43,000 and in the cutoff, Eibinger made it 126,000. Action folded to the big blind where Peters moved all in for right around 600,000. The action was back on Fox who asked for a count then moved all in himself. Eibinger quickly released. The most classic of races was underway with Fox having ace-king against Peters' pocket queens. The board ran out ace-high and that gave Fox the winning pair of aces, chipping him up to over 1,700,000 while Peters hit the rail. Fox ended the night with 1,875,000, concluding play in the top five.
Stephen Chidwick also suffered a brutal defeat to exit late on Day 1. Chidwick was all in with pocket jacks for his last 600,000 against Ben Yu holding ace-king suited. A jack-ten-ace flop gave Chidwick top set and Yu top pair. The turn was a diamond and gave Yu a flush draw, which completed on the river to send Chidwick to the rail.
Other notables to see their stack dispersed amongst the survivors included Justin Bonomo, Stefen Sontheimer, Rainer Kempe, Koray Aldemir, Cary Katz, Brian Rast, Mike Leah, David Peters, and Bryn Kenney along with an ocean full of other sharks.
The remaining players will return for action on Saturday, July 14, with Day 2 kicking off at 2 p.m. The blinds will be 15,000/30,000 with a 30,000 big blind ante. Play is scheduled to continue unit the last player is standing.
Stay tuned to the blog as PokerNews will be on the floor providing live coverage until the last card comes off the deck and the latest WSOP champion is crowned.