Just like that, the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is entering the home stretch, and the Main Event festivities will soon be upon us.

But even with the most prestigious poker tournament in all the world kicking off on July 2nd, the WSOP schedule is still in full swing.

Major championships have been conquered, elite pros have added to their resume, and a bit of poker history was made thousands of miles away from the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

To get a taste of the major milestones and six-figure scores going down at this year’s WSOP, check out the following tournament recaps:

Scott Seiver Wins 2nd Career Bracelet in $10,000 Limit Holdem World Championship

Before the WSOP got underway back in May, high-stakes cash game player Scott Seiver told his pals among the pro community that he wouldn’t be at the Rio very much.

Seiver was warning them not to draft him in the much anticipated $25,000 buy-in poker fantasy draft that the game’s best hold every year.

But lo and behold, Seiver has been dominant in his infrequent appearances this summer. He finished as the runner up in Event #8: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball, earning adding just over $111,000 to his more than $23 million in live tournament earnings.

But as the decorated veteran told PokerNews, coming so close to the gold only intensified his desire to finish his next final table out the right way:

I was so upset that I didn’t get a bracelet.
If I either won that tournament or didn’t cash, I probably wouldn’t have played another tournament all summer.

Fast forward a few weeks later, and Seiver had played his way into a second chance at redemption. Competing in Event #52: $10,000 buy-in Limit Holdem World Championship, Seiver wound up surviving through the money bubble when the field of 114 was whittled down to 18 survivors.

And while he had one bracelet from 2008 to his credit at that point, Seiver was sitting with a five-time WSOP winner in John “World” Hennigan, two three-time winners in Benny Glaser and Brock Parker, and a two-time winner in Nick Schulman.

Sufficed to say, the endgame action involved elite players who play poker better than 99 percent of humans on the planet.

Interestingly enough though, all four of those top-tier pros went bust before the nine-handed final table was set. Even so, Seiver still had experienced veterans like bracelet winner Anthony Zinno and cash game specialist Matt Glants to contend with.

By the time final table play reached the five-handed stage, Seiver was sitting on a short stack along with Glantz, creating a potential dilemma in which neither player wanted to be the first eliminated.

Fortunately for Seiver, he solved that problem himself, busting the depleted Glantz in a preflop all-in when his J-10 of diamonds outran A-Q offsuit.

Seiver later explained to PokerNews that eliminating Glantz took much of the pressure off, as he could simply focus on rebuilding and going for the win, rather than surviving to climb the pay ladder:

Honestly, I got somewhat lucky that he went out somewhat soon-ish and I was able to play more for the win at that point.
I made a couple big hands which is really what you need in this game and it helped catapult me up out of the danger zone.

Soon enough, Seiver sent Zinno – who had just finished in 2nd place in the $565 Online Pot Limit Omaha bracelet event on WSOP.com days before – to the rail in 3rd place.

At that point, he held a chip lead of 10 to 1, but Matt Szymaszek battled back to even the stacks after a series of wins and doubles. Seiver has been there and done that in poker, however, so he simply buckled down and played his best game. In the end, the cards fell his way and he claimed the last of Szymaszek’s chips to take down the title.

Along with $296,222 in prize money, Siever bagged his second gold bracelet 10 years after capturing his first. And as Seiver explained to PokerNews during the winner’s media session, getting his hands on the hardware exceeded even his own expectations:

I’ll be honest. It matters a lot to me. It really does.
I feel that I’ve really accomplished most things that I’ve set out to do in poker so far and honestly, even more than that.

Seiver also made sure to let all the poker fans out there know why embracing mixed games is so important. No Limit Holdem tends to dominate the schedule, but as Seiver pointed out to PokerNews, the Limit variety can offer a much more enjoyable experience given the right environment:

I really enjoy all the different aspects of the different games. I like the feel of a limit table better.
It’s more friendly, it’s more camaraderie. There’s a lot of laughing and joking throughout the day.
I really just enjoy limit more and I’ve done well and I’m happy with that.

To see where each of the eight finalists that Seiver beat out finished, and how much money they earned for their deep run, check out the results below:

Official Final Table Results

Scott Seiver - Official Final Table Results

Matthew Mendez Bags the First Bracelet Ever Won in New Jersey

Online bracelet events made their debut back at the 2015 WSOP, thanks to Nevada legalizing online poker and Caesars Entertainment’s launch of the WSOP.com platform.

