Luck of the Draw: Ambassadors Owen and Neeme Seated Side-by-Side at WPT Venetian

The $4 million guaranteed World Poker Tour (WPT) Venetian Main Event continues today with Day 1b inside the poker room of the luxurious Venetian in Las Vegas.

The $5,000 buy-in championship event is taking place as another championship event, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event enters its seventh day a few miles south at Bally’s and Paris. Despite competing with the WSOP, the WPT Venetian has had no issue attracting many of the biggest names in poker, including WSOP Main Event champions Hossein Ensan (2019) and Joe McKeehen (2015), both of whom are in the Day 1b field.

There has also been no shortage of WPT champions, instructors, qualifiers and ambassadors in the field, two of whom stole the Day 1b spotlight when they were coincidentally seated side-by-side at Table 29 in the north corner of the Venetian poker room.

The Content Creator Corner

The two WPT ambassadors in question are poker vlogging pioneers Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen, who both of whom became representatives for World Poker Tour earlier this year. Not only are Neeme and Owen close friends and collaborators, they are also business partners after teaming up in January and purchasing the Lodge Poker Club in Austin, which recently hosted the largest poker series in Texas history.

While Neeme and Owen being seated next to one another wouldn’t be very notable in an ARIA $2/$5 game or at one of their signature meet-up games, the randomized seat pairing in the WPT Main Event, which saw Neeme in the eight-seat and Owen to his direct left, made for quite an amusing moment of serendipity.

At one point in the afternoon, the ambassador duo tangled in a sizable pot that went in Owen’s direction when he rivered a full house, according to WPT live updates. The other vlogger didn’t reveal his holding and was left with around half a starting stack.

The taller of the two poker vloggers took down another big pot when he was matched up against McKeehen and managed to river an ace-high flush and get paid to leave the 2015 WSOP Main Event champ short.

Later in the day, fellow poker content creator Joey Ingram stopped by the table to chat it up with Owen and Neeme. We’ll see if the pot-limit Omaha cash game specialist decides to hop into the no-limit Hold’em tournament action.

Brad Owen
Brad Owen

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Other Notable Seat Draws

There were a few other notable matchups at various tables in Day 1b of the WPT Venetian Main Event.

At Table 15, WPT Season XIX Player of the Year Jacob Ferro sat in the one-seat with Dragana Mackelprang to his immediate left, a player who made a name for herself last year when she finished 64th in the WSOP Main Event for $95,700. Seated across the table in the seven-seat was Vanessa Kade, a Canadian pro best known for winning the 2021 PokerStars Sunday Million for $1.5 million.

Another player who made a deep run in last year’s WSOP Main Event, sixth-place finisher Hye Park, sat in the eight-seat at Table 25, while high stakes pro and poker coach Kevin Rabichow sat in the one-seat.

At the next table over, WPT champion Frank Stepuchin sat in the three-seat with his signature rubber-chicken card protector, while LearnWPT instructor Andrew Lichtenberger sat stoically in the eight-seat underneath a tie-dye hoodie.

Frank Stepuchin
Frank Stepuchin

The third and final starting flight in the WPT Venetian Main Event will get underway on Thursday, July 14 at 11:10 a.m. local time. Days 2, 3 and 4 will follow leading up to the crowning of the next WPT Main Event champion.

WPT Venetian Remaining Schedule

Date Time Session
July 14 11:10 a.m. Day 1c
July 15 12 p.m. Day 2
July 16 12 p.m. Day 3
July 17 12 p.m. Day 4

Photos courtesy Joe Giron and WPT

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