Event #1 of WSOP 2024 comes to a close

31 May 2024

Asher Conniff

Asher Conniff (photo by WSOP)

Asher Conniff battled back from a five-to-one chip disadvantage during heads-up play to claim his first WSOP bracelet in Event 1: $5,000 Champions Reunion and picked up the $408,468 winner's purse that came with it. Conniff defeated Halil Tasyurek in a heads-up duel that spanned three levels and saw the Turkish player bag $272,305 for his runner-up spot.

A total of 493 players turned out for the opening event of the 2024 WSOP, which created a prize pool of $2,047,800.

PokerNews had a chance to catch up with Conniff after his momentous victory.

"It's incredible, man, just to not have to think about trying to win one anymore is great, and obviously the money, the experience — it's awesome, I'm so happy," replied an elated Conniff when asked how he was feeling.

"I think one of the advantages that I have is that I've been in live streams and spots before where people can see my cards [on the stream], and there's bright lights, and it's stressful. I've been here before, so I know what to do," said Conniff in response to whether he felt that running deep in previous big tournaments had helped him.

The Champions Reunion attracted a wealth of poker talent and offered free entry into the tournament for any previous WSOP Main Event champion. However, the rest of the field were gunning for the champion's scalps as a $10,000 2024 WSOP Main Event seat would be awarded to whoever managed to eliminate one of the previous winners. Four of them managed to make the money with Greg Merson (67th), Daniel Weinman (52nd), Dan Harrington (37th), and Qui Nguyen (21st) all picking up a payday on Day 2.

Day 3 began with ten hopefuls all looking to get their hands on the coveted gold bracelet. Two former bracelet winners were in the field with Aram Zobian and Jonathan Pastore both looking to become two time champions. It was Zobian
who fell first during the opening level when his ace-jack didn't improve against the pocket jacks of Pastore which brought around the unofficial final table of nine.

Terry Fleischer topped the counts coming into the day and had maintained that lead entering the final table. The player that entered the day as the short stack, Bryce Welker, was the first man out of the final table after his king-queen didn't find any help against the ace-queen of the eventual champion and earned himself $29,999 for his efforts.

Michael Acevedo never managed to get anything going on the final day and eventually succumbed to David Coleman after three-bet shoving jack-ten and running into ace-king. The Costa Rican player bagged himself $38,903 for his eighth-place finish.

Serbia's Nenad Dukic came into the day fourth in the counts but was eliminated in seventh at the hands of Fleischer during Level 29. Dukic was all in with king-jack and couldn't catch up to the pocket nines of his opponent and he picked up $51,416.

Coleman's stack had dwindled to nothing more than dust, and he eventually got his chips in with ace-nine, but ran into the ace-jack of Conniff. No help arrived from the dealer which left Coleman on the rail in sixth for $69,231.

Fleischer's chip lead had evaporated, and his stack went in the direction of Halil Tasyurek after a bluff attempt went horribly awry which left the American player on the sidelines but $94,936 richer.

Pastore's stack had been on a rollercoaster journey throughout the day but when his chips were in the middle in a coinflip situation with pocket fours, the Frenchman's sailboats couldn't hold on against the overcards of Tasyurek. Pastore was ever-so-close to the second bracelet but the $132,545 payday for fourth will make the journey home a bittersweet one.

Yuzhou Yin had laddered up the payouts as best he could but eventually was eliminated at hands of Tasyurek after getting his ace-deuce in against the ace-nine of the Turkish player. No help arrived on the board which meant Yin took the first of the podium spots in third for $188,342.

Tasyurek entered heads-up play with an over five-to-one chip advantage, and it seemed to be only a matter of time before he closed out the tournament and got his hands on the bracelet. It could have been over within minutes of the restart after Conniff got his king-five all in against the ace-seven of Tasyurek but a five on the flop gave Conniff the lifeline he needed.

Conniff found himself all in and behind once again with king-ten against the ace-ten of his opponent. Just as it seemed the curtains were closing on Conniff's chances of a bracelet, a king on the flop sent his rail into a frenzy and almost evened out the chip stacks.

The pair continued to battle it out, and Conniff eventually took the chip lead for the first time in the heads-up match during Level 32 with an epic ace-high hero call that really swung the pendulum in his direction.

In the final hand of the night, Tasyurek shoved all in with jack-nine and ran into the pocket tens of Conniff. As the rail watched on, a clean runout secured the victory for Conniff which meant Tasyurek had to settle for the runner-up prize of $272,305.

Final Table Results
1 Asher Conniff United States $408,468
2 Halil Tasyurek Turkey $272,305
3 Yuzhou Yin China $188,342
4 Jonathan Pastore France $132,545
5 Terry Fleischer United States $94,936
6 David Coleman United States $69,231
7 Nenad Dukic Serbia $51,416
8 Michael Acevedo Costa Rica $38,903
9 Bryce Welker United States $29,999

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(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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