One of the most popular events on the World Poker Tour (WPT) kicked off on Sunday, as Day 1A of the 2019 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open got off to a great start. There were 424 entries on the first of two starting flights, already 81 more than last year. The tournament allows for unlimited re-entries until the beginning of Level 11, so despite there only being one more starting flight, there is plenty of time to beat last year’s field of more than 1,200 runners.

Virginia’s Daniel Wellborn is the chip leader after Day 1A with 308,600 chips, the only player to eclipse the 300,000 chip mark. Upeshka De Silva is close on his heels, though, having amassed 292,400 chips on Sunday.

Wellborn has $184,302 in live tournament earnings, his last two coming at the Borgata. Two years ago, he finished 51st in this same event, winning $11,927 and in September of 2017, cashed in the WPT Borgata Poker Open Main Event. His best cash is for $34,375 for finishing third in the 2016 Poker Night in America Main Event at Maryland Live! Casino.

Anyone who wins a large poker tournament or even leads after a single day usually needs a healthy combination of skill and luck. Wellborn was the first to admit that the poker gods smiled upon him on Sunday, telling WPT.com, “It feels great. I didn’t expect to do so well. I got coolers all over the place and won every all-in except for one near the end, and she was somewhat short…it was just crazy how good I ran today.”

Sometimes you almost feel bad when that happens, when every time you have Aces, someone has Kings, when you have Kings, someone has Queens. You almost feel bad.

Speaking of which, fairly late in the day, the start of Level 8 to be precise, Ryan D’Angelo had pocket Kings and ended up all-in pre-flop against Mark Dube, who had Aces. Both men had about 113,000 chips – very good stacks at that point – and when it was over, Dube had doubled-up while D’Angelo didn’t even have enough left to pay a small blind.

One player of note who advanced to Day 2 was Phil Hellmuth, who pulled an impressive double duty on Sunday. Hellmuth often arrives late to tournaments, but this time he had an excuse that was more than just drawing attention to himself. For most of the day, he was busy winning the $1,590 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em event at the Borgata. When he was done with that he entered the Main Event during Level 8, more the doubling his stack by the end of the night.

2019 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1. Daniel Wellborn – 308,600
2. Upeshka De Silva – 292,400
3. Ping Liu – 221,400
4. Mark Dube – 215,500
5. Richard Bai – 209,100
6. David Mock – 200,400
7. Renata Colache – 187,400
8. Matt Glantz – 183,600
9. Jared Griener – 176,000
10. Alan Sternberg – 175,800

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