The World Poker Tour is back in action as the Season XVI WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10,400 Main Event kicked off Tuesday. A very stout 600 entries were tallied on Day 1, setting the tournament up to potentially break last year’s Five Diamond record of 791 entries.
This tournament does not have multiple starting flights, so most of who will participate likely already showed up on Day 1, but there is still a ways to go before the final registration numbers will be known. Registration closes at the beginning of Level 9, which won’t happen until Wednesday night (there were five levels played on Day 1). The Five Diamond Main Event is also an unlimited re-entry tournament, so those who are knocked out on Day 1 or Day 2 can keep trying, even as I write this, provided they have the funds to do so.
That the Five Diamond is a re-entry event has generated some controversy. As my colleague Earl Burton wrote recently, poker pro Allen Kessler posted a poll on Twitter to see what format people wanted for the tournament and of the 623 votes, half were cast in favor of the traditional freezeout, one buy-in per person format. Unlimited re-entry only grabbed 11 percent of the vote, while 39 percent of voters preferred just a single re-entry.
Many don’t like unlimited re-entry tournaments because it gives the deep-pocketed pros an advantage. It is hard enough to outlast these fantastic players, but it can feel nearly impossible to beat them several times over when they get to keep buying a new stack of chips. Of course, the big argument in favor of multiple re-entry tournaments is that the prize pool can grow larger.
Those that like the compromise of the single re-entry favor that because while it doesn’t give an overwhelming advantage to the richest players, it also allows for a $10,000 mulligan of sorts if someone runs into awful luck early. It might not be fun to have to knock out someone like Daniel Negreanu more than once (I’m not picking on Negreanu – just using him as an example of a player who could and has re-entered expensive tournaments), but it is less fun to pay $10,000 and then hit the rail 30 minutes later when your Kings run into Aces.
Back to Day 1, Brandon Meyers emerged from Tuesday’s action as the chip leader, growing his initial 30,000 chip stack five-fold to 152,750. Gregory Back is second with 130,400, while Jonathan Kamhazi is third with 120,000 chips. Meyers is going for his second $10,000 event cash of the year. He previously had a wonderful finish in the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event, coming in 42nd for $176,399. His lifetime earnings amount to $1.23 million.
2017 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic – Day 1 Chip Leaders
1. Brandon Meyers – 152,750
2. Gregory Back – 130,400
3. Jonathan Kamhazi – 120,000
4. Eric Baldwin – 114,700
5. Ray Pulford – 109,000
6. Kenny Nguyen – 103,500
7. Sam Stein – 98,000
8. Eric Bunch – 85,000
9. Ravi Raghavan – 85,000
10. Ray Qartomy – 82,000