WSOP #2: Vanessa Selbst Off to a Great Start

Vanessa Selbst03Yesterday the first open event of the World Series of Poker kicked off. It was the $25,000 Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold’em event and an extremely competent field of world-class players – 131 of them – showed up at the Rio with great expectations.

The Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold’em event was first introduced at the WSOP in 2012. Two years ago the buy-in was $5,000, but this year it’s the third most expensive tournament on the schedule after the prestigious $50,000 Poker Player Championship and the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop.

The Mixed-Max is a four day event and they started out playing 9-handed yesterday. Today the remaining 60 players will return to play six-handed and tomorrow 4-handed. On Friday the remaining four players will battle it out heads-up until a winner is found.

And there is much to look forward to as the 60 players left are some of the best in the world. Bracelet hunters and world-class players as Phil Hellmuth (13 bracelets), Daniel Negraneau (6 bracelets) and Phil Ivey (9 bracelets) are hoping to bring home more jewelry to their collections. Also Michael Mizrachi, Brian Rast, John Juanda and JC Tran are in good positions to claim another bracelet, while high-stakes grinder Dan “Jungleman” Cates and MTT-genius Mickey Petersen have their eyes fixed on claiming their first bracelet.

But on top of them all is none other than two-time bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst, who is chasing her third bracelet. In 2008 she won her first bracelet, when she took down the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event and four years later the $2,500 10-game Mix 6-handed event.

Selbst’s raise to the top came in one of the final hands of the night as reported by PokerNews, when Ravi Raghavan raised from the hijack and Jake Schindler three-bet to 14,000 in the cutoff. From the big blind Vanessa Selbst four-bet to 31,500. Raghavan folded and Schindler called with . The flop came:

Selbst bet 24,500 and Schindler called. The turn brought the and Selbst took a little time before she checked.  Schindler then shoved for about 160,000 and Selbst called immediately with for quad jacks. Schindler was sent to the rail and Selbst claimed the chip lead with 562,800 going into day 2.

On her heels is Brian Rast with 557,400. Michael “the grinder” Mizrachi is in third with 399,300 in chips. Vanessa Selbst is the only remaining woman in the field as Jennifer Tilly busted earlier in the day. Her stack was severely crippled when she called a five-bet shove from Vanessa Selbst with :K :J against Vanessa’s and didn’t get any help from the board.

In 2012 Tilly had a deep run in the Mixed-Max at World Series of Poker Europe where she took home €20,450 for her 12th place finish.

Day 2 is about to begin in a couple of hours. Will the lucky streak for Vanessa Selbst continue and will she be able to claim her third bracelet? We’ll be back tomorrow to recap the action.

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