It was a wild ride here in Event #52: $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em (Six Handed) for one of the biggest buy-in events of the summer. At the end of the night it was Max Lehmanski who locked up the most chips (406,000). Action started slow and steady here with only a few players dropping off here and there, but ironically enough, one of the first bust outs of the day, possibly the first, was that of Greg Merson, the champion of this event last year. Merson tried to run a huge bluff on Don Nguyen, but Nguyen snapped him off with two pair and Merson was eliminated very early into Day 1.
There were 175 players who began the day, but at the end of it only 101 remained. Notables fell off the map one by one such as Daniel Negreanu, Matt Stout, Jennifer Tilly, Matt Marafioti, Isaac Haxton, Chris Moorman, Phil Ivey, and Jonathan Duhamel. But for every notable who fell there were plenty still left alive. One could be found at every table of the tournament. Some who will return tomorrow include Jason Mercier, Christian Harder, Max Steinberg, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Dan Kelly, Matt Salsberg, and many more.
The man who locked up the chip lead tonight was Max Lehmanski. Lehmanski grabbed the lead when he won a huge three-way pot against Brandon Cantu and one other player. Cantu had flopped top two pair, another player flopped top and bottom pair, and Lehmanski held a flush draw that he binked to take all the money. Lehmanski never let go of his chip lead and he will ride his 406,000 chips into tomorrow.
Hot on Lehmanski's tail is Phil Galfond, who took down a huge pot at the end of the night courtesy of Masa Kagawa. Kagawa shoved all in on the river and after a long while in the tank, Galfond called. Kagawa had a pair of sevens the never improved on the flop, turn, or river, while Galfond had two pair. Kagawa's chips vaulted Galfond up to the top of the chip counts, but he still has a ways to go to catch Lehmanski.
The remaining 101 players will be back tomorrow at 2 p.m. local time and they will play 10 levels or down to a final table. PokerNews.com will be here with all the action so make sure to stay tuned as we follow the road to crown our next World Series of Poker Champion