The final World Poker Tour event of 2009 got under way Monday at Bellagio when 292 players took to the felt hoping to win some of what looks like a solid prize pool. At the time of this report, Darryll Fish was in the lead.
In addition to Fish, several players were able to take their 60,000 starting stacks and run them up, with Antonio Esfandiari, Carlos Mortensen and Jon "Pearljammer" Turner all sitting nicely at around the 200,000 mark.
Billy Kopp, of World Series of Poker Main Event infamy, also sits in the top ten. His pocket jacks flopped a set against Daniel Negreanu's pocket tens and an unknown player's pocket kings, sending Negreanu to the rail.
The total number of players for this year's edition of the $15,000 buy-in Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic should increase today (as well as the prize pool) before registration closes at Level 8 (roughly 5:00 p.m.).
As expected, many of the game's elite turned out for the first day of play. In addition to Esfandiari, Mortensen and Kopp, others see on the felt include defending champ David "Chino" Rheem, Jonathan Little, Matt "Allinat420" Stout, Soheil Shamseddin, Antoine Saout, Cornel Andrew Cimpan, Phil Laak, Doyle Brunson and Jenifer Tilly.
Unfortunately for Rheem, his title defense ended before the third level of play was over. He got all his money in with a flopped set of threes that ran into Fish's nut straight, catapulting Fish to the chip lead.
Poker fans can expect more exciting action as play gets under way today at noon. A number of big-name pros remain in the field, so things should move quickly once registration closes and players look to solidify their positions so they can make a late run at the title.
Top Ten Chip Counts
1. Darryll Fish - 236,625
2. Jon "Pearljammer" Turner - 227,325
3. David Woo - 205,000
4. Billy Kopp - 201,325
5. Carlos Mortensen - 194,525
6. Antonio Esfandiari - 184,225
7. Cory Carroll - 184,025
8. Justin Tazelaar - 169,200
9. Nashaat Antonious - 164,100
10. David Peat - 160,000
The World Poker Tour is heating up so be sure to get in on the action by opening a PartyPoker account to start winning seats into WPT events.