Everyone in the poker community figured it would be big, but I do not believe that anyone thought it would be this big. Two Day Ones are in the books at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, and the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown is certainly one for the record books. Nearly 2500 entries were received in the $3500 buy-in tournament, completely crushing the $2 million guarantee as Brian Goble leads the survivors into Day Two on Sunday.
Day 1A Shatters Guarantee Before First Card Dealt
All the preliminary events during the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown schedule had beaten their guarantees by a wide margin. It was expected that would occur also for the $2 million guarantee on the WPT Main Event. What was not figured is that the guarantee would be topped before a card even went in the air for the tournament!
Once the first level of play was done on Friday, 575 entries were on the table and it did not slow down from there. With ten levels set for the day’s play, there was plenty of opportunity for players to take advantage of the singular rebuy that each player was allotted. In the end, there were a total of 1047 entries for the Day 1A, leaving the only question about the prize pool to be how high it would go.
Heading up the 330 players who emerged from the carnage on Friday was Joshua Mountain, who sat atop the field with his 414,000 in chips to barely eke out the lead over Blair Hinkle’s 413K.
1. Joshua Mountain, 414,000
2. Blair Hinkle, 413,000
3. Alexander Keating, 395,000
4. Gavin Munroe, 389,000
5. Vanessa Kade, 359,000
Yes, that is the same Vanessa Kade who has simply been a house afire on the felt of late, both virtual and live. Kade, as many might remember, was dumped by GGPoker after she aired her disagreements with the site picking up a known misogynist to be a site ambassador. Kade wasn’t a free agent for long, signing up as a site ambassador with America’s Cardroom. She thusly celebrated her new partnership with ACR by winning the PokerStars Sunday Million 15th Anniversary tournament for a cool $1.5 million.
Day 1B Even Bigger than the First
The tendency for poker tournaments is for the final Day One of a multi-starting day event to be the largest of them all. The folks in Florida did not disappoint, flooding the Seminole Hard Rock tournament floor with even more entries than on Day 1A. Once the smoke had settled after late registration, another 1434 entries were in the books to bring the grand total to 2481 official entries in the tournament.
By far this was the largest number of entries in ANY WPT event in history. The previous record was set by an online event, the Season XVIII WPT Online Championship, which brought in 2130 entries. The previous live record was in the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, which saw 1795 entries fired into the breech.
Once again to be expected from such a large starting field, there were plenty of survivors from the day’s festivities. 517 players emerged from Saturday’s action, with Brian Goble taking the overall lead as the only player over the half-million mark in chips.
1. Brian Goble, 503,000
2. Aleksa Pavicevic, 367,000
3. Justin Zagar, 303,000
4. Joseph Hebert, 298,000
5. Mike Chavez, 240,000
Combining the two-Day Ones together, the leaderboard looks like this:
1. Brian Goble, 503,000
2. Joshua Mountain, 414,000*
3. Blair Hinkle, 413,000*
4. Alexander Keating, 395,500*
5. Gavin Munroe, 389,500*
6. Justin Zagar, 376,000*
7. Aleksa Pavicevic, 367,000
8. Vanessa Kade, 359,000*
9. Scott Stewart, 358,500*
10. Lan Vo, 353,000*
(* – Day 1A Player)
The 847 players remaining have another long day ahead of them on Sunday’s Day Two. It is possible that the money bubble will be popped, with the final 311 players taking home a minimum payday of $6195. The players who are able to make the top eleven will be adding a six-figure payday to their resumes, with the eventual champion of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown emerging with a $1,261,095 payday and have their name etched on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions’ Cup in perpetuity.