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2009 WSOP: Jennifer Harman Nabs Early Lead in LHE #33

Jennifer Harman

Another day, another star-studded field in a $10,000 World Championship event at the World Series of Poker. This time, 185 stars dropped a sizable down payment on a Hummer to register for Event #33, $10,000 World Championship Limit Hold’em. Among the players in the stacked field were 2009 bracelet winners Jeff Lisandro, Vitaly Lunkin, Brock Parker, and Phil Ivey. Bracelet winners from past years included defending champ Rob Hollink, Daniel Negreanu. John Juanda, Max Pescatori, Erik Seidel, Scotty Nguyen, Bill Chen and a host of others. When the last hands of Day 1 were played, it was Jennifer Harman leading all runners, with Mark Klecan, Maria Ho, Josh Arieh, and Shaun Deeb all ending the day within striking distance.

To say that there were few eliminations in the first couple of levels would be a significant understatement. More to the point, many of the biggest names in the tournament didn’t even show up until after the first level or two of play. PokerNews Alpine Cup champ Marc Naalden was one of the latecomers, along with Todd and Doyle Brunson, Alex Kravchenko, David “Chino” Rheem, Mike Caro, and “High Stakes Poker” host Gabe Kaplan.

Even with the slow structure of limit hold’em, some big names were knocked out early. Brett Richey headed to the rail before the dinner break. He lost a big chunk of his stack when he ran into pocket aces in one hand, then the rest of his chips evaporated when his pocket fives couldn’t hold up against {A-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} when an ace hit the river. Andy Bloch’s baby pair also fell to a suited ace when his opponent flushed out on the river with {A-Clubs}{3-Clubs}. Jeff Lisandro’s quest for a second 2009 bracelet fell short when he got his last chips in with A-Q and was outflopped by Rob Hollink, who defended his blind with J-2. Hollink flopped trips and Lisandro hit the rail.

When the players returned from dinner the blinds were big enough to be interesting, and the bustouts started to flow in earnest. Other notable eliminations on Day 1 included Gabe Kaplan, Phil Ivey, and Phil Hellmuth. Hellmuth showed up less than three hours after the start of the event, but made his exit early in the evening when his A-Q couldn’t connect on the board of {4-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}{4-Clubs}{J-Clubs}. His opponent tabled {6-Spades}{6-Hearts}, and the “Poker Brat” was done for the day.

John Juanda registered for the event, but played less than an hour all day as he was still alive in Event #30, $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha. The WSOP-Europe Main Event champ made the final table over in that event, but his stack was blinded down all day in this event, and he finally got it all in with {J-Clubs}{8-Spades}. His lone caller tabled {2-Spades}{2-Hearts}, and when a deuce hit the turn, Juanda returned to his PLO game.

Daniel Negreanu was a late elimination on Day 1, heading to the rail when his {5-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} was outflopped by the button’s {A-Spades}{4-Hearts}. The final board ran out {Q-Clubs}{A-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}, and Negreanu couldn’t catch the miracle five to stay alive. Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Max Pescatori, Gavin Smith, and defending champ Rob Hollink were all late casualties as play drew to a close on Day 1.

When all was said and done, Jennifer Harman, author of the limit hold’em chapter in Super System 2, was perched at the top of the leaderboard with a stack of 127,600. Among the 116 players who survived Day 1 were the Brunsons, Doyle and Todd, Vitaly Lunkin, David Benyamine, Terrence “Not Johnny” Chan, Lex Veldhuis, Mimi Tran, Howard Lederer and 2009 $10,000 World Championship events phenom Ville Wahlbeck. Brock Parker’s hopes for a third bracelet were still alive as he made it through Day 1, and 2000 World Champ Chris Ferguson squeaked into Day 2 with the shortest of stacks.

Join PokerNews at 2PM local time as the remaining competitors play down to a final table and continue their quest for WSOP gold.

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