The 2011 World Poker Tour Venice continued on Wednesday with Day 1b. After Day 1a's small turnout of 78 players, the second starting flight attracted 135 players, including 18 re-entries from players who busted on Day 1a. Leading the remaining 66 players from the last starting day was Raffaele Bertolucci with 169,400 in chips.
According to the WPT Live Update Team, Bertolucci was "just another player middling around on an average stack" as play moved into the final few hands of the day during Level 9. Things changed very quickly, though, as Bertolucci found himself in a big, three-way all-in pot against Paolo Ruscalla and an unknown player on the flop of .
Bertolucci held for two overcards to the board, a gutshot straight draw and a flush draw. Ruscalla also held two overcards to the board and a better flush draw than Bertolucci with . Having the in his hand helped Ruscalla negate one out to Bertolucci's gutshot. The unknown player held top two pair with and was hoping to fade fourth and fifth streets.
The turn brought the and smacked Bertolucci with his gutter ball. Still, Ruscalla could hit a heart on the river to make a winning flush while the unknown player could have the board pair with a nine or eight and he would win the pot with a full house. The river completed the board with the and kept Bertolucci's queen-high straight in front. He won the pot and jumped into pole position to finish the day.
Plenty of other notables were in the mix, as well, including former WPT champions Alessio Isaia and Roberto Romanello. They both finished with above-average stacks.
Isaia finished on 68,700 in chips thanks in large part to a late double-up on the day. He was all-in preflop holding two red queens, , and up against the for his opponent. After the board ran out , Isaia was shipped the pot. Romanello finished on roughly double what Isaia did with 133,200 in chips.
Other familiar faces in the field on Day 1b were Ronnie Bardah, Arnaud Mattern, Salvatore Bonavena, Marvin Rettenmaier, Dominik Nitsche, Dario Alioto and Mustapha Kanit. They have all advanced to Day 2, and we'll see them in action on Thursday.
A few of the notable eliminations on the day included Filippo Candio, John Eames, Nicolo Calia, Max Pescatori and Mario Adinolfi.
Eames was eliminated during Level 8 with the blinds at 300/600/75. After he opened to 1,325 from the hijack seat, Luca Fiorini three-bet to 3,200 from the cutoff seat. Play folded back over to Eames, who reraised all-in for 15,200. Fiorini called holding the . His pair was ahead but flipping with Eames' .
The flop came down and Eames took the lead with a pair of aces. The turn brought the and put Fiorini right back in front with a set of jacks. Eames was looking to catch a queen on the river to make a Broadway straight and stay alive, but all the dealer could produce was the , and Eames was out.
Day 2 will commence at 1300 CET (0600 PST) with Day 1a's Andrea Dato leading the way as the overall chip leader. He bagged up 217,300 in chips on Tuesday. The two combining fields have 95 players returning, and PokerNews will have the recap from action, so be sure to check that out.
*Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.
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