Day 1c Completed
Day 1c Completed
A pair of two-time World Poker Tour champs dominated Day 1c at WinStar River Poker Series $2,500 Main Event, bagging the top two chip stacks after a 14-hour grind.
Aaron Mermelstein (622,500) and Marvin Rettenmaier (521,500) are the headliners of the 48 players who made it through the third and final Day 1 flight in Thackerville, Okla.
Mermelstein, an East Coast grinder who won WPT Maryland Live! in 2016 and WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in 2015, had a rough go of it on Day 1a and Day 1b as he fired a number of bullets that all turned out to be blanks.
However, things went much more smoothly for him on Day 1c. His fortunes turned when he picked up pocket aces in Level 13 (1,200/2,400/300) and found two players shoving their chips in ahead of him. They turned out to have weaker pocket pairs, tens and kings, and Mermelstein's bullets held to rocket him past 100 big blinds.
Mermelstein then dialed up the aggression big time on the bubble.
"You can't be getting that many good hands," a player at his table exclaimed as Mermelstein continued to open pot after pot and add to his stack.
Rettenmaier's WPT titles both came back in 2012, when the German pro took down WPT Cyprus and WPT World Championship. He came into this event hot after nearly joining the exclusive club of three-time champs at WPT Legends of Poker, where he finished fifth last week.
Unlike Mermelstein, Rettenmaier hadn't been plugging away in a dogged effort to find a bag over the course of the first few days. He tried firing just before registration closed on Day 1b but was a few ticks too late and had to make do with just Day 1c. Make do he did, despite splitting his attention between his live chip stack and an online one or two that he manipulated on a laptop throughout the middle levels of the event.
About an hour before bagging time, Rettenmaier turned a straight with seven-six in a massive pot against Jim Carroll that saw the latter check-raise the flop and barrel the turn before both players shut down on the river with a three-flush and a paired board. Carroll showed down just top pair.
Sam Phillips, Grant Hinkle, Anthony Spinella, Johanssy Joseph, Tommy Vedes, Greg Himmelbrand and former WSOP Main Event champ Chris Moneymaker also advanced to Monday's Day 2. Hinkle seeks back-to-back "wins" in this event after being part of a five-way chop last year, when he claimed over $200,000.
The 395 entries who turned up made for a total field of 926. Day 2 will see 113 of those return to the felt, all in the money. Play is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., and PokerNews will be on hand for all of the live updates as the field is reduced throughout the day.
Sam Phillips opened for a raise early and a player with 1,000 left put it in.
Phillips flopped a seven as hit and the turn and river meant Day 1c had come to an end.
Marvin Rettenmaier bet 25,500 from early position on an flop. Jim Carroll check-raised to 70,500 from the big blind, and Rettenmaier called after tanking a bit. Carroll bet 100,000 on the and Rettenmaier called once more. Both players checked the river, the latter after considerable thought.
Carroll opened but Rettenmaier turned a straight with .
On a board reading , Aaron Mermelstein bet about 40,000 from middle position and got called by Tim Cramer on his left. Mermelstein then put the rest in on the river, leaving Cramer at risk for about 70,000 or so. Cramer thought only briefly before mucking.
With another elimination at a different table, Day 1c has reached the stone bubble.
In stark contrast to the pre-bubble period of the past two starting flights, players are flying out the door here on Day 1c.
At one table, Phil Mader went bust when he got all in preflop for his last 60,000 or so and ran into the of the big blind. The board ran out . According to Mader, he had opened preflop and been called in one spot before the big blind accidentally min-raised when trying to call. Mader said he then shoved over and was called by the big blind.
Right after that, Jared Hamby opened under the gun and Johanssy Joseph three-bet on the button before calling Hamby's ship for about 100,000.
The kings held on the board.
With 50 left, hand-for-hand play has begun.
Mike Rieck was facing an all-in shove for 142,000 effective when we got to his table. After a middle-position open to 13,000, Rieck had three-bet to 35,000 on the button. He was deep in the tank and someone called a clock. About midway through his final minute, Rieck opted for a call.
The flop brought plenty of equity for Rieck, and the turn got him there. The river gave him the nuts to boot.
Phil Mader finally broke the 50,000 barrier, which he's been under for about the last four or five hours. He shipped in the small blind with and won against , fading an open-ended straight draw on the turn to get to 64,000.
Grant Hinkle was all in for 220,000 in the cutoff when we got to his table. As another player at the table told it, he had gotten in a preflop raising war, making it 40,000 after a middle player opened to 14,000. Hinkle's opponent followed up with 110,000, and Hinkle put in the five-bet rip. His opponent thought about a minute and called.
The community came , no threat to Hinkle, who was part of a five-way chop in this event last year and looks like a favorite to see Day 2 after the big hold.