NFL Star Calais Campbell Stacks Chips at WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open
The Baltimore Ravens struggled down the stretch of the 2021 NFL season and missed the Playoffs. That meant defensive end Calais Campbell, a 14-year veteran, had some free time on his hands this weekend, so he took a shot at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Lucky Hearts Poker Open, where he bagged a large stack on Day 1b.
Many of those who busted Day 1a (Friday) came back on Saturday to reenter the $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament, the first of the 2022 WPT season. Among those who gave it a second shot include Chance Kornuth and defending champion Brian Altman, who has two Lucky Hearts titles to his resume.
Day 1b was another huge day for the South Florida poker tournament hosted at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. After 893 entered the first session, the second starting flight attracted 1,089 players, bringing the overall tally to 1,928, creating a $6,342,400 prize pool, smashing the $2 million guarantee.
First place will pay $975,240, and 248 players will get paid.
NFL Veteran in the Mix
On Saturday, 351 players advanced to Sunday's Day 2. Those individuals will be joined by the 242 players who had already bagged chips. Numerous poker stars are moving on, along with a couple of talented athletes who will join them.
Colby Covington, a UFC fighter, ended Day 1a with the 11th largest stack out of 242 (278,000). And Baltimore Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell finished Day 1b with 242,500, just over six times the 40,000-chip starting stack.
Campbell's having more success on the felt than his team did during the second half of the season. After starting out 8-3, putting Baltimore among the Super Bowl favorites, the Ravens finished the season on a six-game losing streak and missed the playoffs entirely. With Campbell's NFL title dreams out the window, he's now focused on winning a World Poker Tour crown.
The former Miami Hurricane still has some work to do if he's going to reach his first major poker tournament final table. Nearly 400 players remain, including the red hot Jesse Lonis, who bagged the Day 1a chip lead (685,000). Jordan DeGrenier ended the second session with the most chips at 672,000. Those will be the top two stacks when play resumes at noon ET on Sunday.
Top 10 End-of-Day 1 Overall Chip Counts
Other notable players above starting stack include: Jake Ferro (277,000), Chance Kornuth (253,500), Joe Cada (249,500), Shannon Shorr (149,000), Brian Hastings (147,000). Joseph Hebert (137,500), Joseph Cheong (97,500), Ryan Depaulo (81,500), and Jeff Madsen (64,500).
When play resumes on Sunday, the blinds will jump to 1,500/2,500/2,500 and 10, 60-minute levels of play are scheduled. The final table will take place Wednesday.
PokerNews will offer daily recaps from the WPT $3,500 Lucky Hearts Poker Open Main Event upon completion of play each day.
*Images courtesy of WPT.com