The recently rebranded Harrah's Tunica played host to Day 1 of the first World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event of 2009 yesterday. 154 players took to the felt at the former Grand Casino for their shot at the $183,974 top prize, along with the WSOP Circuit championship ring and an entry into the 2009 WSOP Main Event. Among the big names venturing south for the event were Kathy Liebert, Gavin Smith, Bill Edler, "Captain" Tom Franklin and 2003 World Champion Chris Moneymaker. When the dust settled on Day 1, there were only 27 survivors, with David Dao sitting on the tallest chip stack, followed closely by Matt "All In At 420" Stout.
Chris Moneymaker played several events at the Tunica WSOP Circuit Series, but fell short in his Main Event title quest. He ran into a cooler hand with Justin Truesdell early in Day 1 to go home empty-handed. Moneymaker raised preflop with pocket kings, and Truesdell three-bet. Moneymaker moved all in over the top, and Truesdell snap-called with pocket jacks. Moneymaker was a huge favorite preflop and on the flop, but a jack on the turn left the champ drawing thin. No help on the river, and Truesdell's two-outer sent Moneymaker packing early. Other early eliminations included Adam Junglen and Shaun Deeb.
Alan "Chainsaw" Kessler played solid poker all day long, only to run into a bad beat late in the day. Once again, it was pocket jacks that caught up to send a top pro packing, and this time Kessler was the victim. Kessler moved all in preflop, and his opponent re-raised to isolate with his jacks. No one else called, and Kessler turned over for the huge favorite. The jack came right on the flop, , and Kessler's fortunes had turned. The turn and river ran out for no help, and Kessler's chainsaw was stilled. Bill Edler was another late departure from Day 1, busting just a short while before the end of the day.
Matt Stout's stack fluctuated for most of Day 1's early going, but he got hot at the right time, chipping up strongly through the last few levels of the day. One big pot he dragged was at the expense of Sabyl Landrum, who moved all in preflop with pocket threes. Stout called from late position with pocket eights, and when Landrum failed to improve, Stout sent her packing. Stout claimed another victim just a couple of hands later when his pocket sixes flopped a set against James Potter's A-K to send Potter home near the end of Day 1.
Big-name survivors such as Gavin Smith, Mike "GoLeafsGoEh" Leah and "Captain" Tom Franklin joined Stout near the top of the leader board as the day drew to a close. Other notable survivors from Day 1 included Jordan Morgan and Kathy Liebert, who finished the day with one of the shortest stacks.
Join PokerNews at 2PM local time on Tuesday as the 27 survivors play down to the final table of nine.
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