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WPT Borgata Poker Open Day 1a: Bianco Leads as 172 of 400 Advance

Mike Sexton kicks off the festivities.

The World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open kicked off on Sunday as 400 entrants turned up for Day 1a action. After eight levels of play, just 172 advanced to Day 2 with Ben Bianco and his stack of 389,000 leading the way.

Also sitting with healthy stacks were Andrew Atkinson (234,900), who qualified for the tournament on DraftKings; World Series of Poker bracelet winner Allyn Jaffrey Shulman (231,200); and the defending champ Anthony Zinno (146,900), just to name a few.

Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts

1Ben Bianco389,000
2Andrew Atkinson234,900
3Allyn Shulman231,200
4Ray Shackelford207,700
5Travell Thomas196,600
6Ami Alibay168,000
7Cornel Cimpan166,900
8Lily Kiletto157,000
9Thomas Winters155,000
10Curt Kohlberg155,000

According to the WPT live blog, Bianco took the chip lead with just a few minutes remaining on Day 1a. It happened in Level 8 (300/600/75) when a flop of {7-Spades}{3-Spades}{3-Hearts} inspired a three-way raising war.

Shortest Stack: {7-}{6-}
Middle Stack: {9-Hearts}{9-Spades}
Bianco: {k-Clubs}{k-Spades}

Bianco held the best two pair, and it held as the {4-Spades} appeared on the turn followed by the {6-Clubs} on the river. Bianco took down the pot of more than 200,000, which was more than enough to make him the chip leader with a 648 big-blind stack.

While Bianco thrived at the end of the night, Matt Glantz did not. A series of preflop raises resulted in the player on the button getting his stack of 55,050 all in and Glantz, who was in the big blind, had him at risk, albeit with the worst hand.

Glantz: {10-Clubs}{10-Hearts}
Button: {a-Clubs}{a-Diamonds}

The {a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} flop left Glantz in need of running cards to win the pot, but the {6-Diamonds} turn took away any chance of that happening. The meaningless {5-Spades} was put out on the river to give the player on the button the double, and Glantz busted a short time later.

In addition to Glantz, hundreds of others fell on Day 1a including Mukul Pahuja, John Racener, Jonathan Little, Steve Dannenmann, Jared Jaffee, Adam Friedman, Danny Suied, and Hollywood actor James Woods. All of those players who busted will have the option to reenter on Day 1b if they so choose.

As for Jaffee, he fell in the last level of the night. On a board reading {8-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}, the WPT champ bet 6,600 only to have Darren Elias raise all in. Jaffee hit the tank before calling off his last 34,000 or so holding the {k-Clubs}{8-Clubs} for top pair, but it was no good as Elias held the nuts with the {9-Spades}{7-Spades}. The {10-Diamonds} river gave Elias the pot, and he went on to bag up 126,100 while Jaffe was left licking his wounds.

Others who survived the Day 1a fray were Matt Stout (146,100), Blake Bohn (144,500), Cliff Josephy (119,500), James Calderaro (100,700), Ryan Riess (97,700), Mike Leah (77,800), Dan Shak (68,600), Melissa Burr (48,500), Carlos Mortensen (44,400), Will “The Thrill” Failla (40,100), and Aaron Massey (34,000).

Day 1b will kick off at 11 a.m. ET on Monday. PokerNews will be sure to bring you a full recap of the action as we will everyday until a champion is crowned.

*Photos and hands courtesy of WPT Live Blog.

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