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WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open Underway, Guarantee Already Smashed

lucky hearts poker open

Day 1a of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Lucky Hearts Poker Open was a huge success as the $3,500 buy-in tournament already obliterated its $2 million guarantee, and there's still one Day 1 starting flight remaining (Saturday).

Among the 893 entrants in attendance at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida on Friday were defending champion Brian Altman and 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year Josh Arieh.

Top 10 End-of-Day 1a Chip Counts

PlacePlayerCount
1Jesse Lonis685,500
2Dan Stavila487,500
3Josh Kay454,000
4PAtrick White445,500
5Matthew Ahmed430,000
6Bin Weng417,000
7Lanny Vaysman409,500
8William Watson399,500
9Conor Hannan369,000
10Manuel Amaro Alvarez356,000

WPT Season off and Running

The WPT's 20th season kicked off Friday and with a bang. Day 1b begins at 11 a.m. ET Saturday. Another large field is expected, including some players who busted during the opening session. Day 2 is schedule for Sunday, with the final table (Day 5) taking place Wednesday.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, there's still some business to take care of at the South Florida casino. On Day 1a, numerous big name pros took a shot at the WPT Champions Club. Anthony Zinno, Nick Schulman, Gal Yifrach, and Joe McKeehen were just a few of those familiar faces.

Each player began with 40,000 chips and the first session completed 10, 60-minute levels. At around 11:30 p.m. local time, play concluded with 241 advancing to Day 2 — about 27% of the field. Jesse Lonis, who has been red hot in tournament play the past year, bagged the chip lead at 685,000 chips thanks to making a correct hero call with pocket queens facing a massive bet on an ace-high board. His opponent was on a stone-cold bluff and lost his entire stack in that hand right before the session wrapped.

josh arieh poker
2021 WSOP Player of the Year Josh Arieh

Altman, the defending champ, busted before play ended, as did Arieh, who didn't have as much luck on Friday as he did during the 2021 WSOP. Both players will have an opportunity to reenter the tournament on Saturday.

Chance Kornuth's heater was also put on hold briefly. Fresh off a successful Stairway to Millions series in Las Vegas that included two wins, the Chip Leader Coaching was one of many Day 1a eliminations. Joe Cada, Vanessa Kade, and Erik Seidel were also among the competitors who failed to bag.

Some notable players who survived and advanced with big stacks include Jeremy Ausmus (330,000), reigning WPT Player of the Year Jake Ferro (277,000), and Ali Imsirovic (210,500).

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

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