The World Poker Tour carnival has pulled into its latest stop, Maryland Live! Casino in Hanover, and the crowds have come for the show. The $3500 WPT Maryland Live! Main Event has Day 1A in the books with Zachary Donovan holding the chip lead after a day of play.

Even though there is late registration until the start of Day 2 on Monday and unlimited entries into the tournament, there were still a throng of players who decided to show up for the “shuffle up and deal” call from WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage and the Royal Flush Girls. Christian Harder, Dylan Linde, Olivier Busquet and Sam Grafton were there at the start among the 80 or so players and, by the time the first level of play was completed, that number jumped up to 112 entries. Defending champion Zachary Smiley was also in the crowd for the start of the event, with his title defense getting off to a good start by almost doubling his starting stack of 30,000 chips.

Linde was another player who made some moves early in the event. After opening the betting off the button and only getting the big blind to come along with him, they would check a 4-3-4 flop. After an Ace came on the turn, Linde would get check-called by the big blind after firing 600 chips into the smallish pot. A second Ace came on the river and the big blind checked again, only to fire in a re-raise of 4000 over Linde’s 1800 chip bet. There were three diamonds on the board, presenting flush possibilities, and a variety of combinations for a boat, so Linde just made the call. Indeed, both players held what, by the river, became big hands. Linde (with A-2) and his opponent (with A-9) would chop it up, however.

Even though the 30K in chips would seem to be a good starting stack, there were still players who were eliminated and had to take advantage of the re-entry option. Dan Heimiller, Dan Weinman, Matt Glantz, Matt Berkey and Jesse Rockowitz were all into their wallets for another buy-in (Rockowitz made it worth his while, as you will soon see), while Andrew Brokos decided it would be best to reserve his funds for Day 1B on Sunday. By the time the final level of the night – Level 10 – had completed, more than 200 players had put their money in the kitty, with only 78 of the players with a stack eligible for play on Monday’s Day 2.

1. Zachary Donovan, 215,700
2. Jesse Rockowitz, 200,300
3. Casey Yontz, 177,200
4. Eric Fields, 172,300
5. Vernon Jones, 166,200
6. Fausto Valdez, 154,300
7. Quinzzy Pratt, 142,900
8. Ryan Hughes, 131,300
9. Alex Lynskey, 128.300
10. Darren Elias, 127,700

This tournament is a “best stack forward” event, meaning that players can play both Day Ones and whichever stack is built is the one the player will take into Day 2 action. That will be helpful for a few players in the field as they ended Day 1A with a less-than-stellar performance. Current World Champion Scott Blumstein (12,400), WPT champion Daniel Santoro (13,800), Weinman (32,100 and on a second buy-in), and defending champion Smiley (40,800) who might be taking up the option of playing on Day 1B to see if they can improve on their fortunes.

Day 1B will begin at noon on Sunday and there’s some work to do to get to the guarantee. Maryland Live! officials put a $2 million guarantee on the prize pool and need a big turnout on Sunday to make that number. Although it isn’t out of the question, another 400 or so entries are needed for the guaranteed to be met. It should make for an intriguing afternoon around the compound at Maryland Live! as the WPT rolls along.

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