One Drop on ESPN: No Repeat Heads-Up as Stars Fall from ONE DROP

Posted on August 6, 2014

Episodes 3 and 4 of the 2014 World Series of Poker Big One for ONE DROP tournament aired on ESPN Tuesday night.

The first two episodes showed the field of the $1 million buy-in tournament grow to 42 players and the prize pool to $37,333,338. And as fast as players bought in, they also exited, leaving only 16 of them for the start of Episode 3.

Viewers were given everything in the two most recent episodes, from painful bustouts to interesting players to watch, and the field was thinned from 16 players to the nine who would take seats at the final table.

Episode 3: Exciting Notion of Repeat Heads-Up Match from 2012 Squashed

The television episode started with Artist N-Q and his smooth rhyme about the Big One for ONE DROP tournament:

The highest of high stakes poker tournaments is already underway.

So far, we’ve seen all-ins, big bluffs, and million-dollar dreams delayed.

We’ve seen some players turning lemons into lemonade,

But the pressure’s only building to the largest stage.

They say you make your fate.

Tonight, we’ll scale down to a final table, and I can’t wait.

But first we get to see who makes the cut and keeps the pace,

Cuz poker’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon race.

Action got underway with Tom Hall as the chip leader, and the blinds at 60K/120K with a 15K ante.

The featured story at the start of the episode was the presence of Antonio Esfandiari and Sam Trickett in the top 16. They finished first and second, respectively, in the 2012 Big One event, and a rematch was the talk of the day.

Commentator Norman Chad said it would be the fifth greatest rematch of all time, behind Ali / Frazier, Magic / Bird, John Quincy Adams / Andrew Jackson, and Wile E. Coyote / Road Runner.

The feature table was set up with these players and chip stacks:

  1. Antonio Esfandiari 15,825,000
  2. Daniel Colman 11,730,000
  3. Sam Trickett 8,985,000
  4. Tobias Reinkemeier 7,420,000
  5. Phil Galfond 5,635,000
  6. Paul Newey 5,305,000
  7. Daniel Negreanu 4,105,000
  8. Scott Seiver 3,695,000

Negreanu started in with a double-up through Colman with pocket aces over tens, and the Player Tracker showed Negreanu move up to sixth place on the leaderboard. He continued to chip up by taking chips from Esfandiari, but he proceeded to lose some to Reinkemeier.

Meanwhile, Esfandiari took a pot from Trickett as the pair faced off with somewhat low cards. Esfandiari started with T-7 and flopped the straight when it came 9-8-J, and Trickett had 9-6 that turned into a lower straight after the 5 and 7 completed the board. Esfandiari took the 5.82 million-chip pot.

On the outer table, Christoph Vogelsang was low on chips in the first WSOP tournament he ever played but doubled through Ivey with kings over tens.

Bustout alert: Short-stacked Anthony Gregg pushed his last 12 big blinds all-in with A-2 but ran into the pocket threes of Vogelsang. The board of T-Q-5-T-T eliminated Gregg in 16th place.

Rick Solomon then took a big pot from Cary Katz to climb to third place on the overall leaderboard with 11.6 million chips.

Back on the feature table, Reinkemeier took a pot worth nearly 4.5 million chips from Negreanu.

Bustout alert: Negreanu’s chip stack was fluctuating, but the ever-confident Kid Poker remained active. He then raised with J-9 of diamonds, and Trickett reraised from the small blind with pocket aces. Negreanu called, and the 6-9-5 rainbow flop produced two checks. The T on the turn brought out a bet from Trickett and call from Negreanu, at which point the 9 hit on the river to give Negreanu trips. Trickett moved all-in for his last 3,865,000 chips, and Negreanu made the call for most of his chips to eliminate Trickett in 15th place.

The dream of Trickett making it to heads-up play again was dead, though Esfandiari could still repeat the win.

Colman took a big pot worth 8.38 million chips from Galfond to send the latter down to ninth place in the chip counts. And then Newey doubled through Galfond with A-K over A-Q to stay alive, while Galfond sunk to 2.32 million chips and last place on the board.

On the other table, Vogelsang lost chips to Hall, who jumped back into the overall lead, and Vogelsang then lost more to Katz. The latter pushed his 3.65 million chips all-in with A-Q, and Vogelsang called with K-8 of spades. Katz doubled up to seventh place, and Vogelsang was reduced to ninth.

Bustout alert: Phil Ivey had been unable to get much going for the day and eventually got involved with A-8 of hearts against the A-Q of Katz. When the flop came Q-5-Q with two hearts, Katz bet, and Ivey check-raised all-in. Katz snap-called with trip queens, and the turn and river changed nothing. Ivey was gone in 14th place.

Episode 4: Esfandiari Runs the Opposite of His 2012 ONE DROP Performance

Only 13 players remained when this episode began, and Tom Hall was the chip leader with 21,185,000 chips. Katz was in second with 14,435,000, and Rick Salomon was in a close third.

