Bryan Hollis is the winner of Event #1: $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em, defeating Chris Solomon in just 25 short hands of heads-up play. Hollis earned himself the first gold bracelet of the 2017 World Series of Poker, along with a first-place prize of $68,817.
In the final hand, Hollis three-bet from the big blind and flopped top pair. He put in a continuation bet on the flop, and Solomon shoved his remaining chips in the middle with ten-high. Solomon, who was the chip leader for a good part of the final table, was drawing dead by the turn, and it was all over, with Hollis completing an impressive comeback to snag the win.
Hollis hails from the state of Maryland, and was just in Las Vegas attending the 2017 WSOP to take a shot at the Casino Employees Event and the Colossus. He grew up playing limit poker back in his hometown when he was just 15 years old and he still enjoys the game today. He has had to make the transition to no-limit poker in order to play in some of these tournaments.
This is Hollis' first WSOP cash and he even admitted, "I've never made it past the first break before. Last year I busted this tournament in seven hands." Hollis will be sticking around the Las Vegas area a little while longer now but when he does return home he did say he has some plans for the newly acquired cash. "I have always wanted to buy a house and now I have a down-payment. It feels so cool."
This opening event attracted a total of 651 entries, combining for a prizepool of $325,500 and paying 98 spots. The bubble burst just before the dinner break on Day 1, and eliminations came quickly. Victor Kim was the one to burst the bubble after flopping a set of threes, and he coasted his way to the final table. The end-of-day chip leader was Chris Gallagher, and he managed to leverage his stack and turn it into a deep final table finish. Day 2 began with just 11 players, and Haviv Bahar was the first player to drop after running pocket jacks into Kim's pocket queens. The unofficial final table of ten came together, and that's when the real battle began.
Here is a look at the official results from the final table:
|Place||Player Name||Country||Prize (USD)|
|1||Bryan Hollis||United States||$68,817|
|2||Chris Solomon||United States||$42,508|
|3||Josh Clanton||United States||$29,372|
|4||Jermel Stephens||United States||$20,629|
|5||Alex Cordova||United States||$14,731|
|6||Adem Arbuckle||United States||$10,698|
|7||Chris Gallagher||United States||$7,903|
|8||Vincent Russell||United Kingdom||$5,941|
|9||Victor Kim||United States||$4,547|
Some of the notable players who finished in the money included 2015 WSOP Casino Employees Event champion Brandon Barnette (20th place - $1,874), Christian Percevecz (37th place - $1,351), Christopher Womack (47th place - $1,182), and Kenji Ikeda (85th place - $856).
This event is known for attracting the many key players in this industry, and some of the familiar faces who took a shot but came up short included Kenny Hallaert, David Tuchman, Erica Lindgren, Dana Castaneda, Jesse Capps, and Molly Anne Mossey.
Final Table Action
Bahar finished in tenth place ($3,543) after getting his chips in the middle with pocket jacks but was up against Kim's pocket queens. Bahar couldn't find a jack and busted on the official final table bubble.
Kim had an up-and-down day but it all came to a halt when he couldn't win a race with and was eliminated in ninth place ($4,547).
After staying patient for most of the day, Vincent Russel busted in eighth place ($5,941) when he ran into a red-hot Solomon. Unfortunately for Russell, he got it all in ahead but Solomon would out-flop him.
Gallagher came into the day as the chip leader but couldn't get anything to go his way as he was soon eliminated in seventh place ($7,903). Gallagher became the short stack and eventually got all of his chips in the middle with and was called by the of Hollis. Hollis hit a queen on the flop and Gallagher's tournament was over.
Adem Arbuckle remained quiet and stayed out of the way of most of the action, but the blinds eventually caught up with him. He called an all-in shove from Solomon and found himself behind and unable to catch up, finishing in sixth place ($10,698).
Alex Cordova was taken out just two hands later with pocket kings; when Solomon showed he flopped trips, Cordova just became another victim to Solomon, ending his tournament in fifth place ($14,731).
Four-handed play continued for a while longer with the three smaller stacks battling it out. Unfortunately for Jermel Stephens he ran his top pair of kings into Josh Clanton's middle set of jacks and was eliminated in fourth place ($20,629).
When the final three players took their seats it was sure to be a battle, and chips were passed back and forth. On hand #102 of the final table, Clanton was taken out in third place ($29,372) after he flopped top pair with on a board, but Hollis had for two pair. Clanton was unable to catch a king and the tournament was down to its final two players.
Heads-up play went on for 25 hands before Bryan Hollis finally lured Chris Solomon into bluffing into his flopped top pair to end the match.
The first event of the much-anticipated 2017 World Series of Poker is in the books, and PokerNews is honored to be providing live updates for everyone following at home. Keep checking back as the Live Reporting team brings all of the exciting hands and stories until the last winner is crowned deep in July.