Day 1 of the Hollywood Poker Open Tunica Regional Championship is in the books, and leading the four remaining players is Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker. Moneymaker has more than half of the chips in play on the exact money bubble, and only relinquished his chip lead for a brief period of time throughout the entire final table.
Moneymaker busted four of the six players that exited the final table empty handed, including BJ McBrayer and Ryan Stevenson on the same hand. McBrayer open-shoved 13 big blinds from early position, Moneymaker called in the small blind, Stevenson re-shoved for 33 big blinds, and Moneymaker called again.
Moneymaker flopped a pair of aces when the dealer fanned , and remained ahead on the turn () and the river ().
The Team PokerStars Pro’s dominance started prior to the final table, when Marty Zabib tried running a big bluff. Zabib three-bet shoved on a flop of with , and Moneymaker called with . The ace alone was good enough for the lead, but the turn was a club, ending the hand and pushing Moneymaker above six figures.
Joining Moneymaker on Sunday will be 2013 WSOP bracelet winner Jonathan Taylor (91,800), Toby Mathews (90,400), and 2007 WSOP Main Event final tablist Lee Childs (16,100). Childs and Taylor played in a very interesting hand during the final level of the evening, where Childs raised out of the small blind and Taylor defended the big blind. Childs led out on a flop of , Taylor called, and Childs check-raised after the turned. Taylor called once again, and both players checked after the completed the board. Childs showed for a bricked flush draw, and Taylor showed for his own bricked flush draw, but queen-high was good enough to win the pot.
The HPO Tunica Regional Championship attracted 20 players, generating a total prize pool of $32,580. Third place earns $6,016, second $9,024, and the winner will walk away with $15,040 along with a $2,500 buy-in for the Hollywood Poker Open Championship at The M Resort Spa Casino Las Vegas in June.
Among the players who were unable to survive the day were Jonathan Hart, Barry Schultz, Jason Mayfield, Jamie Kizer, and Gene Fletcher. Schultz received a bad beat from Moneymaker when he moved all in over the top of a raise and two calls with . Moneymaker, the second called, put Schultz at risk with and flopped a king.
Play will resume at the Hollywood Casino at noon local time tomorrow, and the four survivors will battle until a winner is crowned.