2016 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1A: Opening Day Bodes Well for Record Turnout, Chance Kornuth Holds the Lead

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There was certainly no rest for the staff of the World Poker Tour nor the players on the circuit as, immediately following the conclusion of the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star in San Jose, the trucks, cars and helicopters headed to Sacramento for the final stop of the WPT’s California Swing. Day 1A of the WPT Rolling Thunder is in the books and a familiar name has taken his place atop the leaderboard.

The structure of the tournament makes it potentially one of the bigger buy-in events on the WPT schedule. The initial buy in for a player is $3500 but, with two Day Ones and a buy in and a re-entry available for each of those days, players can be in for four buy ins rather quickly. The opportunities don’t stop there, however; players have one final option to buy in on Day 2 if the wish, making it a grand total of $15,000 that would be generated for the prize pool. The players for both Day Ones would play eight hour days at full tables of nine players but, when the players hit the 36 player mark, they will switch to six-handed tables to conclude the tournament.

There was also some great interest from the players in the WPT California Swing competition. Available to players who took part in all three legs of the Swing – the L. A. Poker Classic, the Bay 101 Shooting Star and the Rolling Thunder – points were awarded as to how those players finished. At this time, WPT officials have been able to determine that there are 229 players that are eligible for an array of awards from the California Swing and a full leaderboard will be available on Sunday for players who would like to check their standings.

With the tournament at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort occurring so soon after the Bay 101, the tables were replete with players who played in San Jose. Marvin Rettenmaier, Mohsin Charania, Garrett Greer, Allen Kessler, Anthony Zinno and Matt Salsberg were just a few of the faces getting reacquainted with each other as the play through the early action was rather quiet (although Kessler would bust out and decide against using his one re-entry). The player numbers were so impressive that tournament director Matt Savage noted that the numbers for the 2016 version of the tournament (200 entries) had surpassed last year’s figures, boding well with a Day 1B on Sunday that should see a large outpouring of players.

With the ability to come back on Day 1B (and even Day 2 if necessary), there was some “ramming and jamming” done that led to the demise of some rather popular names. Ari Engel wasn’t one of those, his Big Slick getting caught by his opponent’s Big Chick, but Rettenmaier, Salsberg, Jonathan Little, Andy Frankenberger, Steve Brecher and Faraz Jaka would all fall down to the felt with their lack of chips. One pro in particular, however, seemed to grab ahold of the tournament about halfway through Day 1A and didn’t let go.

Chance Kornuth, the fourth round draft pick of the Global Poker League’s Los Angeles Sunset, seemed to be getting himself ready for the league’s opening night of matches (which will be April 5) in cruising out to a six figure stack with relatively little fanfare. He will be joined by a talented crop of pursuers, and this isn’t even counting who will come out of the Day 1B battles.

Chance Kornuth, 178,100 J. C. Tran, 166,000 Robert Kuhn, 145,300 Brian Altman, 141,400 Russell Garrett, 134,000 Matthew McEwan, 131,800 Taylor Paur*, 124,000 Michael Wang, 111,100 Moon Kim, 101,200 Jake Schwartz, 98,600

(* – Paur is the defending California Swing champion)

Day 1B of the 2016 WPT Rolling Thunder will erupt at noon (Pacific Time), but full details on the tournament (entries, prize pool, players paid, etc.) will not be known until the end of overall registration after Level 9 on Monday afternoon. It is extremely likely that, if the usual trends that apply in multi-Opening Day poker tournaments apply here, the 378 entries that were generated for this event will be topped after Sunday’s Day 1B.

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