Lake Tahoe is in the midst of its heartiest November storm in nearly a decade, but that didn't kept players away from the poker room last weekend. A very respectable 246 runners plodded through blizzard conditions (or walked downstairs from their suites) to register for Day 1 of of the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event. After 16 short levels, just 51 survived to bag up chips and return for the next day. It's the cowboy-hatted Dan Black who'll take the big stack into Day 2 with his count of 329,500 leading the pack as players round the first stretch.
If the weather and road conditions did dampen anything, they may have kept some of the more notable pros from making the trip up the mountain to put up their $1,500 buy-ins. Chris Ferguson, for instance, is still the face of this event after taking the title in 2007, but "Jesus" clearly left home without his snow chains this weekend, rendering him unable to return for a second go at this Circuit ring. Still, there were plenty of familiar faces interspersed with the locals and satellite winners in the field. Andrew Malott, Jason DeWitt, Aaron Kanter, "Captain" Tom Franklin, two-time Circuit winner John "Cowboy" Land, and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Howard "Tahoe" Andrew all came out to play, though all of them had fallen out of contention by the time the bags came out just after the bewitching hour on the West Coast.
Kanter, in particular, was the victim of a pretty bad beat after getting his money in good on the turn of a board. His was filled up, and he was poised for a near-triple by the time George Reese called with , just trips. Lightning struck the river though, and the ushered Kanter out the door on a three-outer.
In any event, the remaining 51 players are headlined by, well, nobody, to be honest. The list of notables in the field has dropped to virtually zero, and that's good news for those who are still in the mix. Black leads the pack, but he's seeing Brown in his rear-view mirror. Steve Brown bagged up 305,400 to put him in second place as the only other player to crest the 300,000-chip mark. That's not too shabby from a starting stack of 20,000.
The survivors will be back inside Harvey's at high noon Monday to battle it out for one of the nine seats at Tuesday's final table. The PokerNews Live Reporting team has a perch from which to report all the action as it happens, and you can follow along with their coverage all day long.
Coming up on Tuesday we have an exclusive $2,500 freeroll with Winner Poker at 19:35 GMT. You have right until the last minute to download Winner Poker via our links and earn just 10 points to buy into it.