David Chiu is off to an excellent start. He got all in against one opponent on a board of . His opponent called and showed . That was an excellent hand, but Chiu did him one better by turning over for a bigger flush.
If you're a regular reader of PokerNews tournament coverage, you may be surprised to see us covering a World Poker Tour event. Calls were made, meetings were held and as a result here we are. We couldn't be happier to be here.
However, things are a bit different than normal for this event. Normally PokerNews has unfettered access to the tournament floor for the tournaments that we cover. At this event, we've been informed that because of WPT's contractual obligations, we have only limited access to the floor. This will obviously make it difficult for us to provide the full coverage that you've come to expect from PokerNews tournament coverage.
The biggest impact this will have is on our chip counts page. It will be almost impossible to keep the chip counts current. We at least should be able to provide the top ten stacks in the room courtesy of the WPT live reporting team.
We will, of course, be filming video segments throughout the course of the day and will also be providing as much live reporting of the tournament action as we can. Thanks for your patience!
Every tournament with a large field has a so-called "Table of Death" -- a table that seems to have drawn more than its random share of top-tier poker professionals. In today's field, that table seems to be Table #1. Seated next to each other, in order around the table, are Jeff Madsen, David Chiu and Kathy Liebert.
It's a giant field here in the upstairs ballroom at the Commerce Casino. We are very slowly making our way from table to table in an effort to figure out who turned up. The tournament has definitely brought the cream of the poker crop. We've made it only through about thirty percent of the room and have already spotted: several members of Team Full Tilt (Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel, and Allen Cunningham); three Team PokerStars Pros (Alexandre Gomes, Andre Akkari and Daniel Negreanu); the defending LAPC champion, Phil Ivey; a former world champion, Jerry Yang; and several WSOP Main Event final tablists, including Chino Rheem and Paul Wasicka.
We're slowly adding players into the chip counts page as we find them. It may take a bit longer to get them all in.
"Welcome to the Main Event at the L.A. Poker Classic," said Tournament Director Matt Savage. "Shuffle up and deal!" The schedule today is to play six 90-minute levels. There will be 75-minute dinner break after Level 4.
"They call Los Angeles the 'City Of Angels', but I didn't find it to be that, exactly," said Sam Elliot over the opening crawl of the seminal late 90s Los Angeles movie, The Big Lebowski. "But I'll allow it," he added, "as there are some nice folks there." There won't be any angels or nice folks at the Commerce Casino for Day 1 of the 2009 L.A. Poker Classic Main Event that gets underway later today. This will be a bare-knuckle brawl, with each competitor dreaming of a life-changing payday.
It surprises a fair number of people to learn that all forms of poker are legal in California. The truth is that California (and the Los Angeles area in particular) is the poker capital of the United States and has been since the 1970s, when the Oaks Card Club challenged the California Attorney General's interpretation of the gambling laws and regulations on the books, claiming that they did not ban flop poker. An appeals court agreed, finding not only that flop poker wasn't banned in California but also that no form of poker was banned. That ruling created a second "gold rush" in California, as dozens of poker rooms sprang up looking to cash in on the suddenly-legitimized form of gambling.
The Commerce Casino in Commerce, California, about eight miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, is the 800-pound gorilla and undisputed king of California card clubs. With more than 150 tables devoted exclusively to poker, and another 80 devoted to table games like three-card poker and pai gow poker, Commerce is the largest poker room in the world. It's therefore fitting that Commerce should be the setting for the $10,000 World Poker Tour championship event that will unfold here over the course of the next week.
The total number of entries for this tournament is expected to be more than 700 of the most talented and/or richest poker players this side of Hollywood. Get out your poker-celebrity-watching binoculars; with first prize expected to be seven figures, this will be a deep field. Whoever takes home that prize will be in august company. Phil Ivey, Eric Hershler, Alan Goehring, Michael Mizrachi, Antonio Esfandiari and Gus Hansen have all won the L.A. Poker Classic Main Event since the WPT shook up the poker world six years ago.
Action is underway just after noon local time. PokerNews will be live on the tournament floor to bring you all of the action. Stick around!