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Western New York Poker Challenge: A Massive Field in the $200 Event

Dan Wagner
  • The guaranteed prize pool has already been crushed, with 2 more starting days to go!

The 2018 Western New York Poker Challenge got underway at the Seneca Niagra Resort & Casino as Event #1: $200 No-Limit Hold'em kicked off at 10 A.M. The first of four Day 1 flights attracted a total of 146 entries with just 22 securing a seat for Day 2.

After 14 levels of 30 minutes each on Day 1a, former Niagra Falls Poker champion Daniel Wagner (lead photo) bagged the largest stack carrying a healthy 325,000 towards Sunday's Day 2. Wagner steamrolled his competition en route to the chip lead.

Wagner's closest competitor was Jeremy Hoeltke with 195,300 while Matt Heiligenthaler (179,100), Rob Zaenglein (173,900), and Erik Klis (129,000) round out the top five.

A total of 350 entries have accumulated thus far, already smashing the $50,000 guarantee.

Any Day 1a casualties or players not able to make it before registration closed still have three more shots to earn a seat for Day 2 on Sunday.

The second qualifying flight of Event #1 of the event, Day 1b, saw 25 hopefuls bagging a stack for Day 2. Day 1b saw a total of 204 entries gathered with Tim Campbell leading the 25 survivors. Campbell bagged an impressive 304,300 to claim the top spot though still trailing Day 1a leader, Daniel Wagner with 325,000.

Propelled by a triple up with a straight flush, Mike Rellinger bagged second best, ending play with 284,800. Kevin Garry (283,200), Julie Billiterri (171,200), and Paul Humphrey (150,500) round out the top five.

An impressive story from Day 1b was that of Zeljko Mihelic. In level 10, blinds were 600/1200. Mihelic had just 400 chips. That was two antes. Fast forward to Level 13 and Mihelic had 52 big blinds, about 125,000 chips. Mihelic finished the day just outside the top five with 149,200.

Any players unfortunate enough to not have a seat locked up for Sunday's Day 2 still has two more shots to qualify with qualifying flights scheduled at 10:00 A.M and 6:00 P.M local time on Saturday.

A total of 350 entries have accumulated thus far, already smashing the $50,000 guarantee. The prize pool currently sits at $56,525 with $23,579 gathered on Day 1a and another $32,946 last evening.

The Saturday Day 1c and 1d flights are expected to be even larger. Pretty large value for a $200 buy-in!

PokerNews will be here throughout the festival, bringing you all the news and live updates. You can keep track of all the updates in the PokerNews Live Reporting blog, or follow @pokernews on Twitter, on Facebook, and Instagram.

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