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Pros Gather for Massive Big One Satellite

Any other time of the year at any other location, a $25,000 event with the likes of Chris Moorman, JC Tran, David Benyamine, Tony Hachem, Michael Mizrachi and Jeremy Ausmus would be a main event.

Here, it’s a satellite. 

The $1 million Big One for One Drop tournament starts tomorrow and dozens of players are hoping to snag one of the last seven-figure seats in the $25,000 Mega Satellite.

The satellite attracted several big names that you don’t usually see trying to win their way into events.

“I don’t play satellites that often,” Jason Koon said. “But in the millions I would.”

Koon -- who has more than $2.6 million in live tournament earnings -- plans on playing the event if he wins the seat.

If he doesn’t, he’ll probably play the $1 million tournament anyways. Big buy-ins don’t rattle Koon, it’s all about bankroll management.

“I mean, I’m kind of numb because I fired $200K in the $100K over at Bellagio,” Koon said. “So the $25K kind of feels like a $1K to me right now.

“Make your decisions based off how much of your bankroll you want to risk. So, no matter what the buy-in is, it’s usually the same stakes to me, regardless if it’s a $25K or a $100K or a $10K or whatever.”

The Road to the Big One

Layne Flack
Layne Flack, rivered on the bubble.

Not everyone’s bankroll can take a $25,000 hit, which is why there were satellites to the satellite. There were even satellites to the satellites of the satellite. The WSOP called it The Road to the Big One for One Drop.

For as little as $200, players could try to work their way up to the $25,000 satellite and, if they’re lucky, the $1 million tournament. The Road to the Big One satellites opened Thursday and closed today.

About 25 players signed up for the $425 satellite earlier today and only three players advanced to the $3,750 satellite at 2 pm.

Will Failla bubbled the $425 satellite but that didn’t stop him from playing the $3,750 one.

The buy-in was bigger and so were the names.

Around 30 players played the $3,750 satellite, including Joseph Cheong, Matt Salsberg, Erick Lindgren, Faraz Jaka and Layne Flack.

The prize pool had four seats to the $25,000 satellite with $10,000 for 5th place.

Flack was the unlucky 6th place finisher after he moved all-in with ace-ten and got called by queen-jack. Flack hit a 10 on the flop but a queen fell on the river to send him packing.

Then, David Vamplew -- who had just doubled up with pocket kings against ace-ten -- moved all-in with 7♠ 6♥ from the button and got called by pocket nines. The board ran A♣ Q♦ 4♥ 2♥ J♦ and another section of The Road to the Big One was closed forever.

Larry Wright and Faraz Jaka were among the four satellite-to-the-satellite winners.

Final Step to the Big One for One Drop

Shaun Deeb and Gus Hansen
Gus Hansen and Shaun Deeb during the 2012 $25K satellite.

Now, one last stretch of road remains.

Last time it was held, the $25K satellite drew 96 players and awarded two seats with a 3rd place prize of $400,000. That year, Jason Sommerville took third while Shaun Deeb and Gus Hansen won the seats, kind of.

The Big One for One Drop was capped at 48 players and there was only space for one more player when the satellite finished.

Players agreed that Hansen would take the seat while Deeb would be an alternate. If no seat opened up for Deeb, he’d get the $1 million instead.

Now the mega satellite is back and it’ll be a tough few days for anyone who wins it.

After beating today’s field of 90 players -- which includes Jason Koon, Jeremy Ausmus, Michael Mizrachi, Joseph Cheong, David Benyamine, Bryn Kenney, Chris Moorman, JC Tran, Chino Rheem, Stephen Chidwick and Erick Lindgren -- winners will face an even tougher field of players tomorrow at 1:11pm.

But Koon isn’t too worried about the competition.

“The field looks pretty soft to me actually,” Koon said. “My table is playing crazy aggressive but that’s because there are a few Euros and Michael Mizrachi. So, yeah, it’s pretty aggressive, pretty fun, I like the turbo format.”

The Big One starts tomorrow, so be sure to join us here at PokerListings for our on-demand coverage, where you decide what we report.

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