The feature table boasted of these players and corresponding stacks of chips:

  1. Scott Seiver 12,450,000
  2. Daniel Colman 12,100,000
  3. Antonio Esfandiari 11,845,000
  4. Tobias Reinkemeier 9,685,000
  5. Daniel Negreanu 7,385,000
  6. Paul Newey 7,125,000
  7. Phil Galfond 2,310,000

Bustout alert: It didn’t take long for Galfond to push his short stack all-in with Q-T from the big blind. The hand actually started with Esfandiari raising with A-Q on the button and Negreanu calling from the small blind with K-J of clubs. Galfond called, and the flop came 7-2-4 with all clubs. Galfond had the queen of clubs and moved all-in, and Esfandiari called, but Negreanu moved all-in over the top with the flush. Esfandiari showed his frustration and folded. The J-2 finished off the board and eliminated Galfond in 13th place.

Negreanu was then in fifth place, and he was part of the narrative of the episode that followed him as he rose in the chip counts. His performance was countered by the frustrating action seen by defending champion Esfandiari.

Esfandiari did find some reprieve from the downward spiral when he took a pot worth 15.28 million chips from Reinkemeier and climbed into third place.

On the outer table, Salomon was showing strength and took K-T of hearts into battle against the A-K of Vogelsang. The board produced nothing, and Vogelsang eventually folded out of the 9.53 million-chip pot. Salomon raked it in and took second place with more than 17 million.

Bustout alert: Gabe Kaplan had been in trouble for quite some time and pushed less than 3 million chips all-in with A-Q, only to run into the pocket sixes of Salomon. The board of T-T-T-5-7 sent Kaplan to the rail in 12th place.

Salomon then took the chip lead with 2,550,000 chips, which was 16 percent of all in play. He soon extended that lead by taking another 8 million-chip pot from former chip leader Hall.

Negreanu’s trip through the episode wasn’t all smooth, as he started by losing 8 million chips to Reinkemeier. He did take about 5.2 million chips from Colman, though. Negreanu also talked to ESPN about the ONE DROP tournament.

“The One Drop is special for one significant reason that separates it from other tournaments. Aside from the $1M buy-in, it’s really the fact that almost $5M is being raised to buy water for those less fortunate who don’t have access to clean drinking water. So that’s what makes it special. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of rich guys putting a million dollars together and gambling with money they have too much of anyway. I love the fact that there’s a charity component to this event.”

Even so, there was a lot of money at stake, and Vogelsang wanted some of it. He doubled through Brandon Steven with pocket nines over A-K, which put Vogelsang into third place. Steven was clearly irritated by the hand and being left with just 475K chips.

Bustout alert: Steven pushed his last chips all-in with Q-9, and Katz called with T-7, only to improve on the river with another seven. Steven left unhappy in 11th place.

On the feature table, Colman got the best of Seiver ad climbed up to fourth place. Colman also made a big all-in push with A-J after an initial raise from Esfandiari with A-J as well. Esfandiari was clearly frustrated, however, and folded.

Colman’s disinterest in speaking to the media then worked its way into the broadcast. As Norman Chad read some parts of Colman’s bio, he noted that he refused “to speak to the media because he says he’s conflicted about the game and doesn’t care to promote poker.” Chad then responded with his opinion by saying, “Huh. So I guess one of the best ways NOT to promote poker is to play in a $1 million buy-in event on national TV.”

Esfandiari’s troubles continued as he battled with Reinkemeier. The latter pushed all-in for more than 7 million chips with A-K, but Esfandiari called with A-9 suited. The board blanked and doubled Reinkemeier to 14.7 million chips, while Esfandiari became the short stack with 5.65 million remaining.

Colman got the better of Reinkemeier by scooping a pot worth more than 11 million chips, which put Colman near the top of the leaderboard.

Bustout alert: Reinkemeier wasn’t done, though. He looked down at A-J and glanced at Esfandiari’s stack. Reinkemeier just raised, but Esfandiari pushed all-in with A-5 for his last 5 million chips. Reinkemeier called with the advantage and only improved with a jack on the turn. Reigning champion Esfandiari was out in tenth place.

That put Reinkemeier on top of the chip counts when the episode ended.

With the average stack listed at 14 million chips, the final nine players counted out these stacks:

  1. Tobias Reinkemeier 22,700,000
  2. Rick Salomon 20,175,000
  3. Daniel Colman 20,025,000
  4. Daniel Negreanu 17,800,000
  5. Tom Hall 13,125,000
  6. Cary Katz 11,775,000
  7. Christoph Vogelsang 10,925,000
  8. Scott Seiver 6,100,000
  9. Paul Newey 3,375,000

Tune in next week for the conclusion!

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