The $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em w/Rebuys Event #44 drew 879 players and, thanks to the 2,508 rebuys and add-ons, generated a prize pool of over $3.2 million. After ten rounds of play, the field had thinned to just 115 players, 34 shy of the money bubble. Day 2 of Event #44 will play down to the final nine, who will compete for the first-place prize money of $693,392 and the coveted gold bracelet. The overnight leaders, Jamel Maistriaux, Curtis Kohlberg and Brent Hanks, are being chased by such notables as Mark Seif, Alec Torelli, JC Tran, Nicolas Levi and Terrence Chan. Last year's winner was Michael Graves, who walked away with the bracelet and $742,121.
The tournament had its share of big-name players, including Phil Gordon, Clonie Gowen, Hevad Khan, David "The Dragon" Pham, Kathy Liebert, Amir Vahedi, Jeff Madsen, Antonio Esfandiari, Lee Markholt, David Ulliott, Jordan Morgan and Kristy Gazes. These were among the over 500 players eliminated before the dinner break, over half the field. With virtually no eliminations for the first two hours, the pace of bustouts was fairly rapid early on, but as the night wore on, that pace slowed.
For the first two hours of Event #44 shouts of "All in" and "Rebuy" filled the Amazon Room. Players each started with 2,000 in chips, and could rebuy at any time during the first two hours if their chip count dipped below that 2,000 starting level. In addition, players had the option of a double rebuy/add-on at the end of the second level of play for an additional 4,000 in chips regardless of their chip stack. While no count was released, some players may have dug into their wallets as many as ten or more times.
Daniel Alaei and Scott Seiver engaged in the type of hand that reflected the rebuy period. Alaei moved all in blind and Seiver called, saying, "I got the goods," as he turned over 8-3 offsuit. Alaei flipped over A-3 and, after the board ran out, 2-9-10-3-9, he scooped the pot. In another typical hand, four players went all in preflop with K-2, A-2, 8-9 and 8-10 building a 20,000 pot when blinds were only 25/50. Nicolas Levi ended up taking down that pot when his ten found two more tens on the flop, giving him the winning trips.
Mark Seif got off to a good start. First he took down a four-way pot against Men "The Master" Nguyen and two others when his A-Q spiked an ace on the turn and another on the river to beat Nguyen's second-best pocket kings. Then Seif had pocket aces against the two he'd just beaten, after they rebought. His aces held up and he was up to 28,000 in chips. Heads up against Schleger, Seif's 7-9 got close on the 6-8-3 flop but it had hit Schleger's pocket sixes squarely. By the time the ten landed on the turn, Schleger had put all his money in and was behind Seif's turned straight. The board failed to pair on the river and "Shaniac" was out.
Curtis Kohlberg rocketed up the leaderboard thanks to hands like the one he had against Matt Graham during the last level of the night. After the flop of , with 10,000 already in the pot, Kohlberg led out for 7,000. Graham called and they saw a turn. Kohlberg led out again, for 14,500, but this time Graham came over the top, pushing all in for another 38,800. Kohlberg tanked for a good five minutes, then made a good call, since Graham was on a semi-bluff with for an open-ended straight draw. Kohlberg showed for a pair, avoided trouble on the river, and eliminated Graham.
Darrell "gigabet" Dicken had been comfortably near the top in chips, until a disastrous hand against Simon Ravnsbaek just before the end of Day 1. Gigabet pushed preflop with only to be looked up by Ravnsbaek with the dominating . The board missed and Gigabet was down and out soon after while Ravnsbaek scooped a monster pot.
The top ten chip leaders after Day 1 are:
Jamel Maistriaux — 169,300
Curtis Kohlberg — 158,700
Brent Hanks — 154,300
Simon Ravnsbaek — 153,000
Rene Mouritsen — 135,400
Mark Seif — 133,000
Dan Lu — 132,700
John Hoang — 125,300
Faraz Jaka — 116,400
Albert Iverson — 108,700
Join PokerNews for live reporting of this event beginning at 2pm Pacific Time as the field is narrowed to the final table.