The poker world's collective focus has undoubtedly shifted to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, where the 2014 World Poker Tour World Championship kicked off on Monday.
The season-ending event boasted a $15,400 buy-in — representing a reduction in cost for the WPT's premier tournament from its historic standard of $25,500 — but a $5 million guarantee more than made up for the lower entry fee. A total of 105 players took their shot on Monday's Day 1a, including the usual assortment of elite pros, along with professional football player Miles Austin, with many more expected to show up on Tuesday for the second starting flight. There will need to be 239 more entries recorded for the guarantee to be met, but with satellites running around the clock in the Borgata Poker Room, chances are high the number will be eclipsed before the late-registration period ends. This reentry tournament also allows casualties from Day 1a a second chance to build and bag a stack, so many players who went bust during Monday will be back looking to rebound.
The chip leader after eight full levels of deep-stacked poker was Paul Volpe, who managed to bag up 215,300 in chips when it was all said and done. Volpe surged to the top of the leaderboard late in the evening, coming back from dinner break to bust Micah Raskin in a set-over-set-style cooler.
WPT World Championship Day 1a Leaders
|6||She Lok Wong||177,200|
Just 62 runners survived the day, with the room's biggest stacks behind Volpe belonging to Jerry Wong (198,000), Brandon Steven (195,500), former champion Scott Seiver (192,500), and Tony Gregg (190,600). Phil Hellmuth made his customary late arrival just after the dinner break, and then he managed to run his 50,000 starting stack up to 82,900 in just two levels of play.
The aforementioned Austin hung tough throughout much of the day, patiently grinding a short stack while trying to remain incognito, but when he doubled through the chip-leading Volpe on the last deal of the night, he caught the deep ball he needed to potentially begin a deep run against this stacked championship field.
There were many notable names and elite pros who fell short of the finish line, including Robert "Uncle Krunk" Panitch, Lily Kiletto, Noah Schwartz, and Chris Moorman.
Day 1b kicks off Tuesday at 11 a.m. local time, so check back to PokerNews then to follow all of the action live from the floor of the Borgata's Signature Room as the WPT World Championship rolls on.