Another World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event has begun as Harrah's Atlantic City threw open the doors and pulled back the blinds on the registration windows in preparation for the $1,500+$150 championship-ring event. By the time registration closed around 3:00 p.m., 352 players had put up the buy-in to get their names on the roster. Sixteen levels came and went with the number on the big board steadily ticking downward. It stopped with 71 players remaining at the end of the night, and those survivors are set to return for Monday's moving day — the push to the final table. When they do reconvene, Tam Ly will be boasting the heaviest bag stuffed with 287,600 chips.
Ly is not without some notable company atop the leaderboard, however. Matthew Waxman is in second place with 254,500 chips, and Jeremy Schwartz, who finished in 16th place in the inaugural WSOP-C Midwest Regional Championship at Horseshoe Hammond, is in third place with 248,700. Ari "BodogAri" Engel found himself moving up the counts steadily all day, spurred on by a few crucial hands. In Level 13, Engel eliminated WSOP-C Lake Tahoe's third place finisher, Michael Traylor. It was Engel's ace-king that outraced Traylor's pair of tens, and the elimination pot finally moved Engel over 100,000. A few orbits later, he was over 160,000 and had another knockout under his belt, and in the last level of the night, he sent David Inselberg out the door with his overcoming the meager in a battle of the blinds. Engel finished up with 241,400 chips in his bag, but he, too, will have some traffic on his radar as Day 2 dawns.
Todd Terry was up and down for the first bit of the day, but things started to look up for him just after the dinner break. Jason Young ran his pocket queens into Terry's kings for a big preflop pot, pushing Terry over the century mark in chips. In the penultimate level of the night, Terry found the queens and used them to eliminate a shorter-stacked player's on a board. The knockout put him close to 200,000, and he ended the night with 179,400.
That 200,000-chip mark was first breached by Matt Glantz, another potent notable perched in the top section of the overnight chip counts. Glantz doubled up rather early in the day, then chipped his way up to 195,000 by winning just about every hand he was dealt for a couple orbits. A few more pots pushed him up around 215,000, but a few late slips did some negligible damage to his stack. He put 162,200 in chips into his bag, ammunition for tomorrow's final table run. Also still in the mix are Mike Leah, Chris Tryba, Jonas Wexler, Paul Darden, Jonathan Wein, and another few dozen potential champions.
Not all can be lucky enough to multiply their starting stack by a factor of ten in the first 16 levels of a tournament. For every chip won, another was lost, and "Miami" John Cernuto was one of the first players to lose all 20,000 of his starting chips. Chris Reslock soon followed him out the door, joined soon by most of the East Coast poker scene. Will Failla, Mike Beasley, Al Riccobono, Adam Lippert, Kyle Bowker and Will Souther all fell by the wayside as the chips flew around the felt. Three-time ring winner Dwyte Pilgrim staved off elimination until the very final hand of the evening, but his pocket threes ultimately fell to ace-three in runner-runner spade style.
That leaves 71 survivors poised for Day 2 and a run at the final table. Play is scheduled to restart at noon, one hour earlier than planned. Our Live Reporting team will be ringside once again to bring you all of the action as it develops during the push to the final nine.
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