As Independence Day celebrations reverberated around the great United States of America, poker players were united in their pursuit of gold in Las Vegas. With four events in action, two bracelets were won, an 'Independence Day 1' welcomed almost 4,000 hopefuls to the patriotic felt and the second starting flight of the WSOP Main Event took place. 

Main Event Day 1b Sees Seidel One of Several Stars

A full Day 1b saw 616 players surive the cull from over 830 participants in the biggest poker tournament on Earth, the WSOP Main Event. With the 2004 WSOP Main Event winner Greg Raymer kicking off proceedings with the 'Shuffle up and deal!' announcement, Day 1b of Event #81, the $10,000-entry Main Event, witnessed a late surge for George Dolofan, who ended the day on 314,000 chips, just more than the Day 1a chip leader Joshua Feiger on 311,900.

In one of several narratives to the day, plenty of big names did fall, including the luckless Raymer, who became known as 'Fossilmna' when his fossil card protector helped him secure a stunning victory two decades ago. In 2024, he won't repeat the trick. 

One player to survive in style was the 1987 runner-up Erik Seidel with 183,000 chips, more than three times his starting stack.

"This was a very good Day 1 for me - to triple up is great," Seidel told reporters at the close of play. "It's very easy to go bust, so it's nice to be alive and have some chips. You buy a lottery ticket, you hope to beat some ridiculous odds. I don't take this tournament too seriously. If you get on a nice run, great!"

Seidel is already running very well and was joined by plenty of other luminaries in the chipcounts, with other big names made it a day to remember for railbirds, with Artur Martirosian (166,300), the 2019 Main Event champion Hossein Ensan (166,000), EPT creator John Duthie (119,300), Swedish legend Niklas Astedt (114,000), Italian sensation Max Pescatori (97,300), Irish former Main Event final tablist Andy Black (95,300), the 2021 Main Event winner Koray Aldemir (94,300), 888poker star Vivian Saliba (87,100), Seth Davies (73,900), and Anthony Zinno (47,500) and the birthday boy and Triple Crown winner Jake Cody (32,100) all surviving.

WSOP Event #81: $10,000 Main Event World Championship Day 1b Chip Counts

Place Player Country Chips
1st George Dolofan United States 314,000
2nd Matthew Sabia United States 297,400
3rd Patrick Hagenlocher United States 270,300
4th Vladas Tamasauskas Lithuania 268,300
5th Aaron Werner  United States 246,900
6th Junfeng Wang Australia 223,300
7th Frode Alfredsen Norway 221,200
8th Nicolaas Thielman United States 217,300
9th Florian Ribouchon France 215,400
10th Daniel Neilson Australia 214,900

Perkusic Wins Gold on Debut After Tang Defeat Heads-Up

Five players returned for the final day in Event #79, the $50,000 PLO High Roller with this summer's bracelet winner Santhosh Suvarna unable to last past fifth place. Dutch player Ronald Keijzer lost in fourth place before Jim Collopy was the last American to leave in third. Heads-up, Perkusic beat Danny Tang in a thrilling battle as Perkusic rivered a full house to beat Danny Tang's flopped set and leave Tang waiting for his second WSOP gold bracelet.

You can read all about Daniel Perkusic's superb first WSOP bracelet win in our full recap right here.

WSOP Event #79: $50,000 PLO High Roller Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize
1st Daniel Perkusic Germany $2,100,325
2nd Danny Tang Hong Kong $1,400,217
3rd Jim Collopy  United States $973,882
4th Ronald Keijzer Netherlands $692,232
5th Santhosh Suvarna India $503,085
6th Gabriel Andrade Ecuador $374,020
7th David Benyamine France $284,604
8th Brian Rast United States $221,778

Georgios Skarparis Wins Bracelet for Tragic Crash Pal 

Cyriot player Georgios Skarparis won the $1,000-entry Mini Main Event, otherwise known as Event #78 after a dramatic and emotional final day at the felt in Las Vegas. Crediting his victory in the memory of his late friend Kyriakos Oxinos, who was killed in a car accident four years ago. 

Since that fateful day in Skarparis' life, his mission has been to win gold, so that he might dedicate his victory to his late friend. Today that dream was realized in one of the biggest bracelets events ever to be attended. With almost 20,000 entries, the top prize of $554,925 belonged to Skarparis when he beat the Italian player Alexandre Barbaranelli heads-up. 

During a frenetic final table, shallow stacks flipped out or doubled up as players such as German Dick Bruns and the overnight chips leader Kyle Williamson fell in fifth anf fourth place respectively.

When the Russian player Mikhail Zavoloka left in third place, his stack ent to Skarparis and with around 80% of the chips in play, heads-up lasted little time. Barbaranelli got his last 16 big blinds in the middle with ace-three and Skarparis' ace-nine lost out, handing the Cypriot player the bracelet and fulfilling an emotional promise he made to a never-forgotten friend.

WSOP Event #78: $1,000 Mini Main Event Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize
1st Georgios Skarparis Cyprus $554,925
2nd Alexandre Barbaranelli Italy $369,994
3rd Mikhail Zavoloka Russia $276,695
4th Kyle Williamson United States $208,444
5th Dirk Bruns Germany $158,191
6th Joshua Prager United States $120,950
7th Kaihung Hu United States $93,171
8th Stefan Widmer Switzerland $72,316
9th Hunter Frey  United States $56,557

Day 1b of Independence Day Stars as Big Names Earn Stripes

After a bumper day of action in the $800-entry Independence Day Event #80, just 206 players remained in seats from a staggering 3,928 entries who celebrated America's independence in style... and at the poker table!

There was no time for sticky ribs, brisket beef or pulled pork as flops, turns and rivers were everything to survivors such as end of play chip leader William Zaiss (2,280,000), close rival Nipun Java (1,925,000), Benjamin Ector (1,690,000), Jeffrey Copeland (1,135,000), John Riordan (1,100,000), Kenny Hallaert (830,000), Bradley Gafford (755,000), and Brett Apter (340,000). A total of 356 players will return to the felt tomorrow on the second and final day of the event where someone will win gold.

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Erik Seidel, greg raymer, Artur Martirosian, WSOP 2024, Daniel Perkusic, Georgios Skarparis, George Dolofan