WSOP Roundup: Daniel Zack Becomes 2022’s First Double Bracelet Winner

  • Daniel Zack sits atop the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard after two wins
  • Kathy Liebert, Brian Rast, and Josh Arieh are Poker Hall of Fame finalists for the first time
  • Mike Matusow, Bertrand Grospellier, Michael Mizrachi, and Layne Flack return as finalists
  • Non-player finalists include Isai Scheinberg, Matt Savage, and Lon McEachern & Norman Chad
  • Phil Hellmuth’s chips somehow ended up in Farzad Bonyadi’s stack during a break
Daniel Zack at the 2022 WSOP
Halfway through the 2022 World Series of Poker, Daniel Zack is the Player of the Year leader after winning a pair of gold bracelets. [Image: PokerGO.com]

Daniel Zack leads WSOP POY race

The 2022 World Series of Poker has hit its halfway point. Every day now, there are several tournaments going on simultaneously at Paris and Bally’s Las Vegas. Some are just starting, some are approaching the money, and some are awarding their bracelets. There is way too much WSOP action to discuss in one article, so let’s take a brief look at some of the most interesting stories of the past week.

There is still a long way to go, but the halfway mark is a natural point to check out the 2022 WSOP Player of the Year standings, led by Daniel Zack. If he stopped playing right now, Zack would already have had a tremendous Series. On Monday, Zack became the first double bracelet winner of the year, taking down Event #40: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. A week and a half earlier, he captured Event #15: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship.

the only player in the 2022 WSOP Player of the Year race with over 3,000 points

With four other cashes so far, including a third-place finish in Event #31: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship, Daniel Zack has earned $914,547 at the 2022 WSOP. He is the only player in the 2022 WSOP Player of the Year race with over 3,000 points, sitting atop the leaderboard with 3,041.26. His closest competition at the moment is another Daniel, Daniel Weinman, with 2,521.93 points.

Poker Hall of Fame Finalists Announced

After a two-week public nomination period, the World Series of Poker announced the ten finalists for the Poker Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

There are three new finalists this year: Kathy Liebert, Brian Rast, and 2021 WSOP Player of the Year Josh Arieh.

Three other finalists (well, four, as one is a tag team) are non-players. Many believe famed tournament director Matt Savage is the most deserving of a Hall honor. Isai Scheinberg, the founder of PokerStars, has arguably been the most important person in the growth of poker in the last couple decades, but legal troubles stemming from Black Friday probably hurt his chances. And the long-time WSOP announcer duo of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad have meant a ton to the game’s popularity on television.

The 32 living Hall of Fame members will now cast their votes to determine which one person will comprise the Class of 2022. Each HOFer has ten votes, which they can allocate any way they choose; all ten can go to one person, each finalist can receive one vote, or any combination in between.

Hall of Famers often stick to voting for fellow players. The other four finalists are just that: Mike “The Mouth Matusow,” the late Layne Flack, who passed away last year, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi.

All of the finalists are plenty worthy; it will be interesting to see how the votes pan out.

Where did Phil’s chips go?

There is always some sort of controversy at the World Series of Poker and last weekend, we had one, though everything turned out just fine. In the end, no harm, no foul.

During a break in Event #38: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw Championship and the field down to 21 players, 16-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth left his chips in a rack at his seat. Tournament staff consolidated the four tables to three and when he returned, Hellmuth saw that not only were his chips gone, but they had somehow ended up in the possession of defending champ Farzad Bonyadi.

someone had to figure out how many chips Hellmuth had

Bonyadi was not at fault – Hellmuth acknowledged in an interview with PokerNews that it was a complete accident – but still, how it happened was a mystery and someone had to figure out how many chips Hellmuth had so that stacks could be made whole.

Hellmuth estimated that he had more than 130,000 chips and sure enough, he was right. WSOP officials reviewed surveillance footage and determined that Hellmuth had 135,000 chips before the break. Those chips were removed from Bonyadi’s stack and returned to Hellmuth. And that was that, everyone was content with the resolution.

Phil Hellmuth ended up finishing ninth, just missing out on his record-extending 17th bracelet. Pedro Bromfman won the tournament for the first WSOP victory of his career.