The World Series of Poker boasts dozens of events featuring a handful of different games and quite a few hybrid mixed events have been installed to the schedule in recent years. While no-limit hold'em still conquers the vast majority of action in Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, pot-lImit Omaha is the No. 1 growing game on the list. PLO has seemed to trend up in the past festivals and events such as PLO Giant allow the four-card game expand among a wider audience.
But Omaha has been getting more love even at the top level as well. We saw it last year when the crown jewel of the $10k PLO Championship attracted a record-breaking 428 entries. Now the bar has been pushed higher again with the 2018 edition already counting 439 runners in the race. With new record numbers locked up, the $10k PLO Championship is still open to anyone who had other plans on Saturday during Day 1. Late registration closes before the cards go back in the air today at 2 p.m. local time so the final number might get further inflated.
In such big field, it's guaranteed that the eventual champion will nab a huge chunk of money along with the prestigious title and bracelet. The past champions took home prizes not far away from seven figures.
So far, Ryan Hughes has made for the storylines after bagging the lead ahead of Day 2. Hughes has already made it to two final tables at this year's series, including a heads-up appearance in the Mixed Big Bet. That mix featured the games of PLO and PLO-8, among others, but with a special feature of antes. The PLO Championship is played in a traditional way for Omaha and no antes are in play. That allows a patient grind throughout, and Hughes can surely be chilling for a while, should he want to. He will come back to almost 240 big blinds when he unbags his 475,400.
Needless to say, the remaining field of 175 players is packed with some of the world's best players including the Mizrachi brothers who have both reported a great start to the tournament. Michael, fresh off winning an unprecedented third title in the Poker Players Championship, sits just outside of the top 10 with 275,000. Robert, who already topped the PLO Championship back in 2007, is also above the virtual average line with 196,200.
Robert Mizrachi isn't the only former champ left in contention. 2011 winner Ben Lamb made a strong statement on Day 1, amassing 314,100 to occupy the fourth place on the leaderboard. Lee Watkinson (2006), Brandon Shack-Harris (2016) and defending champion Tommy Le are all also trying to pair their respective titles.
History of $10k PLO at the World Series of Poker:
|2005||165 players||Rafi Amit||Israel||$511,835|
|2006||218 players||Lee Watkinson||United States||$655,746|
|2007||314 players||Robert Mizrachi||United States||$768,889|
|2008||381 players||Marty Smyth||Ireland||$859,549|
|2009||295 players||Matt Graham||United States||$679,402|
|2010||346 players||Daniel Alaei||United States||$780,599|
|2011||361 players||Ben Lamb||United States||$814,436|
|2012||293 players||Jan-Peter Jachtmann||Germany||$661,000|
|2013||386 players||Daniel Alaei||United States||$852,692|
|2014||418 players||Pat Walsh||United States||$923,379|
|2015||387 players||Alexander Petersen||Denmark||$927,655|
|2016||400 players||Brandon Shack-Harris||United States||$894,300|
|2017||428 players||Tommy Le||United States||$938,732|
Come back to PokerNews at 2 p.m. to follow the live coverage of Day 2 as many notable players take to the felt, hoping to navigate their stacks through the second stage of the dynamic PLO tournament.