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WPT LAPC Day 1: Maimone and Romero Atop Counts

Nick Maimone
  • Day 1 action at the WPT LAPC concluded Saturday night.

All World Poker Tour events are marquee parts of the international poker circuit schedule, but the L.A. Poker Classic is special even by WPT standards. It's one of just three $10,000 events in Season XV of the WPT, along with the Five Diamond World Poker Classic and the season-ending Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale.

This year's LAPC kicked off Saturday at noon local time at Commerce Hotel & Casino. The freezeout event drew 498 runners, although registration remained open until the start of Sunday's Day 2.

When the dust settled after eight levels of play, Nick "FU_15" Maimone bagged the chip lead with 187,000 as blinds got set to head to 400/800/100. Maimone's best known for his online prowess but has also amassed about $2 million in live cashes, highlighted by a victory in last year's PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 High Roller for just under $1 million.

Another player bagging heaps was James Romero, who is looking for his second monster WPT cash in recent months. He won Five Diamond at the end of 2016 for over $1.9 million.

Romero dragged a large pot in Level 8 (300/600/75) when he made a full house with {a-Hearts}{k-Clubs} on a board of {a-Spades}{k-Hearts}{7-Spades}{9-Diamonds}{k-Diamonds}. Romero bet 4,000 on the turn and his opponent put in a raise to 11,000. Romero called and both players checked when the last king hit the board, with Romero winning a pot of about 33,000 after showdown, failing to induce one final shell from his foe.

Another player winning a monster late pot to bag a pile was Seth Berger. Berger found himself in a three-way all in after a raising war ended with Joe Hachem five-betting all in with kings. Berger called off with aces, and a third player already had moved in with jacks. The board ran out a dead nine-high and Berger doubled through Hachem and scooped the massive pot.

Hachem managed to survive the day with 89,300 despite the cooler. Other players making it through included Niall Farrell (108,200), Chino Rheem (91,000), Daniel Negreanu (86,200), Richard Seymour (78,000), defending champ Dietrich Fast (72,000), Antonio Esfandiari (53,350) and Mike Sexton (53,000).

Players eliminated included Qui Nguyen, Cate Hall, Sean Winter, Ryan Riess, Paul Volpe, Justin Bonomo, Joe McKeehen and Erik Seidel.

Day 2 is underway at Commerce, with live updates available on the WPT's website.

Top 10 Chip Counts

1Nick Maimone187,000
2James Romero153,600
3Sam Phillips143,000
4Daniel Strelitz127,600
5Marco Cavallaro126,800
6Seth Berger115,400
7Niall Farrell108,200
8Bart Hanson105,400
9Ivan Karim102,000
10Jake Schwartz101,300

Photo courtesy of WPT

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