One of the more elite events of the Series, the $10k WSOP 2016 Heads Up Championship, has been reduced to its final four players. Unlike some other events, this particular one usually tends to attract the biggest sharks in the industry, with an occasional fish caught in the net.
153 entrants in the WSOP 2016 Heads Up Championship
Total of 153 players took it to the felt, paying their $10k buy-ins for the privilege to measure up against the best. With an odd numbers of participants at the end of registration, it was impossible to structure the event in such a way as to seat everyone for the first round of play.
Instead, 103 players received byes, meaning they automatically move to Round 2, while 50 of them had to play it out, with winners moving forward to round the number up at 128. Players who had to play were selected randomly by a computer to maintain fairness of the event.
Big names battling it out for $320k first prize
The total prize pool generated for this event was just shy of $1.2 million. Sixteen players were set to get paid, but considering the average player in this event, it is safe to assume they all had their eyes fixed on the $320k first place and the bracelet.
But, as it is the case with tournaments, there can only be one winner and dreams of many high-profile pros were crushed one by one. Some of those who made their exit during the very first round include Justin Bonomo, Daniel ‘KidPoker’ Negreanu, Sorel Mizzi, and Michael Mizrachi.
Insane match vs @trickyscarfy we played so long they started the next round with us still playing! He got me in the end with AA
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) June 8, 2016
Sixty four more players were sent packing during the next round, which saw the likes of George Danzer, Jason Mercier, former WSOP Main Event winner Joe Cada, and three-time WPT winner Chino Rheem all hit the rail.
One of the players in the field, who was also eliminated during this round, was Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson whose appearance at this year’s World Series of Poker steered a lot of controversy in the community. For better or for worse, ‘Jesus’ has clearly made up his mind and he is in Las Vegas to play some poker, despite of very vocal discontent of numerous players.
Ferguson was defeated by Bryn Kenney, and when it was all said and done, Kenney did not try to add insult to injury but simply wished ‘Jesus’ good luck this summer.
The next round saw a few more big names bow out, including the reigning WSOP champ Joe McKeehen, his predecessor Martin Jacobson, Andrew Lichtenberger and a few others.
The money round
With just 32 players remaining in the field, the money round was set to begin. Everyone who made it through would be guaranteed a payout of at least $24,600. Falling just short of that goal were Max Silver, Scott Baumstein, Bryn Kenney, and Max Altergott, to mention just a few.
The good news is that @olivierbusquet never made me think I had a chance to win… So there was minimal heartbreak..out for a mincash
— Jared Jaffee (@jaredjaffee21) June 8, 2016
The tournament was down to the round of sixteen, where the likes of Jared Jaffe, Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari, and Adrian Mateos, were stopped in their quest for the bracelet. Following in their footsteps in the next round were, Nick Yunis, Matthew Diehl, Orlando Romero, and Benjamin Geisman.
The final four
Four more players remain in the contention for the WSOP 2016 Heads Up Championship bracelet. Two of them are well known, as they are Olivier Busquet and Alex Luneau, both of whom have had some impressive results on the felt and are clear favorites to win the WSOP 2016 Heads Up Championship.
The other two, however, are not that famous. John Smith has close $850,000 in live tournament earnings, with his best cash being $127,410. If he doesn’t reach the final round tonight, he won’t be breaking that record, as his guaranteed payout stands at $123k. Regardless of that, this is an impressive result for the 69-year old in such a tough competition.
Alan Percal is a young gun. Being only 23-years old and with $225k in live tournament earnings, he is guaranteed the best cash of his career tonight. If things happen to go his way, he could be walking away from the tables earning more from this even than from all other events he played in combined. That, plus a coveted WSOP bracelet.