The Hollywood Poker Open kicked off its second event of the season in Toledo, Ohio, and James Wright topped a field of 104 runners on Day 1a by finishing with 255,500 in chips at the completion of 14 levels. Fifteen other players joined Wright in making it through to Day 2.
Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
Wright got his day started off right, making a straight in the very first level with the on a board of and getting his value raise called on the river by a player with . With nearly double the starting stack early, Wright kept things rolling with an above-average count before playing a monster pot during Level 13 (1,000/2,000/300).
There, Wright decided to get tricky and flat-call aces in the small blind to a Mike Ross button raise, and the big blind jammed for about 33,000. Ross reshoved, thinking he could isolate the big blind, but Wright called off for 86,100. Ross held , while the big blind had the . Things got hairy for Wright as were the first four to emerge from the deck, helping both opponents, but the brought the blessed brick he needed. Ross was left with just a few big blinds and busted shortly thereafter.
Charles Maxcy (202,500), Wayne Smith (196,000), Neil Coughlin (181,000), and Michael Hahn (178,000) rounded out the top five, and other survivors included Kim Schinco (152,000), Bobby Brown (150,000), Ron Bell (112,000), Kenny Zuspan (82,500), and Raymond Ezzie (45,000). Hahn will be looking to do one better than his runner-up finish at HPO Lawrenceburg last year, and the Indiana native boasts more than $400,000 in live tournament cashes, making him one of the most accomplished tournament players in the field.
Others joining the rail were Patrick Steele, Rex Clinkscales, Nick Pupillo, Allen Kessler, and former World Series of Poker Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker.
Steele was looking good for most of the day until dwindling late and ultimately shoving with in the big blind over a small blind raise and running into . Kessler, meanwhile, was sent packing when he bet 2,000 on a flop during Level 6 (200/400/50) and called the shove of Coughlin, who held the . Kessler's kings were well in front, but Coughlin found a third nine on the river to bust the man they call "Chainsaw."
All of the fallen will have the opportunity to take another crack at this prize pool when Day 1b commences at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday. PokerNews will be back on the scene for live updates once more, and you can be ready for some more exciting poker action.