Caesars Atlantic City played host to the latest stop on the World Series of Poker Circuit yesterday, as 208 players ponied up the $5,150 entry fee for their shot at the gold championship ring and a WSOP Main Event entry package. Among the top names in the field were 2008 Main Event final-table players Dennis Phillips and Ylon Schwartz, Circuit regulars Bill Gazes, Beth Shak and Doug "Rico" Carli and top internet pros Matt "Allinat420" Stout, Eric "sheets" Haber and Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy. By the end of the day, the field had thinned to 53 players, with Chris Klodnicki leading the pack into Day 2.
The early going saw some tough competitors fall by the wayside, among them Chris Reslock. As his stack shrunk through the first two levels, Reslock woke up with A-K and put in a stiff raise. After one opponent got out of the way, another went for the limp-reraise, and Reslock quickly moved all in. His opponent tabled pocket queens, and when the board missed Reslock, he was done. Other notable early eliminations included Roy Winston and Rhett Butler, who busted at the hands of Bill Gazes before the dinner break.
Action picked up considerably after dinner, with Matt Stout, Ylon Schwartz and Lee Childs all heading to the rail before their supper could settle. Joining them on the rail was 2008 WSOP Women's champion Svetlana Gromenkova, who moved all in over the top of Igor Borukho's preflop raise with pocket sevens. Borukho quickly called with , and the race was on. The suspense ran out of the hand right on the flop, as it came down , leaving Gromenkova two outs or miracle runner-runner outs to the straight. The turn ended any hopes of a straight, and when the river was the instead of one of the two remaining sevens, Gromenkova was done.
As the night wore on, eventual chip leader Chris Klodnicki continued to grow his stack. After busting one opponent with against that opponent's A-Q, he sent Dave Tiffenberg to the rail when his A-Q outflopped Tiffenberg's A-K. After the board ran out Q-9-7-6-9, Tiffenberg remarked, "I've only played two tournaments in my life and this guy [Klodnicki] has eliminated me from both of them." Other notable eliminations in the waning hours of Day 1 included Doug "Rico" Carli and Dennis Phillips. Phillips gained fame when he took the chip lead into the final table of the 2008 WSOP Main Event and brought over 300 friends and family along for the fun. He got the last of his chips in with pocket nines against Larry Vance's A-J on a flop of J-J-7. No nine on the turn or river meant that Phillips would have to wait a little longer to bring his fan club to another final table.
With Chris Klodnicki in the lead, the remaining field included such top names as Alex Bolotin, Mike Sica, Bill Gazes and Beth Shak. Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy and Mike "GoLeafsGoEh" Leah both made it through to Day 2, but were nursing short stacks as Day 1 ended. Join PokerNews today for the live updates as the 53 survivors play down to a final table.