The final stop of the 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit kicked off on Friday at Harrah’s New Orleans with Day 1 of the $1,600 Main Event. The field was massive as players flocked to the Big Easy for their last shot at points toward this year’s National Championship. Combined, Days 1a and 1b brought in an impressive 640 entrants, 260 more players than last year’s field.
Day 1a began at noon with 434 runners, including all-time ring winner Mark “Pegasus” Smith and WSOP Circuit regular Seneca Easley. Each of these men met their demise early on, but both opted to use their re-entry option right away. It proved a wise decision for Smith, who survived to Day 2, but not Easley, who was eliminated for a second time.
Throughout the day, other players hit the rail including Becky Makar, Kenny Milam, John Land, David Clark, A.J. Jejelowo and Huy Nguyen, just to name a few; meanwhile, others like Aaron Massey, John Dolan, Matthew Chang, Tripp Kirk, Sam Barnhart, Darvin Moon, Kurt Jewell, Ryan Tepen and Matthew Hankins managed to finish among the 210 players who survived Day 1a.
Two other players who advanced were WSOP Circuit ring winners La Senphet and Abraham Araya, who both finished with healthy stacks despite tangling toward the end of the first starting flight. It happened on a board reading when Araya and Sengphet each got 11,000 in the middle, leading to the river. Araya quickly checked and Sengphet thought for a solid minute before checking behind.
"Two pairs," Araya said aloud as he tabled . A disappointed look shot across Sengphet's face, not because she lost, but because she didn't bet her . Nonetheless, the pot put Sengphet up to 62,000 while Araya dropped to 100,000.
While it’s good to survive Day 1a, it’s even better to thrive, as chip leader Jay “queen10off” Kaplan found out when he bagged up a healthy 148,400. Other big stacks include Johnny Landreth (125,700), Bobby Toye (124,800), Shane Matthews (116,000) and Terry Kim (115,400).
On Day 1b, many of the eliminated players, including all of those listed above, returned for another shot at glory. They were joined by some new players including Kai Landry, Gene Dudek, Beverly Chaney and Will “Monkey” Souther. The re-entry proved a wise choice for half those mentioned above as Land, Milam and Nguyen managed to make Day 2 with their second bullet. Likewise, all of the aforementioned Day 1b newbies made it through.
In the last level of the night, a big hand developed that saw Jonathan Job become the beneficiary of a monster three-way hand despite not winning the main pot. You see, a short-stacked Mike Wolf was all-in with while Job, who held , and an unknown player, who had , created a massive side pot of around 100,000.
The board ran out with three hearts to give Wolf the triple, but it didn't bother Job who was more than happy to lose the small pot and rake in the big. With that, he is the clear Day 1b chip leader with 137,000 and less than 30 minutes to go. He’d drop a bit from there, but still finished as the Day 1b chip leader with 114,600.
Here’s a look at some of the more notable stacks among the approximately 338 players who advanced to Day 2:
Various Day 1 Chip Counts
|Jay “queen10off” Kaplan||148,400|
|“Cowboy” John Land||110,000|
Registration is open until the start of Day 2, which kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, so the final number of players, prize pool and first-place prize won’t be known until then. Of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be providing coverage from the Harrah’s New Orleans, so be sure to follow all the action in our live blog.
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