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2011 World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open Day 1a: Korotki Leads; Selbst, Failla Thrive

Vanessa Selbst

Season X of the World Poker Tour continued on Sunday with a favorite stop on the schedule — the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J. Day 1a of the WPT Borgata Poker Open saw 460 players pack the ballroom for a great day of tournament poker. At the end of the first eight levels on the structure sheet, 245 players remained, and Abe Korotki led the way, bagging 260,100 in chips.

Hailing from Bethany Beach, Delaware, Korotki is no stranger to the Borgata or Atlantic City poker events. In February 2006, Korotki took down the $9,700 Championship Event at the World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah’s Atlantic City stop for $433,008. A few months later, in July, Korotki won a $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em event at the Borgata Summer Open for $122,100. In total, Korotki has nearly $700,000 in live tournament earnings. He’ll add another $5,000 to that because that was his prize from the WPT for ending Day 1a as the chip leader.

Plenty of other players were in the mix on Sunday, including notables Dan Shak, Gavin Smith, Hasan Habib, Eugene Todd, Dwyte Pilgrim, Ali Eslami and Andy Frankenberger. All of them were eliminated on the day. Pilgrim is the defending champion of this event, but, thanks to Darren Elias, will have to wait until Day 1b to re-enter for the chance at back-to-back titles.

In Level 7 with the blinds at 200/400 with a 50 ante, the WPT Live Update Team reported that action folded to Elias in the small blind and he completed. Pilgrim raised to 1,700 from the big blind and Elias made the call to see the flop come down {8-}{5-}{3-} with two clubs on board. Elias check-called a bet of 2,800 from Pilgrim and the dealer placed an offsuit {4-} on the turn, completing some straight draws. Elias checked again and Pilgrim fired 5,300. Elias check-raised all-in and had Pilgrim covered. The defending champ made the call holding pocket nines. His overpair to the board was no good against the {A-}{2-} that Elias held for a turned wheel. With Pilgrim drawing dead, the river blanked off and he was sent packing. Because this event is a re-entry format, Pilgrim will have a second chance on Day 1b to defend his title — something he’ll be taking full advantage of.

Team Mercier also had a tough Day 1a with the likes of Dan O’Brien, Brent Hanks and Allen Bari all hitting the rail. It is expected that they'll all be back in action on Day 1b, as well.

Some of those players who thrived on the first day included Vanessa Selbst, Will “The Thrill” Failla, Roy Winston, Cornel Cimpan, Kenny Nguyen, Ebony Kenney and Christian Harder. They’ll all have the luxury of taking a day off before returning to their big stacks on Day 2 on Tuesday.

The second starting flight will commence Monday at 1100 EDT (1900 BST) and you can expect the total field size to grow to four digits and beyond. Plenty of new players will be in action while plenty of those who busted on Day 1a will return to give it another shot. Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for the day’s recap.

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