The World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah's Tunica Main Event kicked off on Saturday with two starting flights attracting 625 players, though players are still allowed to register right up to the start of Day 2. The turnout exceeded last year’s total of 480 by a large margin, though re-entry was not available in 2010/2011. After each nine-level flight had concluded, Dantonio Brown emerged as the overwhelming chip leader, bagging an astounding 277,100 in chips.
The first starting flight drew 421 players including last year's champ and National Championship winner, Sam Barnhart, as well as Kyle Cartwright, who made a big splash at this stop last year by winning two rings and capturing the “Casino Championship" title. Cartwright managed to survive the opening flight, albeit with a mediocre 24,000. Barnhart was eliminated and exercised his option to re-enter of Day 1b.
Other players who were eliminated in the first flight and re-entered included Eric Crain, John Dolan, Aaron Massey, Earl Barron, and Traci Brown, just to name a few. The decision proved fruitful for most of the above mentioned players, including Barnhart, as everyone but Crain made it to Day 2 on their second try.
They joined a laundry-list of notables who needed just one bullet to advance including Roland Israel (85,000), Houston White (79,800), Beverly Cheney (46,800), Kurt Jewell (39,500), “Captain” Tom Franklin (37,000), Doug “Rico” Carli (35,500), Al Theriac (31,300), and Huy Nguyen (30,900).
The chip leader got off to an idyllic start and his chip stack grew exponentially. In just a few levels, he was all the way up to 100,000, and then was involved in a hand on a flop of . Brown and his opponent, on the button, got all their chips in the middle, creating a monster pot of around 90,000.
Brown had the granddaddy of all hands, aces, but the button had flush outs. Unfortunately for the latter, Brown was running hot and he dodged both the turn and river, which came and respectively. The button made a hasty exit while Brown chipped up to 170,000. From there he chipped up and rode the chip lead all the way to the end of Day 1.
Approximately 316 players advanced to Day 2, but not everyone was so lucky. Mark “Pegasus” Smith, Shaun Johnston, Bob Talbot, and La Sengphet all fired one bullet and failed to advance. Sengphet met her end when she was all-in preflop holding and up against Chris Bigler who was holding . The flop didn't hit Sengphet, but it did give her a gut-shot straight draw. Unfortunately for her, neither the turn nor river were what she needed, and she was eliminated from the tournament; meanwhile, Bigler went on to bag up 70,900.
Brown may be the overwhelming chip leader, but there are plenty of others sitting with decent stacks including Ray Weaver (138,500), Bo Chevallier (96,500), and David Walker (95,600).
Day 2 will kick off at 1200 CST (1800 GMT) on Sunday, so be sure to follow all the action live on Pokernews.com!
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