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2012 World Poker Tour World Championship Day 1: Steve O'Dwyer Leading the Way

Steve O'Dwyer

Every year, the $25,000 World Poker Tour World Championship attracts the most notable players in poker. This year was no disappointment as 103 of them showed up for Day 1 action. Last year, Scott Seiver bested the stout 220-player field to win $1,618,344.

At the end of the short day, Steve O'Dwyer was on top with 231,750 in chips, but he wasn't too far ahead of Masa Kagawa in second place with 228,675. Just a handful of players hit the rail on Saturday thanks large in part to the extremely deep structure that the WPT World Championship has come to be known for.

O'Dwyer did some stack building during the third level of the day with the blinds at 150/300/25. According to the WPT Live Updates Team, a pot of over 10,000 in chips had brewed between O'Dwyer, Lee Markholt and another player on the {J-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}{5-Clubs} flop. The unknown player and Markholt both checked to O'Dwyer, who bet 5,400. The first player called and then Markholt got out of the way.

The turn was the {2-Clubs} and completed a possible flush draw. The first player led into O'Dwyer for 12,400 and O'Dwyer called to see the {K-Clubs} place a fourth club out on the river. With the board now completed, O'Dwyer's opponent checked. O'Dwyer wasn't about to make things cheap and set his opponent all-in for his last 40,000 or so. The player quickly folded his hand and O'Dwyer raked in the pot to put him around 140,000 in chips at that point.

Of those in attendance were former WPT champions Guillaume Darcourt, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Jonathan Little, John Hennigan, Nick Schulman, David Chiu and Daniel Negreanu. They were joined on the felt by Isaac Haxton, Hafiz Khan, Allen Kessler, Vanessa Rousso, John Juanda and Isaac Baron, just to name a few.

Negreanu went on to finish the day with 127,175 in chips. That's more than the 100,000 he started with, but the road on Day 1 started out with a pretty big speed bump that resulted in Negreanu making an impressive fold to Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy.

In the first level of the day with the blinds at 100/200, the WPT Live Updates Team reported that Josephy raised to 500 and Daniel Santoro called on the button. Negreanu made the call from the small blind and the big blind called as well. All four players saw the flop come down {A-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds} and Negreanu checked. The big blind fired 1,300 and Josephy made the call. Santoro then raised to 5,500 and Negreanu made the powerful check-reraise to 14,000. The big blind folded, but Josephy had other intentions.

After first flatting the original bet, Josephy now pumped things up to 40,000 with a reraise. Santoro folded and Negreanu went into the tank. After taking his time and even apologizing to the table for taking so long, Negreanu eventually folded middle set with the {J-Spades}{J-Hearts} face up for all to see. Josephy elected to show Negreanu just the {A-Diamonds}, but Negreanu was certain he was beat. Later on Twitter, Josephy stated that he did indeed have pocket aces.

Of the few players that were eliminated on Day 1, you have Erik Seidel, Darren Elias, Heather Sue Mercer, Sean Jazayeri and Phil Laak. Unfortunately for them, this event is not a re-entry and they'll be forced to have to wait until next season on the WPT.

WPT World Championship Day 1 Top 10 Chip Counts

PlacePlayerChips
1Steve O'Dwyer231,750
2Masa Kagawa228,675
3Tyler Smith221,600
4Guillaume Darcourt215,250
5Vanessa Selbst207,425
6Joe Serock197,000
7Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi194,875
8Justin Young190,000
9Isaac Haxton189,500
10Farzad Bonyadi185,000

With registration open until Level 12 of the event, players will still be able to buy-in up until approximately 1700 PDT (0100 BST) on Day 3. That gives plenty of time for this field to grow and it surely will. Some of the players you can expect to be entering late are Jason Mercier, Matt Waxman and Sam Trickett.

Day 1 only lasted four levels and action will resume for Day 2 on Sunday at 1200 PDT (2000 BST). Be sure to stay tuned for the daily recap right here on PokerNews.

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Comments

  • joeschmoe joeschmoe

    donpeters wrote

    ...SCOOP is going on right now on PokerStars and many, many foreigners have opted to stay put and play those events rather than come to Las Vegas....

    Thanks for the reply..

    If you mean to say the lack of online access in the US made a difference, I hesitate to agree.
    Since the millions of online players residing in the USA essentially "stayed home" instead of playing SCOOP events, it should follow that SCOOP participation would suffer, but the fact is attendance records were broken this year, up 14%.

    But if you mean SCOOP was simply more attractive than traveling for WPT, then I do agree. Among other things, the WPT Championship prize pools just aren't worth the effort.

    It is the Bellagio's responsibility to make it's venue more attractive than the alternatives. I try to be fair about it, but I get the feeling they just don't want 2,000 poker players roaming the casino. The corporate number crunchers must think it ultimately costs them money.
    But if they really are making every effort to attract players, then I suggest they get some practical advice from those who know how to do it properly.

    Looks like 140 runners so far. Not a disappointment.

  • donpeters donpeters

    Hey joeschmoe, thanks for the comment. There are a couple of things that can be looked at for the cause of the decline and you did name some of them. For one, the poker economy just isn't as booming as it once was. The 2003 numbers for this event were pre-Moneymaker and then things exploded after that. You also have to take into account that SCOOP is going on right now on PokerStars and many, many foreigners have opted to stay put and play those events rather than come to Las Vegas and play the $25,000 WPT World Championship. And yes, as you said the Bellagio has been falling as Las Vegas' top poker destination and it's something the players talk about a good amount.

    You can expect the field size to increase once again for Day 3 as registration is still open until Level 12, so three more levels of late registration on Monday. Just from checking updates on Twitter, a few players have busted from the SCOOP events and are flying out to get in this event today. This is actually something the Bellagio and the WPT worked at in order to best accommodate those wanting to play both SCOOP and the WPT World Championship. Will be interesting to see how much more the field increases on Monday, but it should hit 150 players easily. In the poker world today, 150 players for a $25,000 event is nothing to be discouraged about. They're also running a $100,000 Super High Roller as well and should attract 15-20 players for that.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. We always value our readers' thoughts.

  • joeschmoe joeschmoe

    "....This year was no disappointment as 103 of them showed up for Day 1 action. Last year, Scott Seiver bested the stout 220-player field......"

    Not a disappointment, but if attendance doesn't break 111 players (2003), it'll be the lowest turnout in the $25K WPT Championship history.

    $25K WPT Championship at the Bellagio All in April, except 2011 (and 2012) held in May.
    2003- 111......2004- 343.....2005- 453
    2006- 605.....2007- 639.....2008- 545
    2009- 338.....2010- 195....2011- 220
    ---------
    It costs a casino pretty big money to hold these WPT events. A poker manager once told me... $100,000.. or was it more.. like $150K? (can't recall exactly) up front money, plus all the associated costs of holding the tournament.. Attendance numbers are pretty important.

    I don't know if Bellagio puts less effort into hosting the tournament because they expect low attendance, or if low attendance is the result of less effort put into accommodating players. Either way, the Bellagio doesn't exactly roll out the red carpet these days..
    ..Or maybe it's all just part of a general decline..

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