Day 1a Completed
Day 1a Completed
If the Day1a turnout at Grand Falls Casino just outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota is any indication, there’s clearly a hunger for live tournament poker. The first of two starting flights closed with 226 entries, which nearly equaled the venue’s two-day record of 238 total entries back in 2015.
After a hard stop 10 minutes into Level 15, just 27 players bagged and tagged with Kevin Berthelsen and his stack of 541,000 leading the way. Rounding out the top five big stacks were William Chao (427,000), Stephen Cleghorn (357,000), Tim Garles (310,000), and Curtis Vierstraete (296,000).
Others to punch their tickets to Day 2 were Donnie Phan (248,000), Steve Federspiel (227,000), Kyna England (207,000), Jason Seitz (191,000), Tyler Kolness (141,000), and Ryan Phan (95,000).
Of course, not everyone was fortunate enough to make it through the night. Among those to fire and fall in Friday’s flight were two-time South Dakota State Poker Championship winner Ryan Skluzak, WSOP Circuit studs Blake Whittington and Nick Pupillo, Howard Hankin’s BFF Cody Brinn, “Bemidji” Eric Anderson, and MSPT Hall of Famer Rich Alsup.
Day 1b will get underway at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Late registration and re-entries will remain open through Level 12 (approximately 11:40 p.m.). PokerNews will be on hand to capture all the action, so be sure to join us then.
The field has been whittled down to the final 27 players, which is the hard stop for this flight. there is 30 minutes remaining in Level 15, which means players in Flight B will play to the same point tomorrow.
The remaining players are now bagging and tagging for the night. Stay tuned for a list of chip counts and a short recap of the Day 1a action.
Ryan Phan, who finished 11th in the 2018 WSOP Main Event for $725,000, raised to 8,000 off his short stack from early position only to have the player in the hijack three-bet to 21,000. Action folded back to Phan and he moved in for 49,000 total, which his opponent called.
Phan had the granddaddy of all hands and he shipped the double after the board ran out to improve him to the nut flush.
Action folded to Bruce "The Hammer" Swart on the button and he moved all in for 43,000, which Denver's Dapo Ajayi called from the small blind.
It was a race but Swart needed to improve to stay alive. Unfortunately for him, that didn't happen as the board ran out to send him out the door in 34th place.
Chicago's Michael Berk was on an up-and-down ride today. Midway through the tournament he was short but then hit his stride and worked a short stack into one of the bigger ones in the room.
Unfortunately for him, he lost a chip-leading pot that would've put him at 500K had he made it through the river. It happened on a flop when he held . His opponent had , and long story short a jack spiked on the river.
Berk was left with 100K but lost another big one to knock him down to just 6,000. In what would be his final hand of the Day 1a flight, Berk moved in from the hijack and Mike Lang called from the button. The player in the big blind put in an additional 3,000 and then the two active players checked it down as the board ran out .
Lang didn't seem to realize he had the ace-high flush, which proved the winner to send Berk out in Level 12.
Not long ago Dan Bekavac was down to just 28,000, but he's bounced back by working it up to 165,000.
In a recent hand, a player was all in preflop for 55,000 and was flipping against Bekavac.
In this hand, Big Slick didn't do the trick as the board ran out to give Bekavac the pot and knockout.