Alexander Borteh leads the pack in Event #34, $3000 Limit Hold 'Em after one day of play, followed closely by Greg 'FBT' Mueller and J.C. Tran. The 5pm-starting event began play in the Poker Pavilion, as the Amazon Room was occupied with three other events. The original field of 296 was reduced to 110, who will return for play on Thursday, with the top 27 places cashing and a total prize pool of $816,960. First place will pay $225,483.
The 2006 champion in this event, Bill Chen, tried to defend his title but was eliminated late Wednesday evening. Short-stacked, he shoved all in on after the flop of . His opponent held and won with the pair when the turn and river failed to improve Chen's hand.
Several other big name players went down on Wednesday. Joe Sebok, Eric Siedel, David Plastik, J.C. Alvarado, Dutch Boyd and David Sklansky busted out. Mickey Appleman, Ted Lawson, Chris Grigorian and Miami John Cernuto were also out before the end of day one. Chris "Jesus" Ferguson had a late arrival—costing him approximately 2,000 of his 6,000 starting stack — and an early departure, making it, for him, a short-lived event.
Phil Hellmuth made his normal late arrival — claiming a case of 'mild' food poisoning — but managed to build his stack throughout the day. In one hand he used pocket aces to capture a huge pot over Dutch Boyd, part of a run that puts him in the top 20 coming into today's action.
David 'The Dragon' Pham holds on with a short stack going into Thursday's play. A king high flush boarded out by his opponent on a late hand reduced his chip count considerably. Barry Greenstein will also be looking to increase his stack on Thursday. Play in the Pot Limit Omaha event delayed Greenstein's arrival to this event, though he survives into Day Two.
Annie Duke survived a few rough hands to hold mid-field status after a day of play. A confrontation with Alex Kravchenko added to her stack late in the session, using pocket aces to top 2007 bracelet winner Alex Kravchenko's unseen holdings on a K-high board. Greg Mueller took a big pot from Duke late to move near the lead, hitting a set of nines on the flop to top her pocket jacks. A few hands earlier, J.J. Liu took a pot from Mueller after betting every street and hitting trip nines. Mueller was rather nonchalant about the loss, saying, "Losing the minimum…."
Expect early action today, with roughly one third of the surviving 110 players beginning play with less than 10,000 in chips. The top 27 players will cash, and play will continue until a final table of nine is set. Here are the Day One leaders:
Alexander Borteh — 55,500
Greg 'FBT' Mueller — 54,000
J.C. Tran — 43,500
Randy Haddox — 38,700
Al 'Sugarbear' Barbieri — 37,100
David Levi — 36,100
Jonathan Tamayo — 35,900
Moji Seyedin — 35,700
Brandon Wong — 33,200
Max Pescatori — 31,400
Play will resume at 3pm PDT. Keep up on the action by following today's 'Live Reporting' of Event #34, $3,000 Limit Hold 'Em, at PokerNews.com.