The RunGood Poker Series Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which took place just across the river from Omaha, Nebraska, kicked off their headline event on Friday night. Day 1a of the $675 buy-in, $100,000 guaranteed Main Event surpassed expectations by attracting 149 entries, nearly meeting its guarantee – something that will no doubt happen as two starting flights will take place on Saturday.
After 13 levels of play, just 24 players remained with RunGood Ambassador Ryan Tepen and his chip stack of 330,000 leading the way. Tepen, who is fresh off winning his second World Series of Poker Circuit ring, amassed his stack throughout the day while sipping on a steady stream of vodka in sugar-free energy drink spiked with cherries. It proved to be a recipe for success as he was the only RunGood Ambassador to bag and tag.
"Way above average," Tepen told PokerNews when asked how he ran on Day 1a. "I wouldn't have made it through the night without running well."
Notable Day 1a Chip Counts
Tepen took over the chip lead for the first time in Level 9 (600/1,200/200) when Justin Baker got his short stack all in preflop against Tepen, who was in the big blind, and David Kim. The flop inspired back-and-forth raising from the two active players, and when all was said and done Tepen was all in and at risk for his stack of 80,700.
Tepen had flopped a set to crack Kim's aces, and he was awarded the pot after the blanked on the turn followed by the on the river. After that, local lawyer Joe Thornton steamrolled his way to the chip lead, but a late-night clash with Tepen vaulted the Missourian to the top of the counts.
While Tepen represented well, many of their teammates failed to survive the night including Bernard Lee, Jordan Morgan, Jamie Kerstetter, Bryan Campanello, Clint Tolbert, and Joe Hebda.
Others to fall were MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Champion Ben Wiora; Wisconsinites Josh Reichard and Dan Almerli; World Series of Poker bracelet winner Eric Rodawig; and RunGood Downstream champ Saied Moradi, who suffered a particularly bad beat to bust.
It happened in Level 7 (400/800/100) when Terry "Papa" Karn limped from early position and Moradi raised to 3,000 from the button. Karn then three-bet to 5,800, and Moradi responded with an all-in four-bet to 10,750. Karn thought for a few moments and then announced a call.
Moradi was in great shape to double, but not after the flop came down to give Karn the lead with a pair of sixes. Neither the turn nor river helped Moradi, and he was eliminated from the tournament. Moradi, as well as many of the Day 1a casualties, will no doubt take another shot in one of the two remaining flights.
The Main Event, which will award the eventual winner a nice payday as well as a $10,000 seat into the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event, will continue at on Saturday with 1b kicking off at 12:00 p.m. local time. Day 1c will follow at 7 p.m.