One hundred and seventy-nine players ponied up $5,150 each to play in the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at Harrah's Atlantic City, including previous champions John Racener (2007) and Rick Rossetti (2006). Some other players also had championship jewelry before taking their shots here, such as Jason Young, who won Event #17 at the 2008 World Series of Poker. Football superstar Jim McMahon searched for a Circuit championship ring to go with his two Super Bowl rings, but it was not to be as he busted on Day 1. Other notable players present included Shaun Deeb, Eric "sheets" Haber, Dan Shak, Bill Gazes and Brett "Gank" Jungblut, each vying for the event's $280,940 first prize, and when the day ended, Gazes held the lead.
By the end of Day 1, only 36 players remained as the small field was thinned almost to the money bubble. Among those eliminated were Eugene Todd, Jungblut, Haber and Mike "Little Man" Sica. Sica and Steve Saris got all the money in on an flop, and Sica tabled 10-J for the open-ended straight draw. Saris showed for a pair and a flush draw, and the turn and river ran out to give Saris the hand and all of Sica's chips.
Day 1 was tough on former champions, as both Rick Rossetti and John Racener busted before the dinner break. 2006 champ Rossetti busted when his was outrun by an opponent's on a flop. Another seven on the turn left Rossetti drawing dead and out of the event. Racener fell to Akio Ishige in a hand that saw Racener raise preflop and Ishige and another opponent call. Racener fired out at the Q-6-5 flop, and Ishige was the lone caller. Both men checked when a deuce came on the turn. Racener bet out at the four on the river, and Ishige moved all in over the top. Racener called with pocket queens for the set, but Ishige tabled 7-8 for the rivered straight and Racener was done.
Some big names headed to the rail just before the end of Day 1, including Shaun Deeb. Deeb moved all in over the top of Mike "GoLeafsGoEh" Leah with , but Leah held pocket jacks and made the call. The board ran out , and Deeb was done. Jason Young was another late casualty when he moved all in preflop with , and was called by Minh "RMG" Nguyen with . Nothing out of the ordinary happened on the board of , and Young exited.
As the night wore on, Joanne Monteavaro found herself the last woman standing in the event, and finished the day among the chip leaders after sending several opponents to the rail. In one late hand, Monteavaro raised preflop with , only to find an all-in shove from one of the blinds. Monteavaro thought for a long moment before saying, "This would be a bad call." After a moment more of thought, she made that call, and her opponent tabled pocket queens. The flop came down to give Monteavaro top pair and a flush draw, and when the turn and river both ran out sixes, Monteavaro moved to near the top of the leader board.
With 35 players remaining in the field, Day 1 drew to a close with Bill Gazes sitting on the tallest mountain of chips. Followed closely by Mike Leah, Allen Bari and Monteavaro, Gazes will return Tuesday at 2PM ET to take his shot at the final table. Join PokerNews then for all the live updates.
The top ten in chip counts from Day 1 play:
Bill Gazes – 336,700
Mike Leah – 274,400
Allen Bari – 240,000
Chris Reslock – 184,200
Joanne Monteavaro – 177,300
Matt Matros – 171,500
Eugene Fouksman – 151,000
Kyle Bowker – 138,100
Charles Furey – 112,000
Chau Minh Nguyen – 110,700