This summer, hundreds of thousands of players will pass through the doors of the newly-renovated Horseshoe Las Vegas, formerly known as Bally’s. For the second year in a row, the venue will play host to the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP).
As players pack the casino for the 54th annual WSOP, many of them will saunter by a lavish steakhouse. For some, it’ll be just another restaurant, maybe one they’ll attend to celebrate a bracelet win, but for others, they’ll recognize the name on the sign, the man responsible for poker’s premier event – Jack Binion.
Now 86 years old, Binion is a titan of the gaming industry and the son of casino magnate Benny Binion. Together, they launched the WSOP back in 1970 at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. Over the next four decades, Jack Binion would go on to change not only the poker landscape but also the casino industry throughout the United States. Along the way, he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame and became an icon of the game.
Binion doesn’t relish the spotlight, so interviews with the born-and-raised Texan are few and far between. However, late last year he sat down with PokerNews for an intimate and in-depth conversation about his life in poker.
Daniel Rezaei built a big stack early on Day 1 of Event #2: $25,000 High Roller 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em and never relinquished it, leading the 58 survivors into Day 2 with 1,368,000.
Rezaei was helped to the top by busting Shannon Shorr with a turned flush, then making a big call for 100,000 on the river holding pocket fours. The Austrian pro has 37 WSOP cashes dating back to 2018, but is still searching for his first final table appearance.
End of Day 1 Top 10 Chip Counts
Right behind him is Justin Liberto, who’s no stranger to success in the six-max format. Liberto’s lone WSOP bracelet came in a $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max event in 2015. He busted two players, including Joseph Cheong, on the last level of the night to finish at 1,147,000. Bin Weng, coming off two straight WPT final table appearances in the last week, was sharing a table with Liberto and tangled with him in a big pot on his way to bagging 975,000.
Other notables to survive the day include Daniel Negreanu, who had to reenter but fared much better on his second bullet, picking up pocket kings to double up and finish with 610,000. Bill Klein (888,000), Darren Elias (685,000), Chance Kornuth (615,000), and reigning Main Event champion Espen Jorstad (563,000) joined him near the top of the leaderboard. Further down the leaderboard are Kristen Foxen (411,000), Ethan “Rampage” Yau (393,000), and Phil Hellmuth (340,000).
Not everyone was fortunate enough to make it through Day 1. Alex Foxen, Yuri Dzivielevski, Stephen Chidwick, Josh Arieh, and Scott Seiver were among those who headed for the rail and will be forced to try again tomorrow if they want to capture the bracelet.
A total of 187 players gathered inside the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas throughout the day, building up a prize pool of more than $4,000,000. With late registration open until the start of play on Day 2, that number should grow before the payouts are confirmed.
Day 2 will resume on May 31 at noon local time inside the King’s Lounge in the Paris Ballroom. PokerNews will be on hand providing live updates as the field narrows down past the money bubble and on towards the final table.
After Joey Weissman checked a 10♦7♣7♥ flop from the big blind, Shaun Deeb bet 15,000.
Weissman called, and the turn brought the 4♦.
Weissman checked and Deeb bet 30,000. Weissman raised to 82,000 and Deeb called.
The river came 2♥, and Weissman open-jammed for 151,000. Deeb used two time banks feeling his opponent out. "You say you're on your first bullet, right?" he asked, and Weissman laughed. Eventually Deeb called, showing K♠10♠ for two pair.
Weissman paused a moment before showing A♥7♠. The table needled Weissman for the delay, but Deeb was gracious. "You tried to get me mad at you, but you're too nice!"
"That's my first ever slow roll!" Weissman exclaimed.
Jimmy D'Ambrosio moved all in for 90,000 from the cutoff as action folded to Stephen Chidwick in the big blind, who stuck in the rest of his chips.
Stephen Chidwick: K♥10♠
Jimmy D'Ambrosio: A♥J♦
D'Ambrosio hit top pair on the Q♠A♦2♣ flop while Chidwick picked up a straight draw. Chidwick didn't receive any help on the 7♥ turn or K♣ river as a count of the chips showed Chidwick had around 70,000 remaining, sending him to the rail.
Joseph Cheong was all in from the button for around 95,000 and up against big stack Justin Liberto in the big blind.
Joseph Cheong: K♥8♥
Justin Liberto: Q♦Q♠
Cheong got renewed hope on the 2♣6♥2♥ flop, picking up a flush draw, but couldn't connect with the 8♣ turn or J♠ river and hit the rail. Liberto, after losing the big pot to Bin Weng, is now back up over 1,000,000.