As a result, players located anywhere in the Silver State – from Laughlin to Reno and everywhere in between – have been eligible to compete for gold and glory from the comfort of home.

This year’s schedule featured a record-high of four online events, including Event #47: $565 WSOP.com Online PotLimit Omaha 6-Handed. As the first non-No Limit Holdem bracelet event hosted by WSOP.com, Event #47 was already poised to make history.

But a historic agreement reached right before the summer started changed everything, as Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey all agreed to share their online poker player pools. In effect, a player in Nevada can now trade pots with a peer in New Jersey, as long as both are logged into WSOP.com accounts.

This new wrinkle invited players in the Garden State to fire up their laptops or mobile devices to take their shot at Event #47 – and recent New Jersey transplant Matthew Mendez made the most of that opportunity.

Squaring off against a field of 1,223 entries – including 657 unique players and 566 reentries – Mendez ducked and weaved for seven hours while playing his way to the six-handed final table. When he got there, however, he found two experienced bracelet winners waiting for him in Anthony Zinno and Ankush Mandavia.

With more than $12 million in career live tournament earnings between them, Zinno and Mandavia appeared to have the inside track toward the WSOP’s first online Pot Limit Omaha title. And knowing that Zinno’s 2015 bracelet was won in the $25,000 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha High Roller event certainly made him the prohibitive favorite.

Using the screenname “mendey,” Mendez – who brought right around $390,000 in live career earnings to the table – acquitted himself well under the bright lights of the WSOP stage.

While Mendez focused on survival and maintaining his stack, Mandavia went for a big splash when he called all-in holding K-K-10-8 against the A-K-Q-4 held by Marton “GS.GURU” Czuczor. His pocket Kings were in the lead at that point, but an Ace dropped from space on the river to end Mandavia’s tournament in 5th place for $28,745.

Czuczor did more of the final table lifting buy knocking out Alex “3shotwonder” Smith (4th place for $40,256). Smith brought A-Q-8-5 to war in a preflop coinflip, but it was Czuczor and his 10-10-7-6 who prevailed when the board brought nothing but rags.

It was more of the same for Czuczora few hands later, as he bustedZinno (3rd place for $57,299) to set the heads-up duel with Mendez. The hand was particularly cruel for Zinno, who flopped top set holding K-10-10-4 on the 10-9-5 board. Czuczorhit the flop hard too, however, and his Q-J-7-7 for an open-ended straight draw wound up as the winner when a King fell on the river.

After eliminating most of the final table, Czuczor came into heads up play holding a 3.5 to 1 chip advantage. And he also had over $1.5 million in live earnings to his name, giving the Hungarian-born pro a distinct experience advantage.

The cards don’t care about any of that though, and when Mendez found a straight flush to put a huge cooler on Czuczor and his nut flush, the game was on.

On the last deal of the night, Mendez made the nut straight with 9-8-5-3 on a beautiful J-10-7 board. Czuczor’s stack was depleted at that point, and he got the last of it in with A-K-7-5 for bottom pair and an inside straight draw. When none of his outs materialized on the turn and river, Mendez clinched the first gold bracelet ever won by somebody playing from New Jersey.

Mendez wasn’t on hand at the Rio to give a winner’s interview, but the regular at Borgata in Atlantic City recently relocated from Florida to Sicklerville, New Jersey. By winning $135,077, Mendez inched over the $500,000 mark in career tournament earnings.

That did it for the second of four online events on the WSOP schedule, and after the first one concluded a few weeks ago, WSOP.com’s head of online poker Bill Rini spoke to US Pokerabout online integration’s success thus far:

We were really pleased with the record-breaking performance of the first bracelet event, and we’re hoping the positive trends continue.

The next online bracelet tournament on WSOP.com is Event #61: $1,000 No Limit Holdem, which takes place Friday, June 29th at 3:30 p.m. Las Vegas local time.

And the online portion of the schedule concludes with Event #63: $3,200 High Roller No Limit Holdem on Saturday, June 30th at 3:30 p.m.

You can see where the six final table members from Event #47 finished, and what they won, in the table below:

Official Final Table Results

WSOP Event #47 - Official Final Table Results


The 2018 WSOP is still in full swing, but these big wins should be news even after the main event champion is crowned later this year. Whether you’re a professional poker player or an amateur looking for inspiration, you can use these big bracelet wins for motivation.

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