After fifteen levels of play, Day 1a of the WinStar World Casino's 2012 River Poker Series Main Event has come to a close. A grand total of 401 players ponied up the $2,100 buy in to play in the first wave of this event and at the end of the day, Matt Newcombe rose above the remaining 41 players by building his stack to 785,500.
Each of the 41 players returning for Day 2 is guaranteed money, although the amount is not certain yet and will depend on how many players register for Day 1b and 1c.
Newcombe was not the only player to accumulate a big stack during Day 1a play. While he is the biggest stack in the room by a wide margin, Ron Roberts is also sitting pretty with 473,000 which is good for second place. Rounding out the top three is Daniel Lowery who is sitting on a stack of 316,000.
While they may not be top among the top three in chips, there were several notable names to make it through to Day 2. Among those to move on are Ben White (340,500), Kunal Patel (241,000), David "Doc" Sands (239,500), and Clint Tolbert (85,500).
With a guaranteed prize pool of $2,500,000 for the Main Event it's no surprise that this field was able to turn out a large number of big name players. However, as the field was reduced to the top ten percent, many of those players found nothing but the felt beneath them and were forced to hit the rail. The good news, though, is that this event is a re-entry event, and the players eliminated during Day 1a have the option to try their luck again on Days 1b and 1c.
Greg Raymer and Maria Ho, both of whom are ambassadors for this event, were eliminated from play today. Ho three-bet her her short stack all in with and was called by Jence Kelling's pocket eights. The board fell and Ho was unable to improve.
Other players that were eliminated during play today that are expected to return for Day 1b are TJ Cloutier, Berry Johnston, Heath Herring, Harrison Gimbel, Ray Henson, AJ Jejelowo, Richard Lee, Dwyte Pilgrim, Larry Wright, Chris Tryba, Allen Kessler, and John Dolan.
Vanessa Selbst also made the journey to Thackervillie, Oklahoma to partake in this event. Unfortunately for Selbst, she found her participation in the first flight come to an end when she opened with an early position raise only to find a three-bet from Bronson Tucker, the reigning champion of this event. The flop came down with two spades and Selbst check-called a bet. Both players checked the on the turn and Selbst moved all in when a dropped on the river. Tucker called with and Selbst's was flung into the muck. Selbst, along with the rest of the notable names, will have an opportunity for redemption during Day 1b.
As play wound down toward the end of the night, Jared Ingles became the tournament's bubble boy when he got his stack all in before the flop with . Ingles was called by Daniel Lowery's and the board fell , giving Lowery a pair of aces and the best hand.
The 41 players that finished Day 1a with chips have nothing but relaxation on their schedules until Sunday when Day 2 occurs. Day 1b will begin on Friday at 1200 and we're expecting another stellar turnout here at the WinStar World Casino. Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for all of the latest updates!