On Friday in the cavernous tournament arena at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, Day 1A of the World Poker Tour’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown took place. The massive outpouring of players for the first day of action promises that there will be a huge field for the tournament and that the guaranteed prize pool of $3 million will be shattered.
With the $3 million guaranteed prize pool, that meant that the $3500 buy in tournament had to rack up roughly 895 players (taking out the juice) for the Seminole Indians not to be on the hook for the difference. To help reach that mark, there were two Day Ones scheduled and players could re-enter the tournament as many times as they liked up until the start of Level 9. From the start, however, it seemed the players were amped for the event, regardless of what the guarantee was.
When the players came together for the “shuffle up and deal” call on Friday morning, nearly 200 players were already in their seats. The tables in the new Seminole Hard Rock tournament arena rapidly filled from that point, reaching 387 entries by the start of Level 3 and passing the 500 mark (504) to start Level 5. By the time the end of late registration for Day 1A reached a close, 646 entries were in the books, essentially guaranteeing that the Seminoles wouldn’t be reaching in their pockets for any overlay for the tournament by Saturday night.
With such a large field on Day 1A, you might have thought that it was a softer field. Nothing was further from the truth as, from the start of the day, such notable names as former WPT champions Joe Ebanks, Darren Elias and Jonathan Little were on the felt, joined by Cliff Josephy, Blake Bohn, Neil Blumenfield and the defending champion of this tournament, Tony Sinishtaj. As the day wore on, they were joined by such figures as former World Champion Joseph McKeehen, WPT champions Tony Dunst and Olivier Busquet, Joseph Cheong and Shankar Pillai.
With the players from Day 1A knowing they still had a chance to come back on Day 1B to try to build a stack, play was rather active. Halfway through the day, six players had amassed stacks of more than 100K chips (after starting with 30K) and that number only went up as the evening hours began. By the dinner break, eight members of the field were counted over the magical 100K mark, with Robert Transue over 200K (204,300). By the end of the night, however, there was a new “sheriff” in town, Uri Kadosh, who had assumed the lead.
1. Uri Kadosh, 245,500
2. Robert Transue, 239,500
3. Nguyet Dao, 237,300
4. Paul Snead, 220,000
5. Matt Glantz, 191,500
6. Joseph McKeehen, 187,700
7. John Gordon, 187,500
8. Zachary Smiley, 170,400
9. Brian Hastings, 166,400
10. Joseph Gotlieb, 164,900
Lurking under the Top Ten are such notable names as Scott Clements (158,300 chips), Art Papazyan (156,200), Curt Kohlberg (142,600) and Jeff Gross (142,500). Of the 646 entries received on Day 1A, 227 players will come back for action on Sunday.
When Day 1B begins bright and early at 11AM on Saturday morning, expect a stampede of players to come to the tournament arena. It is likely that the opening bell for Day 1B will have enough players to crack the guarantee and the numbers should soar past 1000 players by the time registration closes. It isn’t out of question to believe that the final numbers will be bigger than last year’s field, which received 1207 entries by the time registration was closed. If it were to do this, the prize pool would easily be over $3.25 million and make for another successful stop for the WPT and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.