Bryn Kenney Grabs Chip Lead In Poker Players Championship; Smidinger Claims Seniors Win For $694k

Eric Smidinger
Eric Smidinger won his first-ever WSOP bracelet as he took the Seniors Championship title and a top prize of over $694,000.

A dramatic day of action saw seven events take place at the 2022 World Series of Poker at Bally’s and Paris in Las Vegas. Only one bracelet was won, but six other events saw some of the biggest names in the game battle for glory as Day 2 of the Poker Players Championship took place with ramifications for the WSOP Player of the Year race as well as one of the most coveted bracelets of the summer.

Day 2 of Poker Players Championship Sees Kenney Clean Up

 

The second day of action in the $50,000-entry Poker Players Championship saw the field locked, the reigning champion survive and Bryn Kenney pile up a chip lead in one of the most exciting days at the WSOP so far. Kenney bagged up just over 2 million chips to leave himself in pole position among 41 survivors of a 101-entrant field.

With a prize pool of $5.3 million, Kenney’s stack has him in the lead as players race to reach 17 paid money places and that tantalizing top prize on offer of just under $1.5 million. Kenney will have a long way to go if he wants to win the prize, but with Justin Bonomo not taking part, Kenney’s lead of $10,000 at the top of the all-time money list looks likely to be stretched, with even a min-cash worth $83k.

Kenney is being chased down by some terrific poker players, with in-form 2022 WSOP payer Michael Moncek (1,702,000), the 2021 WSOP Main Event winner Koray Aldemir (1,427,000) and Brazilian online poker legend Yuri Dzivielevski (1,405,000) all fairly close behind. Mixed game specialists Benny Glaser (1,255,000) and Adam Friedman (1,220,000) both made the top ten, with Heads Up bracelet winner Dan Smith not far behind on 1,065,000 chips.

Others fell on Day 2, including stars of the game such as Brian Hastings, David Benyamine, Talal Shakerchi, Shaun Deeb, former winner Phil Hui and Phil Hellmuth, who is yet to make the latter stages of a final table in his pursuit of bracelet #17 this series.

WSOP 2022 Event #56: $50,000 Poker Players Championship Top 10 Chipcounts:

  1. Bryn Kenney – 2,064,000
  2. Michael Moncek – 1,702,000
  3. Koray Aldemir – 1,427,000
  4. Yuri Dzivielevski – 1,405,000
  5. Scott Bohlman – 1,379,000
  6. Taylor Paur – 1,344,000
  7. Johannes Becker – 1,338,000
  8. Benny Glaser – 1,255,000
  9. Adam Friedman – 1,220,000
  10. David Williams – 1,082,000

Smidinger Wins, Liebert Loses Early in Seniors Championship Drama

A dramatic ending to the five-handed final table of the$1,000 buy-in Seniors Championship saw Event #47 close out with an emotional winner. Coming into play, Ben Sarnoff had a big lead, while both Eric Smidinger and Kathy Liebert started out in the middle of the pack. That all changed, however, as Liebert left early and Smidinger staged a remarkable heads-up comeback to win gold.

With five starting and Liebert in the middle of the pack, the Women’s Hall of Famer and 2022 Poker Hall of Fame nominee would have been hoping to win her first WSOP bracelet since 2004. That ambition fell to pieces as Liebert shoved for six big blinds with KcKd as she was quickly called by Ben Sarnoff with AcAh. The queen-high board gave no hope to Liebert and she left with a prize of $186,541 rather than the gold she craved.

Italian player Biagio Morciano left next in fourth place as he failed to spin up a day of being the short stack. He shoved for eight bigs with AcJs and would need to hit against Smidinger’s 8c8d. The board of Td4c3hKdKh gave Morciano little to work with until the turn and he missed 10 outs on the river to bust for $244,664.

Out in third place was Charles Mitchell as the all-American three-handed party was broken up. Mitchell was all-in from the start of the hand for 11 big blinds with AsKd, but with both his opponents checking to the river, lost out to Sarnoff’s AdJs after the board came Jd8d5s9d4s. Mitchell cashed for $323,057, but missed out on heads-up, where Smidinger had a deficit of 31.5 million chips to 115.5 million chips to make up.

Everything changed in the final duel. Sarnoff lost a series of small pots to his opponent and with the chips close to level, then lost to Smidinger’s trip threes to fall 2:1 behind. In a desperate bid to re-establish control, Sarnoff made a bold bluff, but a Smidinger call on the river saw both hands hit the muck and a 6:1 led open up for the eventual champion.

