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2012 World Poker Tour bestbet Jacksonville Day 1a: Tom Nguyen Leads; Rob Salaburu Third

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The 2012 World Poker Tour bestbet Jacksonville Fall Poker Scramble kicked off Friday with the first of two Day 1 flights in the $3,500 buy-in Main Event. Last year, Anthony Ruberto won the title and $325,928 in Jacksonville, and on Friday 214 players hit the bestbet poker room looking to do the same in 2012.

After 11 levels of play on Day 1a, only 66 players advanced to Day 2, with Tom Nguyen leading the way with 295,800 chips. Nguyen led a host of notables near the top of the leaderboard, including Rob Salaburu (249,000), Joey Weissman (236,300), Noah Schwartz (200,700), Joe Elpayaa (193,500), Jeremy Menard (173,000) and Lee Markholt (164,100).

Salaburu, who earned fame as the lively member of the 2012 October Nine, was among the early chip leaders after scooping a nice pot in Level 6. According to the WPT Live Updates team, Salaburu raised to 700 preflop from the hijack and Michael Burnitz called from the cutoff. The player on the button and both blinds called to see the {10-Hearts}{4-Clubs}{2-Spades} flop. After the blinds checked, Salaburu bet 1,750 and only the big blind called. The turn brought the {7-Hearts} and Salabaru bet 5,000. His opponent called again and the {A-Diamonds} fell on the river. Salaburu fired a massive bet of 20,000 and the big blind tank-called, only to see that Salaburu's {7-Spades}{6-Diamonds} for third pair was the best hand. That pushed Salabaru above the 80,000-chip mark, and he continued building throughout the day.

While Salaburu shined, others faltered on Day 1a. Among the players who failed to advance were Jason Mercier, Jon Racener, Faraz Jaka, Dwyte Pilgrim, Joe Serock, Amanda Musumeci, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Tony Dunst, Matt Glantz, Matt Stout, and Lisa Hamilton, who made the final table last year. All of the aforementioned players will have the opportunity to re-enter on Day 1b.

Here's a look at the top 10 stacks from Day 1a:

PlacePlayerChips
1Tom Nguyen295,800
2Edward Gray260,000
3Rob Salaburu249,200
4Michael Wong239,400
5Joey Weissman236,300
6Noah Schwartz200,700
7Joe Elpayaa193,500
8Mohsin Charania181,000
9Jeremy Menard173,000
10Lee Markholt164,100

Day 1b will get under way at 12:00 p.m. ET at bestbet Jacksonville. You can find the end-of-day recap right here at PokerNews.com.

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Data and photo courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.

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