With EPT10 Barcelona breaking attendance records, you had to worry about the impact it would have on the Season XII World Poker Tour (WPT) Stateside opener at the Bicycle Casino, in Bell Gardens, California; and yet the Legends of Poker event saw a 15% increase in attendance figures.
Maybe the increase was down to the fact that the WPT changed the structure and inserted a third starting flight, or perhaps the American poker community are hearing their tight-lipped wallets singing gloriously over the news that Full Tilt Poker (FTP) money may very well be returning soon?
Either way, 716 players made their way through the three starting flights, and as we approach the third day of action 90% of that field is now back at home waiting for the Garden City Group to make more announcements, as only 71-players remain in contention for a WPT Champions Club berth and $613,355 first place prize.
Day 1A saw 142-players sit down and play, and only 56 survive. Leading the way was Barry Hutter with 212,400 chips and following him into Day Two were Joseph Cheong (188,100), Season XI player of the year Matt Salsberg (90,000) and Season X player of the year Joe Serock (147,500).
The second starting flight saw 199-players take to the felt, and 84-remained when a halt was called to proceedings. Chris Richter took the plaudits waiting for the chip leader when he bagged and tagged 176,500 chips; and he was joined by the Season VIII player of the year Faraz Jaka (152,000), Kyle Julius (142,700) and Owen Crowe (105,000).
Bringing the starting flights to a head was Day 1C. 328 players made it the biggest starting flight of the three and 124-players remained as the action came to a close. The Frenchman Fabrice Touil – a former WPT Paris final tablist in 2010 – ended the day as the chip leader with 272,400, making him the Day Two chip leader proper – he was joined in Day Two by David Tuchman (190,400), Lev Rofman (170,200) and Scotty Nguyen (159,400).
With over $3.5m in live tournament earnings, and a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet dangling off his wrist, Dan Heimiller knows his way around a live tournament. The American veteran has been playing poker with the very best since 1992, and as Day Two came to a close he held the chip lead with just 71-players remaining.
47-players took advantage of the re-entry clause that allowed players to have a final bullet at the start of Day Two giving the WPT a final cast of 716 players. All 71 players are now guaranteed at least $7,050 after the actor Ashton Holmes, and Jake Schindler, chopped a $7,050 prize when they were both eliminated at the same time on the bubble.
Joining Heimiller in that pack of 71 include WPT Champions Club member Phil Laak (830,000), Matt Berkey (466,000), Greg Mueller (328,000), David Tuchman (295,000), Lily Kiletto (267,000), Faraz Jaka (236,000), Ali Eslami (179,000) and Joe Serock (98,000).
Day Three action will commence at 13:00 (PT) and you can catch it all at WPT.com.