The $1,100 Main Event of the inaugural PokerStars Festival New Jersey continued on Wednesday and drew 127 players, bringing the total field size to 208 players. The total prize pool is set at $201,760, with the top 39 places being paid and first place is set at $38,220. After 10 one-hour levels on Day 1B, just 45 players bagged and will join the 25 players who survived on Day 1a.
Bagging the Day 1b chip lead was Michael Gagliano with 144,900, putting him fourth in chips of the 70 remaining players. The rest of the top five Day 1b stacks are rounded out by Dan Howe (138,900), Tyson Apostol (135,200), Team PokerStars Online's Randy Lew (130,200) and two-time World Poker Tour champ Darren Elias (118,900).
Apostol is a reality TV star of Survivor fame, having shipped Season 27 of the show for $1 million in prize money.
Gagliano, who won Event #2 here a few days ago, got an appetizer in the form of a double just before dinner. Facing Manuel Perito on a board of after checking back the turn, Gagliano called all in for under pot with ace-king and was right, with Perito announcing a ten.
Still, he had just more than a starting stack at the dinner break, but eliminated PokerStars MindSports Ambassador Jennifer Shahade to help propel himself upward. Shahade raised, Gagliano defended his big blind with , and after the flop was checked, he turned a ten-high straight on a board of . Shahade called his turn bet, then his river shove on the and she was eliminated. Gagliano had just more than 50,000 that hand and went on a heater to end the night, nearly tripling his stack at that point.
Among those who failed to punch their ticket to Day 2 included Ari Engel, Theo Tran, Jon Borenstein, "Boston" Rob Mariano, Alex Foxen, Scott Baumstein, Shankar Pillai, Nick Palma and Team PokerStars Online's Jaime Staples. Staples registered late and didn't seem to have much to work with, eventually shoving deuces for his last 10 big blinds and running into the queens of Nick Aguilera.
Play resumes tomorrow at 11 a.m. where another 10 one-hour levels are scheduled to be played.
Twitch Stars Staples and Martin Arrive
One of the unique features of the venue at PokerStars Festival New Jersey is a dedicated Twitch streaming setup in the corner of the players' lounge. It's a clear signal of what direction PokerStars is attempting to take their festivals series of events — appealing to the common poker fan who regularly consumes Twitch content.
Along those lines, two of poker Twitch's mainstays have arrived at Resorts to participate in the festivities this week. PokerStars Team Online Pros Jaime Staples and Kevin Martin both showed up, and despite neither player bagging the Main Event, they both had busy days, starting with a morning Q&A.
"It's in its infancy right now," Martin said of poker on Twitch. "We have had a lot of people start streaming all different stakes and skill levels and I think it will be a platform that people use in the future for sure, because it's relatable and it's easy. Somebody can log on and be playing poker in front of other people in minutes. So yeah, it's definitely the future and it's definitely going to grow for sure."
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