The World Series of Poker has officially put cards in the air for the 46th consecutive year in Las Vegas, with a total of 68 events on tap, more than $200 million in prize money up for grabs, and a new event that will become the largest field in poker history.
Yes, all eyes in the poker world are fixated on the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, but Brandon Barnette wasted no time sightseeing all the gambling mecca has to offer, instead going straight for the jugular and capturing the WSOP’s first bracelet of 2015.
Get Back to Work!
Wednesday’s Event #1, the $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em, attracted 688 entries for a prize pool of $344,000.
After losing his chip lead during heads-up play and down to just four big blinds, Barnette rebounded thanks to an elimination facing a two-out miracle on the river, followed by a strong string of hands.
After regaining the big stack, Barnette won in style with a full house, claiming the top prize of $75,704, not bad for a day’s work. “I felt like I had the advantage when we were heads up, so my goal was just to keep the pressure on,” Barnette said following his victory.
A 29-year-old duel-rate supervisor, Barnette primarily works at the Pechanga Casino in Southern California, a casino that’s been in the news recently for its opposition to a California bill that seeks to legalize online poker.
Though $75k certainly isn’t Martin Jacobson money, nor enough to retire on, Barnette might be smart to request some more time off to try his hand at some of the richer events at the WSOP.
The $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em, $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, and $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout events have also begun, as has the biggest poker game in history, event #5, The Colossus.
The $565 No-Limit Hold’em comes with a guaranteed $5 million guaranteed prize pool, with over 20,000 expected to compete for the 10 times the buy-in purse. 14,000 had pre-registered before Friday, the first of two opening days.
Ty Stewart, WSOP executive director tweeted on Thursday, “Big thanks 2 the 14,000ish who have already registered 24 hours b4 the #Colossus even begins. Going to make the next 48 hours a lot more fun.”
No longer can the sharks swim in dark waters online at the WSOP rooms in both Nevada and New Jersey as the network debuted WSOPSTATS.com this week, a database of earnings and cashes viewable from anywhere in the country.
Just in time for its WSOP Nevada and New Jersey Online Championships, WSOPSTATS will provide live tournament updates and results for the 30 days of tournaments at both online rooms.
WSOPSTATS.com has also partnered with “Grinder School” to offer free training videos available for viewing on the site.
Though not all online poker fans are interested in data, the site would seem to appeal to the majority of grinders who are constantly analyzing whether the odds are in their favor.
The community will likely welcome being able to view and search for the biggest wins and most cashes of the year.