Derek McMaster focused on the fun on Sunday as he took down the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event. (WSOP photo)

The first three flights of the $500 Big 50 were busy and chaotic, but it turns out they were but a dress rehearsal for what happened Sunday at the 2019 World Series of Poker as 9,171 entries made the final flight the busiest day of the summer and officially turned the Big 50 into a record-shattering event. All of that somewhat overshadowed the two bracelets won on Sunday and a deep run by Phil Hellmuth that could have shaken the online poker world to its core.

Big 50 Officially Becomes Largest Live Poker Tournament

When the WSOP announced the Big 50 as the kickoff to their way of celebrating the kickoff to the 50th annual WSOP, expectations were high – but not high enough. After 19,326 players crammed the Rio hallways over the first three days, 9,171 showed up on Sunday to break the record for largest field ever.

Players who didn’t have a seat at the start of the day were lining up in the hallways as early as 8 AM with hopes of being one of the first players seated in the second wave of seating. The lines stretched in and out of nearly every one of the rooms in play with some players reporting waiting upwards of eight hours to get a seat.

Andrei Khosh finished Day 1D with 970,000 for the biggest stack of the day. Arne Kern (963,000) and Kevin Mooney (944,000) were the only other players to break through the 900,000 chip mark. They’re just three of the 2,103 players moving on to Day 2D.

Some of the notables who also managed to bag chips on Sunday include Randy Lew, Grant Hinkle, David ‘Bakes’ Baker, Alex Lynskey, Craig Varnell and Anatoly Filatov.

Players who advanced from Day 1C will return for Day 2C on Monday while Day 2D survivors will have an off day before returning to the felt on Tuesday. The players who survive the four Day 2s will combine into one field on Wednesday.

Top 10 Day 1D Chip Counts

  1. Andrei Khosh – 970,000
  2. Arne Kern – 963,000
  3. Kevin Mooney – 944,000
  4. Shahin Shojaeyan – 860,000
  5. Muhammad Abdel Rahim – 860,000
  6. Kevin Young – 823,000
  7. Jeremy Martinez – 811,000
  8. Fabrizio D’Agostino – 805,000
  9. Richard Kirsch – 800,000
  10. Wallace Dawkins – 779,000

Derek McMaster Wins $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo

Derek McMaster knows the key to playing well, no matter what the stage is he’s playing on.

“I try to just have fun when I’m playing. If I’m not having fun I’m usually not doing very well,” McMaster said. “The more fun I have, it seems like stuff goes my way.”

He was clearly having a blast on Sunday afternoon as things definitely went his way at the final table of the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event. The 46-year-old Minnesota native defeated Jason Berilgen heads-up to win the first bracelet of his career and $228,228.

“It was very surreal to me. I’ve just been on cloud nine since (Saturday) night, all week,” McMaster said. “I was happy to be here and I enjoyed playing with these guys.”

McMaster said John Esposito, who started the final table with the chip lead, was the player who he had the most difficulty with. Esposito finished third for $98,807.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Derek McMaster – $228,228
  2. Jason Berilgen – $141,007
  3. John Esposito – $98,807
  4. David Halpern – $70,231
  5. Joe Aronesty – $50,646
  6. Tom McCormick – $37,063
  7. Ben Yu – $27,530

Yong ‘LuckySpewy1’ Kwon Wins $400 Online Event; Hellmuth Fifth

The #2-ranked online poker player in the United States, Yong ‘LuckySpewy1’ Kwon, showed why he’s ranked so high on Sunday, beating 1,964 other players to win the $400 Online No Limit Hold’em event for just over $165,000.

Kwon’s accomplishment was almost overshadowed though by the presence of Phil Hellmuth at the final table. Playing under the screen name ‘lumestackin‘, Hellmuth finished fifth for $39,459.60.

The event attracted 1,965 players to create a total prize pool of $1,017,000.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Yong ‘LUCKSYSPewy1’ Kwon – $165.262.50
  2. MeatIsMurder – $99,360.90
  3. merrick – $73,020.60
  4. LeakStain – $53,494.20
  5. Phil ‘lumestackin’ Hellmuth – $39,459.60
  6. DjPhilWiLL – $29,493
  7. MeatJustice – $22,374
  8. FlatcallSPC – $17,085.60
  9. ROopert – $13,119.30

Ben Heath Leads $50K High Roller Final Table

Just 12 players returned to the felt on Sunday in the $50,000 High Roller event and it took less than four hours to get to a final table of six.

