Season XI of the World Poker Tour continued on Friday with Day 1a of the WPT Montreal Main Event from the Playground Poker Club. A massive field of 478 players turned out for action, but after 12 levels of play that number had been whittled down to just 141. Leading the way with 326,100 in chips was Patrick Lelievre.
While Lelievre finished the day with the biggest stack, all eyes seemed to be on the laundry list of pros in attendance. One such pro was Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, who fared quite well. In one entertaining hand reported by the WPT Live Reporting Team from Level 10, with the blinds at 500/1,000/100, the player on the button raised to 2,200, the small blind moved all in for 7,000, and Esfandiari four-bet to 12,500. The button made the call and then both active players checked it down as the board ran out . Esfandiari then revealed the , and actually had the same hand as the button, who flipped over the . Unfortunately for them both, the small blind hit the river with his to triple on the hand. Despite losing that hand, Esfandiari ended the day with a healthy stack of 197,400.
Along with Esfandiari, other notables who advanced to Day 2 were the WPT's own Tony Dunst (37,500), Allen Kessler (53,000), Tristan Wade (60,900), Jason Koon (84,400), Mike “Timex” McDonald (90,000), Joseph Cheong (152,800), Dominik Nitsche (158,200) and Quebec’s Marc-Andre Ladouceur (247,300), who recently did an in-depth interview with PokerNews.
Unfortunately, not everyone was as fortunate as the aforementioned players. WPT Grand Prix de Paris champion Matt Salsberg, who hails from Montreal and was playing on his home turf, made it all the way to the last level of the night, which is when he raised to 4,000 preflop. David Williams then called, as did an unknown player, and the three players took a flop of , which contained two spades. Salsberg bet 6,500, both his opponents called, and the turned. This time action checked to Williams and he bet 15,000, prompting Salsberg to move all in for right around 30,000. Both players called and then checked the river. Salsberg got it in good with a flush, but the river spade gave Williams a bigger flush and the win with the . Salsberg, known as a writer for Showtime’s hit TV series Weeds, was eliminated on the hand while Williams went on to finish the day with 100,500.
Other notable eliminations included Erik Cajelais, Darren Elias, Harley Stoffmaker, Daniel Negreanu, Andy Frankenberger, Amanda Musumeci, Ben Hamnett, Phil Laak, Timothy Adams, Joe Serock, Jonathan Duhamel and Marvin Rettenmaier, just to name a few. The good news is that each of these players has the option of re-entering on Day 1b; in fact, even those who survived Day 1a can reenter on Day 1b, and if they also survive that flight, they’ll take whichever stack is bigger on to Day 2.
Here are the top 10 chips counts at the end of Day 1a:
Day 1b of WPT Montreal will begin on Saturday at 1200 EST (1700 BST), and already more than 500 players are registered. Needless to say, the final number of entrants, which won't be determined until registration closes after Level 4, will be huge. As always, you can find a recap of all of the action right here on PokerNews.com.
Data and photos courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.