The Hollywood Poker Open St. Louis Regional Championship kicked off on Saturday, and it is the largest HPO Regional Event of 2014, attracting a total of 67 entrants.
Mark Fledderman leads the 15 survivors with 163,900 chips, and Team PokerStars Pro and HPO Ambassador Chris Moneymaker is among the leaders with 114,100. Moneymaker endured a very swingy final level of the night, which saw him dip as low has 50,000. The 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champ was able to steady the ship as the tournament clock ticked closer to zero though, and will look to improve upon his third-place finish at HPO Tunica.
Todd Bartlett bagged the second largest stack with 158,000 chips, thanks to a very big coin flip during the final level of the night. Jerry Milanos four-bet all in for 47,000 with the blinds at 600/1,200/100 holding , and Bartlett, the three-bettor, called with . Bartlett flopped a flush draw, turned a king, and held when the river produced a brick.
HPO St. Louis Top 10 Chip Counts
Among the players to bust before the end of play were Jonathan Taylor, Scotty Clark, and Ryan Franklin. Franklin lost a race with against the of Lance Dorsey, and Taylor suffered a bad beat at the hands of Michael Belken.
Taylor was all in and at risk with on a board of , and Belken had him at risk with . The spiked on the river, and the 2013 WSOP bracelet winner was sent packing.
During the final break of the day, there was a bit of a frenzy, and three players hit the rail. Peter Brooks was all in with on a flop of , and Robert Lakey had him drawing very thin with . The turn was the , leaving Brooks drawing dead.
Lakey was later delivered a very bad beat, flopping the nuts and getting drawn out on by Todd Metheny.
The other eliminations occurred on Table 33, where there was a three-way all in preflop. Frank Wyville () had both Pete Weber () and Thomas Morse () at risk, and held as the board came .
The 67 entrants generated a total prize pool of $106,643. The top seven players will earn a minimum of $5,332, and the winner will take home $36,259 and a seat into the $2,500 buy-in HPO Championship Event at The M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas in June.
Day 2 begins on Sunday at 12 p.m. local time, and PokerNews will be on hand to provide live updates until there is a champion crowned.