Day Ones In The Books At WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open, Raj Vohra In The Lead

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With a fierce winter storm pounding the Northeast of the United States, thoughts may drift off to sunnier climes where the waves lap softly against the shoreline. A good deal of the poker community has done better than letting their minds drift, actually putting down stakes in Hollywood, FL, for the World Poker Tour’s Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino this weekend.

Two Day Ones were on the schedule, with Friday opening up the action this weekend. A Day 1A field of 153 players decided to take to the felt first in the rebuy tournament (a player that busted on Day 1A could reenter the tournament on Day 1B) and there was plenty of chip pushing to be had by the competitors. Some of the players who didn’t make it out of the carnage of Day 1A included some big names, including defending WPT Player of the Year Joe Serock, Allen Kessler, Victor Ramdin and Adam Levy, but they would come back on Saturday to take up another stack of chips and try again.

By the end of Friday night, two men had been able to distance themselves from the 63 players who remained, with both holding over 200K in chips at the end of the day.

1. Raj Vohra, 262,700
2. David To, 260,100
3. Paul McCaffrey, 184,800
4. Benjamin Zamani, 154,000
5. Jonathan Roy, 141,500
6. Ray Quartomy, 137,400
7. Sean Posner, 131,300
8. Mike Beasley, 117,100
9. Ravi Raghavan, 103,200
10. Tommy Vedes, 102,100

As normally occurs at multiple-Day One events, the field was vastly larger for play on Saturday’s Day 1B. The total number of entries recorded at the Hard Rock eventually would reach 369, an increase over last year’s turnout for the event. After the re-entry period had ended Saturday afternoon, the field found out that 36 players would bank a minimum $7795 payday, with the eventual champion taking down a $323,804 bonanza.

Several of the pros who made an attempt on Friday were back again on Saturday, but for naught. John Spadavecchia, Guillaume Darcourt and Harrison Gimbel were three of the “two bullet” men who would get nothing for their investment, but Serock was able to make the better of his second chance in ending the day with over 103K in chips. That may sound impressive (considering the 30K starting stack), but there were others who would outpace the 2012 WPT POY.

In contrast to the Day 1A proceedings, only one man was able to crack the 200K barrier. Evan Teitelbaum was that man, bagging up 206,900 in chips at the conclusion of play late Saturday night. The field for Day 1B was bunched much closer together than the Day 1A participants, as Mark Darner and Todd Jacobsen took their places in the Day 1B Top Ten with over 190K in chips.

1. Evan Teitelbaum, 206,900
2. Mark Darner, 195,000
3. Todd Jacobsen, 193,600
4. Cesar Fuentes, 185,000
5. Leif Oskarsson, 172,000
6. Patrick Madden, 168,300
7. Michael Laake, 160,600
8. Gordon Battle, 153,600
9. Tony Ruberto, 131,000
10. Arkadiy Tsinis, 125,000

Combining the two Day Ones, there are 143 of the 369 entrants who will come back to the tables on Sunday and they will look at a leaderboard that measures up as such:

1. Raj Vohra, 262,700
2. David To, 260,100
3. Evan Teitelbaum, 206,900
4. Mark Darner, 195,000
5. Todd Jacobsen, 193,600
6. Cesar Fuentes, 185,000
7. Paul McCaffrey, 184,800
8. Leif Oskarsson, 172,000
9. Patrick Madden, 168,300
10. Michael Laake, 160,600

Jacobsen, who is in the Top Five as Day Two begins this afternoon, is the only player from last year’s final table to make it through to Sunday. The defending champion was Matt Juttelstad, who apparently bypassed this year’s tournament, and last year’s runner up Gigi Gagne was eliminated on Day 1B.

Day Two play will kick off at 1PM (Eastern Time) this afternoon and there is a slight possibility that they may make the money before play ends tonight. The Day Three schedule will see the players take it down to Tuesday’s final table, which will take place over the WPT’s live stream, and the next champion of the World Poker Tour will be crowned.

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