14/17 players remain in $1m Big One: Dan Smith leads as Ivey eliminated late on

Dave Woods
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Posted on: December 19, 2023 1:05 pm EST

All the talk ahead of The Big One for One Drop had been about how many players would drop the $1 million entry fee.

All the talk when play got underway was about how many players Martin Kabrhel would wind up.

Kabrhel was the surprise entry when the first cards were dealt around 2.20pm this afternoon in a railed off section of the Encore Ballroom at Wynn Las Vegas. He arrived with a big duffel bag full of cash, buying in with style.

And it didn’t take him long to get in Dan Smith’s face. The two have previous: Smith said he hoped Kabrhel would be banned after being busted by him at this year’s $250,000 Super High Roller Bowl.

Kabrhel obviously hasn’t forgotten, and snapped at Smith when he tried to answer a question that he asked of the dealer.

Rick Salomon joined the party shortly afterwards and that brought the entries up to 17. Late reg would stay open for about four hours.

There should have been more. Artur Martirosyan had confirmed for the tournament but was one of the chip leaders in the WPT World Championship – also playing out in the Encore Ballroom. Playing two tables, with $5m up top for one, and a $1 million buy-in at the other was obviously too much even for him.

Other players who said they’d play were in the $25k High Roller, another event playing out at the WPT festival.

Jungleman just didn’t show up.

Stephen Chidwick Big One for One Drop
Stephen Chidwick is a crusher of crushers and led the way after the first two levels

First two levels – 17 start, 17 remain

After two 60-minute levels there had been plenty of action but no eliminations. Kabrhel wasn’t having the best of it and sat last on the scorecard. Stephen Chidwick was at the top. All the players still had plenty of big blinds, though, even Kabrhel with 89.

  1. Stephen Chidwick: 1,556,000 (311bb)
  2. Chris Brewer: 1,335,000 (267bb)
  3. Santhosh Suvarna: 1,230,000 (246bb)
  4. Adrian Mateos: 1,225,000 (245bb)
  5. Matthias Eibinger: 1,120,000 (224bb)
  6. Mario Mosboeck: 1,095,000 ( 219bb)
  7. David Einhorn: 1,045,000 (209bb)
  8. Nick Petrangelo: 1,010,000 (202bb)
  9. Dan Smith: 980,000 (196bb)
  10. Rick Salomon: 940,000 (188bb)
  11. Talal Shakerchi: 925,000 (185bb)
  12. Isaac Haxton: 826,000 (165bb)
  13. Mikita Badziakouski: 844,000 (169bb)
  14. Jason Koon: 786,000 (157bb)
  15. Fedor Holz: 725,000 (145bb)
  16. Phil Ivey: 750,000 (150bb)
  17. Martin Kabrhel: 445,000 (89bb)

Smith and Kabrhel got into it again before too long. This time it was Smith instigating, asking Kabrhel to move his water bottle so he could see his chips.

Back to the poker, and there were two more levels and a dinner break before late reg ended, and now all eyes were on who would show up late to drop $1 million. So far, there was a distinct lack of recs in the field. Were they deliberately staying out late to avoid sharks feasting on them?

No latecomers to the party

The answer was a disappointing, no. It meant the 2023 Big One was very light on VIP whales, with a very tough 17 players now battling it out for four prizes, with fourth not getting much beyond money back.

1st: $7,114,500
2nd: $4,663,950
3rd: $2,806,750
4th: $1,224,800

17 runners makes this by far the smallest Big One for One Drop to run, and it’s well under what most predictions had been.

30 minutes after the dinner break, Talal Shakerchi was the first player to be eliminated. He’s described as a VIP for Triton events but he’s one of the toughest players in the field. He was taken out by Santhosh Suvarna, who won the flip with jacks against Shakerchi’s A-Q.

Santhosh Suvarna Big One
Santhosh Suvarna claimed the first victim in this year’s Big One for One Drop

That led to a two-table redraw, which separated Kabrhel and Smith.

By this point, Kabrhel was on fumes – down to around 10 big blinds and in danger of returning home with an empty duffel bag.

David Einhorn was the next player out. Fedor Holz raised UTG and picked up a call from Einhorn and a raise from Smith in the big blind. Holz called this and then called the shove from Einhorn after Smith got out of the way. Einhorn had Q-Js and was up against Holz’s pocket nines, but the board ran out eight-high with only one diamond. That moved Holz back up to 900,000 and the safety zone of 75 big blinds.

Kabrhel picked up kings in the last level of the night and doubled through Jason Koon. His eight big blind stack became 18. Meanwhile, Smith was building a big lead up top with almost 200 big blinds.

Martin Kabrhel Big One for One Drop
Martin Kabrhel was the surprise at this year’s Big One and is still in but short

And it was Smith that claimed the only other elimination of the night, when he took out Phil Ivey.

Ivey had A-J and connected with the A-T-2 flop. Smith took the betting lead when a king dropped on the turn and Ivey called. Smith shoved for an effective 425,000 when the board completed with a seven, and Ivey used four time banks before calling to see that Smith had turned broadway with his Q-J.

That left Smith on a dominating stack of 3,590,000, good for a luxurious 239 big blinds.

The remaining 14 players bagged for a 2pm return, and we’ll be there to follow all the action.

2023 Big One for One Drop – Day 2 seat draw

Table 241

Seat 1: Isaac Haxton – 1,160,000 (58bb)
Seat 2: Dan Smith – 3,680,000 (184bb)
Seat 3: Fedor Holz – 630,000 (32bb)
Seat 4: Mario Mosboeck – 850,000 (43bb)
Seat 5: Adrian Mateos – 2,035,000 (102bb)
Seat 6: Chris Brewer – 275,000 (14bb)
Seat 7: Matthias Eibinger – 1,360,000 (68bb)

Table 243
Seat 1: Mikita Badziakouski – 1,605,000 (80bb)
Seat 2: Nick Petrangelo – 700,000 (35bb)
Seat 3: Martin Kabrhel – 320,000 (16bb)
Seat 4: Santhosh Suvarna – 2,160,000 (108bb)
Seat 5: Stephen Chidwick – 355,000 (18bb)
Seat 6: Rick Salomon – 840,000 (42bb)
Seat 7: Jason Koon – 1,020,000 (51bb)