The 2012 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic is always one of the premier events of the year. On Friday, the 20th anniversary of the event kicked off just shortly after noon at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California. As expected, the biggest names in poker were all there, including the one and only Phil Ivey, who was making his first appearance at a live tournament in the United States after an approximate one-year hiatus.
After the first five 90-minute levels wrapped up Day 1, there were 523 players registered. With registration open until the start of Day 2 of 1200 PST (2000 GMT) on Saturday, that number will surely increase. Commerce Casino is doing its part to grow the field as large as possible by running satellites to the Main Event right up until registration closes. At the end of the day, 373 players remained and Michael Rocco topped them all with 156,200 in chips. Ivey found himself in the top five with 116,300, thanks to a late charge to end the day.
With so many big names in the field and 150 players falling to the rail on Day 1, the event lost more than its fair share of marquee players. Former WPT champions Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Daniel Negreanu, Andy Frankenberger, Scott Clements, McLean Karr and Olivier Busquet were several players who failed to make it out of the day.
Negreanu fell at the hands of David Pham during Level 2 with the blinds at 75/150. According to the WPT Live Update Team, Negreanu, Pham and an unknown third player went to a flop of . All of them checked to see the land on the turn. Pham led out with a bet and both of his opponents called to see the river.
On the river, Pham led once more. Negreanu raised to 7,200 with 5,250 behind. The third player folded and then Pham put Negreanu all-in. Negreanu made the call holding , for a set of sixes. Pham tabled the winner with to win the pot and eliminate Negreanu.
Another notable player to hit the rail was Vanessa Selbst, winner of the LAPC $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em event the day before the Main Event kicked off. According to Selbst's tablemate, Brian Kim, Selbst, on the button, flatted a raise of 500 from the cutoff, with the blinds at 100/200 in Level 3, before the big blind three-bet to 2,500. The original raiser folded and Selbst called to see the flop.
On the flop, the big blind checked and Selbst bet 3,000. Her opponent check-raised to 7,400 and Selbst came back with a three-bet to 13,600. The big blind moved all-in and Selbst called off her stack with for top pair and a flush draw. Her opponent held and was ahead, but needed to fade the turn and river. Both fourth and fifth street bricked out for Selbst and she was eliminated.
Ivey's late surge came right at the end of the day. As reported by the WPT Live Update Team, Ivey played strong and turned a straight to win a sizable pot before then going on to crack a player's pocket aces with pocket tens. On the aces-versus-tens hand, the money went in after Ivey flopped a set of tens.
Other notables still remaining in the field are Jonathan Duhamel, who continues his awesome year by bagging up 98,950 in chips on Day 1, and Scott Seiver, Shaun Deeb, Joe Hachem, David Sands, Phil Collins and Will “The Thrill” Failla.
PokerNews will be providing daily recaps of the LAPC Main Event, so be sure to check back with us regularly.
*Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.