Event #1, the Playground 200, was a $200 + 20 NL Hold’em tournament featuring four starting flights with unlimited re-entries available to the players. Players started with 25,000 chips and played through 14 levels of 30 minutes on Day 1, and 10 levels of 40 minutes on Day 2. Day 3 played down to a winner.
There was a guaranteed $100,000 prize pool that was blown out of the water with the 1,102 total entries (and re-entries), creating $213,788 in total prizes, with 138 places being paid. The top prize was $36,128, and, the min-cash in places 136-138 paid out $290.
Shijaudin Daud Sha was the Day 1 chip leader, and Carlos Gerones ended Day 2 in the top spot. Play resumed on Friday night at 7:00pm, with 37 players battling it out for the top prize along with the champion bragging rights. The bustouts started from the get go as the shorter stacks tried hard to secure a double-up; some were successful, some were not.
Once the nine handed final table was reached, play slowed down as there was some pretty serious money to be won for such a small buy-in event. There were some large swings as chips traveled back and forth across the felt. Carlos Gerones, the chip leader at the start of the day, lost a lot of ground and exited early. Yirui Zhang chipped up nicely, and between both some skilled play mixed with some run good, he quickly became the chip leader. Rasvan Rimniceanu was enjoying himself at the table, having a few drinks and playing a few hands. Rimniceanu tried to arrange a deal when play was five handed, but Zhang, the chip leader was more interested to just play on. After a huge heads up hand developed between the two of them with the chips being shipped to Rimniceanu, Rimniceanu again asked the others if they would want to look at the numbers, and the tournament director paused the clock to put the stacks and payouts into the ICM calculator. The players agreed to the ICM chip chop numbers, and left another $8,998 for the eventual first place champion, and $2,000 for the 2nd place runner-up, as well as $1,000 for 3rd place.
Play continued on for quite some time as the players took quite seriously the extra money that was reserved up top. Mike Mirand was the first to exit, followed by Jean-Francois Lescadres. Once play became three handed, Daud Sha made a huge mistake by mis-announcing his bet and was forced to put in 3,000,000 chips after folding his hand, as per his verbal raise declaration. He ended up exiting in third for $14,343 ($13,343 + $1,000).
When heads up play began, Zhang had the lead and never let go of it. It didn’t take long until he and Rimniceanu had all of the chips in the middle, with Zhang holding , and Rimniceanu was playing . it looked like it was going to be a simple conclusion.
The flop brought , putting Rimniceanu ahead. The turn was the , now giving Zhang a straight draw. And the river: to complete Zhang’s Broadway straight draw, and just like that, the Playground 200 crowned a champion.
Event # 1 Playground 200 Champion, Yirui Zhang, $29,389 ($20,391 ICM + $8,998)
Second place: Rasvan Rimniceanu, $23,629 ($21,629 ICM + $2,000)
The last hand of play: