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Hollywood Poker Open Charles Town Day 1: Brian Cavaliere Leads; Moneymaker Falls

Brian Cavaliere

On Saturday, the Hollywood Poker Open continued its encouraging second season of operation at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia.

When the registration information was tallied up midway through the 11-level marathon, a total of 72 entries had been recorded — setting a record in terms of turnout for an HPO Regional $1,800 Main Event. The previous high of 67 was set two weeks ago at the St. Louis stop, proving that the new tour on the block is making waves in the poker world.

After the final hand was dealt, only 22 survivors remained in contention for the title, with Brian Cavaliere bagging by far the biggest stack in the room with 181,600 in chips. Cavaliere, a local player from the Charles Town area, won his entry into this Regional Main Event via a $235 mega satellite. His day-ending stack put him well out in front of his closest competitor in Paul McCaffree, who managed to accumulate 121,600 by the end of play. Other big stacks in play include Mike Summers (106,300), David Lackey (96,500), James Boyd (95,000), Mark Castaldo (88,400), Joseph Stiers (77,100), Michaelann Moser (76,500), and Timothy Little (71,700).

Along the way, we watched 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker attempt to win back-to-back titles, as the man who started the fabled "poker boom" took top honors at the HPO St. Louis Regional Championship. Despite surging to an early lead and becoming the first player to crack the 100,000 plateau, Moneymaker's fortunes turned for the worse midway through the day, and despite a miraculous one-out win to stay alive, he eventually hit the rail late in the night.

Fellow pro Lee Childs managed to avoid elimination, patiently grinding a short stack for much of the day before chipping up to his current count of 50,000 even. As the most experienced player left in the field, the 2007 WSOP Main Event final table member will be looking to win his second event of this HPO series stop, while also wrapping up the points title for the HPO Charles Town stop.

Check back with PokerNews on Sunday afternoon at 12:15 pm local time, as the remaining 22 players round the corner and sprint to the final table finish line. A champion will be crowned and seven fortunate players will make the money, with a $39,756 first-prize payout waiting for the eventual winner.

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