A few minutes later, it was all over. Sarnoff shoved for 13 big blinds with AhKh and was called by Smidinger with 8s8h. Sarnoff needed to win the race to survive, but instead the board played out Qd6c4d7hJd, and Smidinger yelled “Yeah, baby!” to his rail as he celebrated the first gold bracelet win of his career. The emotional winner won $694,909 for taking down the epic tournament and Sarnoff claimed $429,420 for coming in second.

WSOP 2022 Event #47: $1,000 Seniors Championship Final Table Results:               

   

  1. Eric Smidinger – $694,909
  2. Ben Sarnoff – $429,420
  3. Charles Mitchell – $323,057
  4. Biagio Morciano – $244,664
  5. Kathy Liebert – $186,541

Colossus Reaches Final Seven as Laskowitz Leads

A total of 68 players fought their way to a final seven in the $400-entry Colossus event, the 51st event on the 2022 WSOP schedule. With a top prize of $414,490 up for grabs, just seven remain, with none of the final table players having won a gold WSOP bracelet ever before.

It is New York-based player Sam Lakowitz who holds the lead, with the East Coast player piling up 206,500,000 chips on the other side of the country. He has a huge lead over British player Paul Hizer (132,000,000), while others such as the overnight chip leader Frenchman Jordan Pelon (68,000,000) and Jeff Loiacono (56,000,000) are some way back. Three shorter stacks have less than 20% of the chip leader’s stack, with Luong Quach (38,500,000), Anthony Ruttler (32,000,000) and James Scott (13,500,000) all looking to perform miracles at the biggest final table of their lives.

WSOP 2022 Event #51: $400 Colossus Final Table Chipcounts:                   

  1. Sam Laskowitz – 206,500,000
  2. Paul Hizer – 132,000,000
  3. Jordan Pelon – 68,000,000
  4. Jeff Loiacono – 56,000,000
  5. Luong Quach – 38,500,000
  6. Anthony Ruttler – 32,000,000
  7. James Scott – 13,500,000

Greenstein and Zolotow Fall on Day 2 of Warriors Event

A busy day of action on Day 2 of the $500-entry Salute to Warriors Event #54 saw Barry Greenstein and Steve Zolotow two high-profile casualties as 498 players were reduced to just 21 survivors on the day. With tomorrow’s Day 3 the final day of the event, it was James Todd (20,000,000) who led the remaining ‘21 player salute’ with his closest rivals at the end of Day 2 being Rigoberto Rodriguez (14,950,000), Todd Saffron (11,900,000) and Nicholas Sena-Hopkins (10,305,000).

With 16 players busting outside the money bubble on Day 2, most made a profit, including two well-known former gold holders in Steve Zolotow (141st for $1,460) and Barry Greenstein (63rd for $2,691). None of the remaining players have ever won a bracelet before, so poker history will be made on Tuesday when the last 21 players return to battle for the $161,256 top prize.

WSOP 2022 Event #54: $500 Salute to Warriors Top 10 Chipcounts:                   

  1. James Todd – 20,000,000
  2. Rigoberto Rodriguez – 14,950,000
  3. Todd Saffron – 11,900,000
  4. Nicholas Sena-Hopkins – 10,305,000
  5. Zyad Qasem – 10,000,000
  6. Patrick Pilko – 9,900,000
  7. Brett Coltman – 9,300,000
  8. Elias Neto – 9,200,000
  9. Matthew Vaughan – 7,750,000
  10. Richard Strainis – 6,650,000

Just 20 Left in Tag Team Event with Leonard and Kerstetter’s Teams Alive

With 183 players kicking off Day 2 of the $1,000-entry Tag Team Event #55, only 20 teams of two would make the final day. Of those 20, it was Mackenzie Kraemer and Jon Schiller’s team who piled up the most chips, with a stack of 1,715,000 meaning they have a little breathing room between them and their challengers, chiefly Adam Russell and Ryan O’Grady (1,575,000) as well as Justin Barnum and DJ Buckley (1,505,000).

