Two GOATS in their own right, Doug Polk and Phil Ivey, have both officially made their 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) debuts in what is one of the most stacked tournaments of the summer.
Event #8: $25,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship began at noon PT on Friday with 64 of the best and most popular players in the game, all just hoping to keep pace with the great John Smith, of course.
Smith, who finished second in this event twice (2016, 2017), faced Ivey in the first round. Other notables in the field are Shaun Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, Kane Kalas, Stephen Chidwick, and reigning world champion Espen Jorstad.
Polk Notices His Stack was too Big
Barely 30 minutes into play, Polk found himself in the middle of a controversy, but this time he wasn’t the one causing a stir. Following a bet on the river against first round opponent Shunta Someya, the Upswing Poker founder noticed his stack seemed a bit larger than it should have been.
The previous hand ended in a chop, and it appeared that the dealer hadn’t properly split the pot. Both players should have been close to even at that point, but Polk’s stack was noticeably larger. As soon as he figured that out, he immediately asked for the floor to come over and look over the tape so they could determine Someya’s proper stack size.
In the end, there was no need to check the surveillance video as the two agreed that Polk would give Someya half the river bet back and they returned to action.
Polk, arguably the best heads-up no-limit hold’em player of all-time, made a surprising appearance at the WSOP just days after losing nearly $1 million on Hustler Casino Live.
The three-time bracelet and co-owner of The Lodge Card Club near Austin, Texas would defeat Someya within an hour and advance to the second round later in the day.
Polk told PokerNews he has no intention of grinding out an extensive summer schedule and only made the decision to play the heads-up tournament hours before it began. He was still in Los Angeles following the Hustler game and took an early morning flight over to Las Vegas.
Phil Ivey has Arrived
Speaking of GOATS, arguably the best overall poker player in history, Phil Ivey, graced the WSOP world with his presence in the same event. He’s in search of his 11th bracelet, which would put him alone in second place behind Phil Hellmuth (16).
Ivey hasn’t won a bracelet since 2014 but he did have a strong performance at the World Series of Poker last year, cashing in nine events and reaching four final tables.
While Polk’s match ended in a relatively short manner, Ivey’s match was quite the marathon. It lasted more than four hours and was far and away the longest out of 32 first round games. An hour before it concluded, only one other game remained — Chidwick (winner) against Ben Yu (loser).
At long last, just before the second round session began, Ivey was all in preflop with A♥10♥ against Smith’s KxQx. Two queens appeared on the flop and that was the end of the match, nearly five hours after it began. Ivey quickly exited the room at Paris Las Vegas and can now get ready for his next tournament. Smith defeated Ivey in the heads-up event for the second consecutive year.
Negreanu Cools off Weng
In another entertaining battle, Negreanu beat the seemingly unbeatable Bin Weng in the first round. Weng has been on a tear in tournament poker this year.
Not only did he reach consecutive World Poker Tour (WPT) final tables — winning one. He also had a $1 million score for winning The Return at Borgata and took down his first ever World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) ring.
Weng cashed in his first WSOP event of the summer — Event #2: $25,000 High Roller (6-Handed). He took sixth place for $62,763 in that event. On Friday, however, he was unable to advance beyond the opening round and was cooled off by a Poker Hall of Famer in short fashion.