The World Poker Tour’s stop at Maryland Live! for their $3500 Main Event has brought out a decent field for battle. Saturday’s Day 1B saw a sizeable number of runners emerge – and Paul Chang take the top honors for the day’s play – but they will all be looking up at the overall leader Ping Liu when action begins on Sunday’s Day 2.

Last Chance to Make Day 2

The second Day 1 of the WPT Maryland Live! Main Event was also the last chance for players to make their way to Day 2. There were plenty of repeat entries into the tournament (the WPT Maryland Live! is an unlimited reentry tournament), including Shannon Shorr, Maurice Hawkins, Darren Elias and Bryan Piccioli. They joined a slew of newcomers to the tournament, which saw the latest champion on the WPT, WPT Borgata Poker Open winner Erkut Yilmaz, trying to make it back-to-back championships on the circuit.

The biggest news of the day was the fact that the $1.5 million guarantee was past. At the halfway mark of the day, 479 entries – the 203 from Day 1A and the 276 from Day 1B to that point – were in the cash cage’s books, meaning there would be no overlay for the tournament. With so much of the day left (and with late registration and reentry going on until the start of Day 2), it is conceivable that they might crack the $2 million mark for the prize pool in the tournament.

Yilmaz was the focus of many eyes in the tournament room after his late entry (he didn’t step to the baize until 8PM) and he didn’t let the pressure get to him. Although he didn’t exactly rocket out of the gate, Yilmaz played a patient game and was around at the end of the day with a workable 51,000 chip stack. He has other pros right around him like Steve Sung (53,000), Mike Dentale (47,000) and former WPT World Champion Joe Bartholdi (44,000), who will all have to make some moves to stay alive in this particular tournament.

The day belonged to Chang, however. Although he would double up Shorr during the late evening action, Chang had built up enough of a stack that it didn’t hurt him too badly. In fact, he was able to recover from dropping to 275K in chips to finish the Saturday action to be the chip leader for Day 1B with 311,000 in chips.

1. Paul Chang, 311,000
2. Zhen Cai, 275,000
3. Joshua Turner, 274,500
4. Michael Wang, 273,000
5. Aaron Overton, 239,500
6. Allan Vrooman, 231,000
7. Maurice Hawkins, 227,000
8. Christopher Kennedy, 220,000
9. Tim Faro, 214,000
10. Bryan Piccioli, 212,500

Other notables who are lurking behind these players including Paul Volpe (156,000), Victor Ramdin (142,000), Olivier Busquet (133,500) and Christian Harder (110,500).

Ping Liu Remains in the Overall Lead

Although it would draw in 331 entries (to bring the total field to 534), the larger field didn’t translate into the Day 1B chip leader being the overall leader. Day 1A chip leader Ping Liu was able to maintain his lead heading to Sunday’s Day 2 action, but it is way too early to begin looking towards making the money, let alone the final table.

1. Ping Liu, 422,000*
2. Brian Altman, 385,000*
3. Paul Chang, 311,000
4. Zechariah Montoya, 285,000*
5. Zhen Cai, 275,000
6. Joshua Turner, 274,500
7. Michael Wang, 273,000
8. Mark Sandness,  266,500*
9. Aaron Overton, 239,500
10. Allan Vrooman, 231,000

(* – Day 1A player)

Of the 534 entries, 204 players will actually step to the tables in the Maryland Live! tournament arena on Sunday. The field is not quite set, however, as late registration and reentry are open until the start of play on Sunday. Once the cards are in the air, then the players will know what’s at stake other than just the WPT Champions’ Cup for the victor at the WPT Maryland Live! Main Event.

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