The most experienced players in the field lurk in the middle ranks, with Patrick Leonard and Espen Jørstad (1,060,000), a few places ahead of Corey Paggeot and Jamie Kerstetter (700,000), both of whom will feel a bracelet is a distinct possibility. Players to leave on Day 2 included Veronica Brill and K.L. Cleeton as well as Jerod Smith and Melissa Bryne, meaning others have the chance of taking home the $148,067 top prize on tomorrow’s final day of action in this event.

WSOP 2022 Event #55: $1,000 Tag Team Event Top 10 Chipcounts:                    

  1. Mackenzie Kraemer and Jon Schiller – 1,715,000
  2. Adam Russell and Ryan O’Grady – 1,575,000
  3. Justin Barnum and DJ Buckley – 1,505,000
  4. Nick Yunis and Reynel Hernandez – 1,350,000
  5. Franco Spitale and Martin Pochat – 1,270,000
  6. Curtis Knight and Chris Barnes – 1,205,000
  7. Patrick Leonard and Espen Jørstad – 1,060,000
  8. Julian Rugna and Franco Gasparini – 1,020,000
  9. Colin Robinson and Harry Lodge – 965,000
  10. Jason Lipiner and Dekel Balas – 830,000

Two More Bracelet Events Close Day 28 Action

Two more events closed out the action on Day 28 of the 2022 World Series of Poker. In the $600-entry NLHE Deepstack Championship, 4,913 entries were whittled down to 560 survivors as Jesse Engel (864,000) and Bart Lybaert (834,000) piled up chips and the bubble burst at the close of play. With a $2.5 million prize pool, Bradley Miller (1,165,000) scored the most chips on Day 1, with Mark Olivo (1,052,000) and John Ypma (1,000,000) coming in on the podium places on the leaderboard too.

Other big names to make the curt and keep their hopes of winning the $299,464 top prize alive included four-time bracelet winner Jeremy Ausmus (502,000), Kelly Minkin (297,000), and Chris Moorman (96,000), who will be looking to go one better than his runner-up finish just the other day.

WSOP 2022 Event #57: $600 Deepstack NLHE Championship Top 10 Chipcounts:               

           

  1. Bradley Miller – 1,165,000
  2. Mark Olivo – 1,052,000
  3. John Ypma – 1,000,000
  4. Christopher Grim – 980,000
  5. Yota Mitsui – 918,000
  6. Marc Tremblay – 875,000
  7. Justin Kushi – 872,000
  8. Jesse Engel – 864,000
  9. Uri Kadosh – 855,000
  10. Bart Lybaert – 834,000

Finally, Justin Liberto (791,000) leads the 203 players who survived Day 1 of the $1,500 buy-in PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better Event #58. With 1,303 entries, the bubble is looming, with just 196 of the remaining players due to be paid. Nearest challengers Richard Crooks (675,000) and Jacob Ferro (639,000) will be a threat, as will stars such as David Prociak (432,000), who continues his strong first half of the series with another top 10 Day 1 finish.

British mixed game cash pro Richie Allen (425,000) one-time One Drop legend Connor Drinan (270,000), popular professional Jared Jaffee (251,000), Irish Main Event final table player Eoghan O’Dea (244,000) and WSOP Player of the Year leader Daniel Zack (178,000) will all come into Day 2 with above average chips and hopes of claiming the $289,610 top prize.

WSOP 2022 Event #58: $1,500 PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better Top 10 Chipcounts:

  1. Justin Liberto – 791,000
  2. Richard Crooks – 675,000
  3. Jacob Ferro – 639,000
  4. Peter Neff – 568,000
  5. Michael Banducci – 555,000
  6. Rodney Spriggs – 499,000
  7. David Prociak – 432,000
  8. Richie Allen – 425,000
  9. Bradley Helm – 424,000
  10. Corey Wade – 415,000

It’s a mark of how much players respect someone when they mention them in their Tweet about winning $2.8million in the Super High Roller. Brandon Steven’s star has definitely risen this series and he’s as modest as ever.

Mustapha Kanit continued the Kid Poker humor with a jovial jibe about ordering dinner in the WSOP in-joke that seems like it’ll run and run!

Jennifer Harman admitted to her own ‘Negreanu moment’ back in the day as she sat down in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship.

A limited-edition pair of Nike shoes has been making the rounds at the World Series, as signatures from some of the best players in the world have made the sneakers invaluable.

Finally, a simple question from Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates can spawn a hundred different answers, each crazier than the last. Welcome to the jungle.

Official photographs courtesy of PokerGO, the home of live-streamed action throughout the 2022 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

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