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2012 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown Day 1: David Nicholson Takes Early Lead

David Nicholson

The World Poker Tour returned to Hollywood, Florida, on Wednesday for the $10,000 buy-in Seminole Hard Rock Showdown. The second annual event saw 281 players hit the felts, a far cry from the 433 that participated last year, but registration will be open until Day 2 commences on Thursday.

After five levels of play on Day 1, David Nicholson finished atop the chip counts with 132,300. Nicholson emerged as the front runner at the end of the night after more than quadrupling his stack from the original 30,000. The former World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner boosted his stack after eliminating Eli Elezra with a set of fours against Elezra's top two pair, and never looked back.

Close on Nicholson's heels is former November Niner and Florida native John Dolan, who bagged 120,200 chips at the end of the night. Dolan told WPT reporter Jess Welman that he won a 110,000-chip pot when his {A-}{K-} outran an opponent's {K-}{K-} after all the chips went in preflop.

Chino Rheem, another former November Niner, spent a good part of the day atop the leaderboard and finished eighth in chips. According to the WPT Live Updates Team, Rheem took the lead midway through the day when he doubled up with {J-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} against {J-Clubs}{10-Clubs} on a {J-Spades}{9-Clubs}{8-Clubs} flop. Rheem faded the open-ended straight flush draw to bust his opponent and increase his stack to around 72,000. He finished the day with 106,100.

Defending champ and hometown hero Taylor von Kriegenbergh was among the 209 players who advanced to Day 2, albeit with a short stack of just over 20,000. Other notables moving on were Jonathan Little (87,975), Matt Waxman (60,825), Jason Mercier (47,275), Matt Giannetti (38,500), Chad Brown (35,780), Dan O'Brien (26,975), Christina Lindley (16,400), Jason Somerville (15,025), Mike Sexton (7,500), and Scott Clements (4,975). WPT Player of the Year leader Will Failla is eyeing his second title of Season X and will take a healthy 58,300 into Day 2.

Among the pros who failed to survive Day 1 were Tony Dunst, Michael Mizrachi, Daryll Fish, James Dempsey, Abe Mosseri, Tom Marchese and Josh Arieh. Dunst, who pulls double-duty by playing in the event and hosting the Raw Deal segment on the WPT broadcast, was crippled early in the day when he ran his set of eights into a set of aces. He was eliminated moments later after running pocket queens into aces.

Here's a look at the Top 10 chip stacks heading into Day 2:

1David Nicholson132,300
2John Dolan120,200
3William Brown118,875
4Eric Afriat118,500
5Brian Senie112,900
6Micah Smith109,975
7Sam Soverel106,225
8Chino Rheem106,100
9Kyle Bowker104,000
10Lee Thomas100,800

Day 2 will get under way at 1200 EDT (1700 BST) at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Stay tuned to for daily updates from the World Poker Tour.

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*Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.

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