Yesterday in our preview of the 2023 World Poker Tour stop at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, we mentioned how the players ALWAYS flock to the Florida properties. Day 1A of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown demonstrated this fact, busting the guarantee in only one day in setting a record for the largest Day 1A in tour history. Leading the way after the parade through the Hard Rock property is Anthony Spinella, who will now sit back and watch the carnage of Day 1B from the sidelines.

$3 Million Guarantee Crushed in Hours

It was evident from the start that the 2023 version of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown would be massive. Looking at last year’s humongous 2010 entries that earned eventual champion Mark Davis a million-dollar payday ($1,000,300, to be exact), the 2023 version said, “Hold my beer,” and went to work. As the “shuffle up and deal” call rang out, 449 entries were on the board and, with unlimited reentries available for $3500 a pop, it was plain to see that this tournament would be huge.

Several players got off to good starts. Jeremy Ausmus, on the very first hand of action, doubled up his 50K starting stack when his pocket Aces stood up against his opponent’s pocket Kings. Ryan Julius also had some good fortune, doubling up after he flopped a Wheel and all the chips went to the center.

The flood of notable names that were on the felt from (roughly) the start of the day’s action was different than what you would see at other tournaments. Within two levels of the start, players like Adam Hendrix, Brock Wilson, Darryl Fish, Jonathan Jaffe, Darren Elias, Christian Harder, Blair Hinkle, and Anthony Zinno had joined Ausmus and Julius on the felt battleground. Meanwhile, the tournament clock kept clicking up as the players continued to flock to the tournament floor.

By the time the late registration period ended after Level 9, several things were known. First, the $3 million guarantee that had been set by the Seminoles was utterly demolished, with 1135 entries taken in on Friday’s Day 1A action alone. 378 players from that field were able to find a bag at the end of the day, but there are decisions that some will have to make. A player who bagged a smaller stack on Friday does have the option of discarding their stack and taking a chance with the Day 1B action but, if they do not make it through Day 1B, said player is out of the tournament. That makes the decision a significant one.

Spinella Sprints to the Lead

Anthony Spinella is one player who will not have to worry about deciding whether to accept his chip stack or not. He hovered around the top of the leaderboard through much of the play on Friday, pursuing such players as Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau and Brandon Wilson. One hand was good enough to get Spinella to sprint into the lead, and it was one of the final hands of the night.

After the call that set up how many hands remained in the evening’s action, Spinella went to battle against Jason Andrews. On a board of K-J-8-2-6 (with no flush possibilities), Andrews over bet a 100K pot with a push of 120K chips. Spinella pondered the action for a moment before putting Andrews to the test, moving all in for about 260K. Andrews had no desire to lose out so late in the night’s action (and with a still viable 110,000 in ammunition), so he folded and let Spinella take the more than 220K chip pot and the chip lead for Day 1A:

1. Anthony Spinella, 473,000
2. Ethan Yau, 451,000
3. James Anderson, 412,500
4. Brandon Wilson, 411,000
5. Jeff Madsen, 406,500
6. Mark Davidoff, 400,000
7. Sung Lee, 377,500
8. Dario Dussan, 376,500
9. Marco Rodriguez, 373,000
10. Shai Arbel, 372,000

Defending champion Davis is also still alive in the tournament, holding 137,500 chips in his pursuit of a repeat championship.

Day 1B players will be back in their seats at 11 AM on Saturday and it is conceivable that the numbers will crush last year’s 2010 figure. IF the usual throngs come out for the final Day One action, it is possible that 2500 entries could be eclipsed. That would ensure there is another million-dollar payday in store for the eventual champion of the 2023 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown come Tuesday.

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