World Series of Poker Europe

WSOP-C Caesars Las Vegas, Day 1: Stars Chase as Bubble Nears

WSOP-C Caesars Las Vegas, Day 1: Stars Chase as Bubble Nears 0001

Dozens of big-name pros gathered in the Caesars Palace poker room to kick off the World Series of Poker Las Vegas Championship, offering perhaps the most star-studded field of recent Circuit events. Among the 334 entrants were multiple WSOP bracelet winners Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Layne Flack, Men "The Master" Nguyen and Mark Seif.

The pro-heavy field created some threatening tables, including one "table of death" that offered Steve Billirakis, Sabyl Cohen, Roy Winston, Robert Mizrachi and Gavin Smith. This table led to early action, with Smith eliminated within the first two levels of play on Day 1. Other early eliminations included Men Nguyen, Anna Wroblewski, Scotty Nguyen and Jimmy Fricke, playing in one of his first US tournaments since turning 21 earlier in April.

Layne Flack suffered a brutal beat to end his tournament early when he got all his money in preflop with pocket aces. In a three-way pot, one opponent tabled {a-Spades}{10-Hearts} and the other showed pocket kings. The king in the window left Flack drawing to one out, which never materialized, and the five-time WSOP bracelet winner was eliminated. Team PokerStars member Dario Minieri took out Mark Seif when all the chips went in on the {q-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{a-Hearts} flop. Minieri dominated preflop with {a-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds} to Seif's {a-Spades}{7-Spades}, and running diamonds on the turn and river gave additional insurance and sent Seif to the rail.

Minieri's Day 1 didn't last much longer than Seif's, as he was eliminated by Doug Lee. Lee flopped a set on a board of A-J-9, and busted Minieri, who had made two pair with A-J. Other late eliminations included Erick Lindgren, Jeff Madsen and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, who put the last of his chips in preflop with {a-Hearts}{9-Hearts}. He was called byn fellow Full Tilt pro Allen Cunningham, with pocket tens. The board ran out {j-Clubs}{q-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{8-Spades}, and Ferguson was busted.

Motoyuki "Moto" Mabuchi ended the day with a big stack, courtesy of a big hand with Todd Brunson. All the chips went in on the {q-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{6-Spades} flop, and Mabuchi's pocket aces were good against Brunson's kings to send Brunson to the rail and Mabuchi to the top of the leaderboard. Max Reele finished the day with the chip lead, atop a field of 54 remaining players. Notable survivors included Alan "BodogAri" Engel, Bill "The Stunning One" Edler, Cunningham and T6 Poker's Alex Kravchenko, who won two WSOP bracelets in 2007 and made the final table of the Main Event.

The top ten chip stacks looked like this at the end of Day 1:

Max Reele – 263,200

Giovanni Marcacci – 223,600

Elie Said – 158,400

Motoyuki Mabuchi – 157,800

Doug Lee – 123,000

Nenad Medic – 122,200

Mark Newhouse – 120,400

Alan Engel – 114,000

Ralph Perry – 105,800

John Theisen – 103,700

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