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WinStar World Casino River Poker Series Main Event Day 1a: Matt Newcombe Leads

WinStar World Casino

After 18 levels of play, Day 1a of the WinStar World Casino's 2012 River Poker Series Main Event has come to a close. There were 401 players who ponied up the $2,100 buy in to play in the first wave of this event and at the end of the day, Matt Newcombe rose above the remaining 41 players by building his stack to 785,500.

Each of the 41 players returning for Day 2 is guaranteed money, although the amount is not certain yet and will depend on how many players register for Day 1b and 1c.

Newcombe was not the only player to accumulate a big stack during Day 1a play. Although Newcombe is the biggest stack in the room by a wide margin, Ron Roberts amassed a decent stack, sitting with 473,000 which is good for second place. Rounding out the top three is Daniel Lowery who bagged a stack of 316,000.

Even though they may not be top among the top three in chips, there were several notables to make it through to Day 2. Among those to move on are Ben White (340,500), Kunal Patel (241,000), David "Doc" Sands (239,500), and Clint Tolbert (85,500).

With a guaranteed prize pool of $2,500,000 for the Main Event, it's no surprise that this field was able to attract a large number of notable players. However, as the field was reduced to the top 10 percent, many of those players found nothing but the felt beneath them and were forced to hit the rail. The good news, though, is that this event is a reentry event, and the players eliminated during Day 1a have the option to try their luck again on Days 1b and 1c.

Greg Raymer and Maria Ho, both of whom are ambassadors for this event, were eliminated from play on Thursday. Ho three-bet her her short stack all in with {A-Clubs}{10-Hearts} and was called by Jence Kelling who held pocket eights. The board fell {Q-Spades}{J-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{9-Hearts}{4-Diamonds} and Ho was unable to improve.

Other players who were eliminated during play on Day 1a and are expected to return for Day 1b are TJ Cloutier, Berry Johnston, Heath Herring, Harrison Gimbel, Ray Henson, AJ Jejelowo, Richard Lee, Dwyte Pilgrim, Larry Wright, Chris Tryba, Allen Kessler, and John Dolan.

Vanessa Selbst also made the journey to Thackervillie, Oklahoma, to partake in this event. Unfortunately for Selbst, she found her participation in the first flight come to an end when she opened with an early-position raise only to find a three-bet from Bronson Tucker, the reigning champion of this event. The flop came down {J-}{8-}{7-} with two spades and Selbst check-called a bet. Both players checked the {5-} on the turn and Selbst moved all in when a {4-} dropped on the river. Tucker called with {Q-Spades}{Q-Hearts} and Selbst's {A-Spades}{9-Spades} was flung into the muck. Selbst, along with Tucker who later busted, will also be back in action on Day 1b or Day 1c.

As play wound down toward the end of the night, Jared Ingles became the tournament's bubble boy when he got his stack all in before the flop with {9-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}. Ingles was called by Daniel Lowery's {A-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds} and the board fell {A-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{6-Spades}{2-Diamonds}, giving Lowery a pair of aces and the best hand.

Top 10 Day-1a Chip Counts

PlacePlayerChip Count
1Matt Newcombe785,500
2Ron Roberts473,000
3Daniel Lowery316,000
4Mike Reese282,000
5Ashly Butler277,500
6Joseph Hall251,000
7Kunal Patel241,000
8Ben White240,500
9David Sands239,500
10Jerry Lorett223,500

The 41 players who finished Day 1a with chips have nothing but relaxation on their schedules until Sunday when Day 2 kciks off. Day 1b will begin on Friday at 1200 CDT (1800 BST) and we're expecting another stellar turnout here at the WinStar World Casino. Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for all of the latest updates!

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