Britain’s Ben Heath started and ended the day with the chip lead. Heath bagged up 7,630,000 which puts him just ahead of American Sam Soverel with 7,540,000. Heath eliminated three players on Sunday (Matthew Gonzales, David Einhorn, Elio Fox) on his way to the chip lead.

Andrew Lichtenberger (5,615,000) and Chance Kornuth (5,000,000) make up the middle of the pack while Nick Petrangelo (4,100,000)

Gonzales, Grafton, Manig Loeser, Einhorn, Cary Katz and Elio Fox were the six players eliminated on Sunday, all finishing in the money with a six-figure score.

Action resumes at Noon PT with the event streaming on PokerGO beginning at 1 PM PT.

Final Table Chip Counts

  1. Ben Heath – 7,630,000
  2. Sam Soverel – 7,540,000
  3. Andrew Lichtenberger – 5,615,000
  4. Chance Kornuth – 5,000,000
  5. Nick Petrangelo – 4,100,000
  6. Dmitry Yurasov – 3,660,000

Jake Schwartz Continues to Lead $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw

It’s somewhat unusual to see a player finish Day 1 of a mix game event and hold onto that lead at the end of Day 2. Jake Schwartz accomplished exactly that on Sunday, bagging up 789,000 at the end of Day 2 of the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw event after finishing Day 1 with the biggest stack.

Schwartz has yet to win a WSOP bracelet. His closest call came in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Simeon Naydenov in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout event.

Just 13 players remain in contention for the bracelet and $160,447 first place prize. Sumir Mathur sits second with 574,000. Two-time bracelet winner Mike Gorodinsky sits fourth with 483,000.

Other notables still alive include Mark Gregorich (280,000), Jon Turner (228,000), Dan Zack (208,000), and Bryce Yockey (99,000).

Action resumes at 2 PM and will continue until a winner is crowned.

Top 10 Chip Counts

  1. Jake Schwartz – 789,000
  2. Sumir Mathur – 574,000
  3. Brayden Gazlay – 490,000
  4. Mike Gorodinsky – 483,000
  5. David Gee – 441,000
  6. Jesse Hampton – 305,000
  7. Andrew Yeh – 282,000
  8. Mark Gregorich – 280,000
  9. Jon Turner – 228,000
  10. Dan Zack – 208,000

$10K Short Deck Gets Short Field on Day 1

One of the most highly-anticipated events on the 2019 WSOP schedule was the $10,000 Short Deck No Limit Hold’em event. Played by some of the game’s highest stakes regulars, Short Deck has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity over the past two years. So much so that the WSOP included it in their schedule.

That being said, the first day of play drew just 61 entries – a far cry from the 200 players that some were expecting. Registration is open until the end of the second level of play on Monday and each player is allowed to re-enter once which should lead to a higher final number of players.

Gabe Patgorski, one of just 25 players to have won more than $1 million in Short Deck tournaments, finished Day 1 with the lead after putting 388,000 in his bag. Alex Epstein, who has never cashed in a Short Deck tournament, ended in second with 323,000.

Only 18 players finished Day 1 including Ben Lamb, Thai Ha, Jason Somerville, Justin Bonomo, Peter Jetten, and Dario Sammartino.

Some of the players who were eliminated at least once on Sunday include Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, David Peters, Dan Smith, Mike WEatson and Brian Green.

Players will return at 3 PM to play another eight levels of play.

Top 10 Chip Counts

  1. Gabe Patgorski – 388,800
  2. Alex Epstein – 323,000
  3. Anson Tsang – 307,400
  4. Liu Jiaxiu – 267,700
  5. Galen Hall – 266,000
  6. Yang Wang – 256,300
  7. Thai Ha – 221,000
  8. Ben Lamb – 209,300
  9. Sean Winter – 207,800
  10. James Chen – 140,400