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2014 Seneca Fall Poker Classic Main Event: Joe Ciffa Bags Huge Chip Lead on Day 1a

Joe Ciffa

For almost a week now, players have been flocking to the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel for the 2014 Seneca Niagara Fall Poker Classic. Friday marked the climax of the series as the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event got underway at 11 a.m. ET. The no-limit hold'em event is open to players 18 and up and boasts a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool.

A total of 99 entries hit the felts on Friday, and at the end of 13 45-minute levels only 23 remained. Seneca Poker regular and room favorite Joe Ciffa finished as the overwhelming chip leader with 297,000.

Ciffa has made a name for himself on the PokerNews Live Reporting page this year. In July Ciffa won two events at the Seneca Summer Slam Series — on back-to-back days — and now he'll have a chance to add a Main Event title to his growing poker résumé. Ciffa dominated his table late Friday evening and bagged a huge chip lead over his next closest competitor, Jeff Hagen.

Main Event Day 1a Top 10

1Joe Ciffa297,600
2Jeff Hagen212,400
3Veerab Zakarian195,400
4Robert Donegan180,100
5Jonathan Cosme171,300
6Rick Block170,800
7Ronald Wheeler170,100
8Michael Ferrer168,200
9John Stempien162,700
10Ed Arnold141,700

Among the others who advanced to Day 2 were Joseph Elia, Andre Smith, Alex Barker and Scott Gaddi. Elia made a brilliant call for his tournament life with only minutes left in the day. On a flop of {J-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{4-Spades}, Jonathan Cosme checked and Elia led out for 9,000. Cosme check-shoved all in for 44,100 effective, and Elia stood up out of his seat. He contemplated a decision for about a minute before making a call — with only ace-high.

Elia: {A-Clubs}{K-Spades}
Cosme: {8-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}

Elia's read was dead on but he still needed to fade a lot of outs to hold. The {7-Spades} turn and {A-Hearts} river improved him to an unneeded pair of aces and he doubled his stack to over 100,000. He finished the day with 118,000.

Several of the area's top players failed to make it through the day, including Travell Tomas, D.J. MacKinnon, Jason Nablo, Nick Walker and defending champion Andy Spears. All will have another chance on Saturday when the second flight begins at 11 a.m. ET.

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