Shortly after Tony Dunst was announced as the World Poker Tour's newest correspondent for the segment "The Raw Deal," play began for the eighth stop on the ninth season of the World Poker Tour, Festa al Lago. Players are allowed to register through level eight of this $10,000 buy-in event so, prize pool information and a final player tally will come later in the day Saturday. Of the 294 players that registered on Friday, 231 are left, with Payman Arjang leading the way, bagging 217,875 in chips at the end of play. His late rally in level five gave him nearly a 60,000 lead over Peter Braglia, who is sitting in second place on the chip leaderboard.
Plenty of you favorite players came out for the event, plunking down the buy-in in hopes of winning a WPT title. 2010 World Series of Poker Player of the Year Frank Kassela, 2010 November Niner Joseph Cheong, Nam Le, Eli Elezra, and Layne Flack will have to wait until the next stop on the WPT however, as they all came and went on Day 1.
Despite an early mix-up with seat assignments, Faraz Jaka will take a stack of 42,000 into Day 2 with him. Jaka had no seat to begin the tournament, but the situation was quickly resolved after Isaac Haxton realized he was at the wrong table, a realization that came only after winning a sizeable pot from an opponent. Haxton was allowed to keep the pot and move to the correct table, though those chips did not remain in Haxton's stack, as he was eliminated from the tournament later on.
Among the players that made it through the day are Daniel Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, Erica Schoenberg, Arnaud Mattern, Annette Obrestad, Nacho Barbero, Scott Montgomery, Lauren Kling, and Sorel Mizzi. Several other pros that made it through the day, include previous WPT champions Jonathan Little and Scott Clements. Also, recent WSOP bracelet winner Gavin Smith is still in the hunt with an average chip stack of 50k. He closely trails Michael Binger, Andrew Robl, and David Williams. Last year's Festa al Lago champion, Tommy Vedes, barely rounded out the day, with just 16k in chips left.
Play begins at noon Saturday. The field as already beaten last year's 275 total, and with registration open until Level Eight, the final number is sure to be well over 300.
Follow all the updates at WorldPokerTour.com.