WSOP-Circuit Caesars Indiana Main Event, Day 1
117 players gathered round the felt at Caesars Indiana for the World Series of Poker Circuit Championship, including Circuit regulars Louie Esposito, Doug "Rico" Carli, Eddie Corrado and Philip Sparta. They were playing for a prize pool of $556,450, with the winner taking down $180,289, a $10,000 WSOP main event buy-in, $1,000 in spending money for that event, and the WSOP Circuit gold and diamond ring. Play lasted until nearly 4 AM, as all but the final two tables were eliminated on Day 1. Sparta and Robert Cheung jockeyed back and forth with the chip lead all day before Cheung finally took over late in the night.
Doug Carli had an up and down Day 1, taking the chip lead early, but finding himself all in with David Kopacz holding to Kopacz's late in the evening. Carli needed help on the flop, but things only got worse for him as the board ran out . Kopacz doubled up with his quads and Carli was left crippled. Undaunted, Carli went all in again on the next hand, doubling through Wilber Futhey with to Futhey's . The board came down and Carli made it through Day 1. Several notable players were not as fortunate, including Adam Friedman, John Racener, Louie Esposito, Wally Shearer and Bernard Lee, all of whom were eliminated on Day 1.
Philip Sparta was one of the most active players on Day 1, busting two opponents early when his big pocket pairs held up, then getting into a massive pot with Futhey after dinner. Futhey, who logged an 11th-place finish at the October 2007 Circuit Main Event in Indiana, held the chip lead to start the hand. Both players limped in to see a flop of . Futhey led out, then went all in over the top of Sparta's raise. Sparta thought for a moment before calling with , dominating Futhey's . No help for Futhey on the turn and river, as they came down , and Sparta took a commanding chip lead.
Cheung, who won a WSOP bracelet in Event #38 ($1,500 No Limit Hold 'Em) in 2007, went on a tear as the day ran long, eliminating several opponents to take over the chip lead. His last victim of the day was Brian Green, as Cheung's aces held up against Green's on a board of to send Green to the rail in 21st. After Green's elimination, players took a brief break, then came to the unanimous decision to play down to the money bubble (18th) before calling it a night in Indiana.
With only two spots to go before the money, Beth Shak doubled up twice in quick succession to get off life support and make a run at the final table. In her first hand, her won a coin flip against her opponent's on a board of . Then almost immediately after that hand, she got it all in the middle again with to Steven Merrifield's . The board ran out , and Shak doubled up yet again.
After Cheung eliminated a player in 20th place, David Kopacz became the bubble boy when he couldn't win a race against James McKinney. McKinney open-shoved with , and Kopacz called all in for less with . McKinney's jacks held up on the board, and Kopacz was eliminated in 19th. The final two tables were set, with Cheung the chip leader going into Day 2. The unofficial top ten chip stacks looked like this as players went off for a few hours sleep:
Robert Cheung – 212,000
Philip Sparta – 162,000
Jason Mann – 141,000
Wilbur Futhey – 120,000
Giovanni Maricci – 100,000
Tim Laws – 65,000
Michael Skomac – 33,000
Jason Glass – 32,500
Beth Shak – 30,000
Doug Carli – 24,000