Eric Bunch defended home turf on Day 1b of RunGoodGear.com Hard Rock Tulsa Main Event, bagging 340,500 to best Day 1a leader Terry Presley's 319,800 and take the overall lead into Sunday's Day 2. Bunch hails from nearby Collinsville, Okla., and he's looking for his first five-figure cash after topping the 190-player flight.
Steven DuCharme (199,000), Noah Nodine (188,300), Mesgana Tesfaridet (166,200), Matt Bond (155,400), tour pro Clint Tolbert (123,200), Matt Newcombe (108,800), and Tam Nguyen (101,700) also tote six-figure stacks into Sunday. A total of 34 made it through.
Day 1b Top 10 Chip Counts
Bunch's climb began by getting it all in on the turn with the board reading . Tolbert had for a pair and an open-ender, but Bunch had top-top with the . Tolbert had lots of outs, but it was Bunch improving on the river. Tolbert would go on to reenter and survive the day.
Bunch's run continued a bit later when he flopped a set of kings against a set of fives to bust another foe.
Bunch had heaps when he dragged the biggest pot of the night during Level 11. He checked the turn on an board, and his opponent bet 14,000. Bunch, who was in the big blind, put a stack of orange T5,000 chips in: 70,000. His opponent leaned back in his seat, crossed his arms, and tanked for a few minutes before pushing all in for about 14,000 more. Bunch called, and the hands were revealed.
Bunch's set was best, but he had to fade diamonds, eights, and kings. A red card hit, but it was the , and Bunch added to his tournament-leading stack.
Notable players bowing out during the course of the 12 levels of play were World Series of Poker bracelet winner Jordan Morgan, tour pro Bernard Lee, Jeff Bryan, Jonathan Gaviao, Issac "Rungood" Tucker, Keith Ferrera, and former chip leader Ben Armstrong.
Morgan's end came on the last hand of the night, when he three-bet all in with the and was called by Newcombe, who held the . A run out spelled the end for the bracelet winner.
Coverage of the tournament resumes when Day 2 begins at noon on Sunday, so come back to PokerNews to see who claims the first prize of $48,716.