History held serve for the World Poker Tour as a massive throng of people arrived for Day 1B of the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open on Saturday. The entries on Saturday, combined with the Day 1A field, set a new record for the tournament and pushed the prize pool north of the $6 million mark. What did not change on Saturday was the chip leader of the event; Jesse Lonis will continue to hold the lead as the cards hit the air for Day 2 on Sunday.

More than 1000 Entries on Saturday

The cage was a flurry of activity on Saturday as players looked to earn their way to Day 2 on Sunday. After the dust settled, 1089 entries had been received in the tournament, crushing the $2 million guarantee and setting several tournament records. The total field of 1928 entries eclipsed the numbers from 2021’s version of the tournament and it became the second biggest WPT Main Event in Seminole Hard Rock history.

It was the prize pool that the players were interested in, however. The massive throng of entries created a prize pool of $6,342,400, of which the final 248 players would earn a piece. The minimum cash for the tournament would be a pleasant $6275 (on a $3500 buy-in), while the eventual champion would earn close to $1 million, $975,240 to be exact.

Flurry of Late Activity Crowns Day 1B Leader

There was a rush of activity late in the evening at the Hard Rock, and it would have a significant impact on who would emerge as the Day 1B leader. It started with the man with the longest name in poker, Athanasios Polychronopoulos, taking the lead late in the evening in an absolutely stunning hand.

After Nick Palma opened up the betting, Polychronopoulos called from the big blind to see a 4-4-2 flop. Polychronopoulos would check-call a continuation bet from Palma and a nine came on the turn. This time Polychronopoulos would bet out and it would be Palma who just made the call. A five on the river did not seem to be all that problematic, but it would be the catalyst for one player’s departure.

Polychronopoulos bet out again on the river, this time for 35K, but Palma had other ideas. He popped it up by moving all in for almost 85K in chips and Polychronopoulos nearly beat him into the pot with the call. Palma laid down pocket fives for a strong rivered boat, fives over fours, but Polychronopoulos had him beaten. He put down his pocket fours for the flopped four of a kind and had been trapping the out-flopped Palma. The knockout sent Palma to the rail and Polychronopoulos into the lead.

That stay atop the mountain would not last for Polychronopoulos. Jordan DeGrenier was doing his own thing just a few tables away from Polychronopoulos, enough so that he would be able to clip the Greek for the first-place honors on Day 1B:

1. Jordan DeGrenier, 672,000
2. Athanasios Polychronopoulos, 590,000
3. Balakrishna Patur, 323,000
4. Frank Stepuchin, 284,000
5. Arian Stolt, 273,500
6. Lester Rainey, 273,400
7. Ema Zajmovic, 262,000
8. Francis Anderson, 243,000
9. Eric Afriat, 240,500
10. Calais Campbell, 220,000

Combined with the survivors from Day 1A, here is how the leaderboard looks:

1. Jesse Lonis, 685,500
2. Jordan DeGrenier, 672,000
3. Athanasios Polychronopoulos, 590,000
4. Dan Stavila, 487,500
5. Josh Kay, 454,000
6. Patrick White, 445,500
7. Matthew Ahmen, 430,000
8. Bin Weng, 417,000
9. Lanny Vaysman, 409,500
10. William Watson, 399,500

The 593 survivors from the two-Day Ones are right now on the tables in the ballroom at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL. They are likely to pop the money bubble through the ten levels that are supposed to be played on Sunday, so we should start seeing some results following the dinner break. The champion of the event will be determined on Wednesday for the first event on the Season XX schedule.

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