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Main Event



Main Event
Day 1c Completed

Two-Time WPT Champs Mermelstein and Rettenmaier Top Day 1c Counts at WinStar

mnuwwarah • Level 16: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante
Aaron Mermelstein
Aaron Mermelstein

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.

End of Day 1c Counts (full)

mnuwwarah • Level 16: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante
Aaron Mermelstein us
Aaron Mermelstein
us 622,500 52,500
Marvin Rettenmaier de
Marvin Rettenmaier
de 521,500 -3,500
Juan Lozano us
Juan Lozano
us 470,500 20,500
Sam Phillips us
Sam Phillips
us 447,000 207,000
Collin Grubaugh us
Collin Grubaugh
us 425,500 163,500
Adam Gonzales us
Adam Gonzales
us 408,000
Justin Kruger us
Justin Kruger
us 365,000 257,000
Michael Perrone us
Michael Perrone
us 357,000 208,500
Hiren Dharani US
Hiren Dharani
US 326,500
Ricky Green us
Ricky Green
us 305,000
Charlie Claffey US
Charlie Claffey
US 303,500 109,000
Mike Rieck us
Mike Rieck
us 282,500 -14,000
Jim Carroll us
Jim Carroll
us 275,500 72,500
Grant Hinkle us
Grant Hinkle
us 250,500 -201,500
Richard Tygum US
Richard Tygum
US 248,000
Michael Hackney US
Michael Hackney
US 245,000
Anthony Spinella us
Anthony Spinella
us 235,000 72,000
Billy Rodgers US
Billy Rodgers
US 230,500
Carlos Requena us
Carlos Requena
us 226,500
Brian Gordon US
Brian Gordon
US 226,000 96,000
James Mordue us
James Mordue
us 222,000 152,000
Todd Elwood us
Todd Elwood
us 210,000 125,000
Johanssy Joseph us
Johanssy Joseph
us 191,000 -34,000
Karen Robison us
Karen Robison
us 184,000
Jon Scarborough us
Jon Scarborough
us 181,500

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That's a Wrap

mnuwwarah • Level 16: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante

Sam Phillips opened for a raise early and a player with 1,000 left put it in.

Phillips: {j-Hearts}{7-Hearts}
Opponent: {a-Hearts}{5-Hearts}

Phillips flopped a seven as {2-Spades}{7-Spades}{q-Hearts} hit and the {5-Spades} turn and {6-Spades} river meant Day 1c had come to an end.

Tags: Sam Phillips

Big Pot to Rettenmaier

mnuwwarah • Level 16: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante

Marvin Rettenmaier bet 25,500 from early position on an {a-Clubs}{5-Spades}{4-Clubs} 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 {3-Clubs} and Rettenmaier called once more. Both players checked the {3-Hearts} river, the latter after considerable thought.

Carroll opened {a-Hearts}{10-Diamonds} but Rettenmaier turned a straight with {7-Hearts}{6-Clubs}.

Marvin Rettenmaier de
Marvin Rettenmaier
de 525,000 247,000
Jim Carroll us
Jim Carroll
us 203,000 -177,000

Tags: Jim CarrollMarvin Rettenmaier

Mermelstein Pressures Cramer into a Fold

mnuwwarah • Level 16: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante

On a board reading {j-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{q-Spades}, 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 {j-Hearts} 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.

Aaron Mermelstein us
Aaron Mermelstein
us 570,000 110,000
Tim Cramer us
Tim Cramer
us 70,000 -165,000

Tags: Aaron MermelsteinTim Cramer

Mader and Hamby Bust

mnuwwarah • Level 16: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante

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 {a-Spades}{6-Hearts} all in preflop for his last 60,000 or so and ran into the {7-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} of the big blind. The board ran out {j-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{2-Spades}. 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.

Hamby: {a-Diamonds}{q-Hearts}
Joseph: {k-Hearts}{k-Spades}

The kings held on the {9-Spades}{5-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} board.

With 50 left, hand-for-hand play has begun.

Johanssy Joseph us
Johanssy Joseph
us 225,000 -5,000
Phil Mader us
Phil Mader
us Busted
Jared Hamby us
Jared Hamby
us Busted

Tags: Jared HambyJohanssy JosephPhil Mader

Rieck Finds the Call Button

mnuwwarah • Level 16: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante

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.

Rieck: {a-Clubs}{k-Clubs}
Opponent: {j-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}

The {2-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{q-Spades} flop brought plenty of equity for Rieck, and the {a-Spades} turn got him there. The {10-Clubs} river gave him the nuts to boot.

Mike Rieck us
Mike Rieck
us 296,500 116,500

Tags: Mike Rieck

Mader Surviving

mnuwwarah • Level 16: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante

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 {k-}{4-} and won against {10-}{7-}, fading an open-ended straight draw on the turn to get to 64,000.

Phil Mader us
Phil Mader
us 64,000 43,000

Tags: Phil Mader

Hinkle Fades the Ace

mnuwwarah • Level 16: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante
Grant Hinkle
Grant Hinkle

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.

Hinkle: {k-Diamonds}{k-Clubs}
Opponent: {a-Clubs}{k-Spades}

The community came {9-Spades}{9-Hearts}{j-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{q-Spades}, 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.

Grant Hinkle us
Grant Hinkle
us 452,000 258,500

Tags: Grant Hinkle