On Friday, the World Poker Tour made its way to Los Angeles for Day 1a of the WPT Legends of Poker at the world renowned Bicycle Casino. The $3,500 buy-in Main Event saw 247 players enter on the first of two Day 1 flights, and 114 advanced to Sunday's Day 2. Fortunately for the players who busted, they can re-enter the tournament on Day 1b.
After nine levels of play, Michael Lipman finished Day 1a atop the leaderboard with 257,100 chips. Lipman barely edged out Vadim Bulavchik, who won a massive pot against Eddie Alaei near the end of the day and finished with 242,200. David Marshall (211,000), Joseph Hunter (173,700) and David Randall (169,500) rounded out the top five, respectively.
Other pros taking healthy stacks into Day 2 will be Joseph Cheong (112,500), Dwyte Pilgrim (106,600), Lee Markholt (105,400), Jeff Madsen (99,500), Jonathan Little (99,200), Tony Dunst (94,100), David "ODB" Baker (93,900), Joe Serock (92,900), Carlos Mortensen (87,000) and David "Doc" Sands (81,300).
Sands was involved in one of the most shocking hands of the day against David Tuchman. According to the WPT Live Updates team, Sands was facing an all-in shove for 22,825 on the river (later confirmed to be a three-bet shove by Tuchman) of a board. Sands tanked for around nine minutes before deciding to call with for tens full of sevens, and Tuchman admitted he was bluffing before mucking his hand and leaving the tournament area.
Sands took some heat from friends on Twitter for taking so long to call with the second nuts, but Sands said he believed Tuchman had "zero bluffs in his range."
While the Sands hand generated plenty of discussion, it was an incident off the felt that became the big story of the day. An altercation between Jonathan Aguiar and Matt Marafioti resulted in both players being escorted out of the tournament area by security. According to reports, Marafioti began yelling at Aguiar during a break and attempted to shove Aguiar to the floor. The incident allegedly stemmed from posts that Aguiar made about Marafioti on a poker forum.
Both players returned to their seat after spending several minutes with security. Marafioti managed to survive the day with 54,000 chips, but Aguiar was the victim of a two-outer and was eliminated midway through the day.
Among the notables who joined Aguiar on the rail Friday were JC Tran, Vanessa Selbst, Victor Ramdin, Christina Lindley, David Williams, David Pham, Dan Kelly, Galen Hall, John Monnette, and Season IX Legends of Poker champ Andy Frankenberger. They'll all have a chance to re-enter the tournament before Level 6 on Day 1b.
Here’s a look at the top 10 chip counts at the end of Day 1a:
2012 WPT Legends of Poker Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
Day 1b kicks off Saturday at 12:00 PST (20:00 BST). We'll have a recap of the action at the end of the day, so be sure to keep it locked in to PokerNews.com.
Lead photo courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.