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WSOP-C Eastern Regional Championship Day 1: Surprise, Surprise; Selbst on Top

Vanessa Selbst

The second of the World Series of Poker Circuit $10,000 Regional Championships kicked off today at Harrah's Atlantic City, the seat of the Eastern Regional. The 136 players who turned up seems to be a small letdown at first glance (considering the 226 who played the Midwest Regional Championship in October), but it's certainly respectable given the high buy-in and the proximity to the holidays. What's more, the relatively small field who did gather to close out the 2010 poker year are stacked with talent, and another star-studded, WSOP-branded final table seems like a near-lock at this point.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves a bit, as 93 players survived eight rounds of a shortened Day 1 to earn a seat in Monday's Day 2, the first box ticked on their tournament to-do lists. When the chip bags came out around 8:30, it was Vanessa Selbst bagging up 126,375 to put herself atop the leader board heading into the stretches. Her name with a big number next to it no longer comes as a surprise as Selbst looks to put a big exclamation point on a fantastic 2010. She's opened up a comfortable lead thus far, but Isaac Baron, Andy Frankenberger, and Kenny Hicks are all over 80,000 and within striking distance at the close of play.

Apart from that list of big-stacked notables, there is a huge contingent of familiar names with middling stacks heading for Day 2 as well. Bernard Lee, David "Doc" Sands, Shannon Shorr, and Curt Kohlberg all found themselves at the final table at the Midwest Regional Championship, and they've all survived to make the second day of this encore event as well. Of them, Sands is doing the best, finishing Day 1 with 58,150 chips from a starting stack of 30,000. Others with impressive credentials to their credit include a host of bracelet winners including Dan "imabigkidnow" Kelly, Leo Wolpert, David Baker, Dan Heimiller, "Miami" John Cernuto, Brock Parker, Chris Bell, Scott Fischman, and the T.J. Cloutier.

The list of survivors is overrun with notables, but there were plenty of them that came and went with a quickness just the same. Olivier "livb112" Busquet was one of the first to vanish, followed shortly thereafter by McLean Karr and Barry Shulman. Kathy Liebert and Nick Binger both arrived late and left early, too, and Keven "Stamdogg" Stammen, Matt Brady, John Monnette, and Andrew "LuckyChewy" Lichtenberger all took the walk of shame before day's end. Speaking of arriving late, Andy Bloch was somewhere in Boston early this afternoon, but he still made it down here to Harrah's in time to register during the middle of the day — and bust. Bloch's time in Atlantic City was short, as David Baker and Isaac Baron carved him up within just a couple hours.

The 93 who dodged Day 1's minefield will be back for another day of poker on Monday with aspirations of playing on into the middle of the week. Day 2 begins at noon local time, and our Live Reporting team will be back on the sidelines to bring you the call. We hope you'll follow along.

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