2011 WSOP Main Event Day 1C Level 5 Update

Song is a seasoned poker vet now living in Korea
Song is a seasoned poker vet now living in Korea

Day 1C of the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event proved to be a doozy as nearly 2,200 people showed up with hopes of a Main Event title and roughly one-third of those players left the Rio thinking, “Well, there’s always next year.”

There are roughly 1,480 Day 1C survivors from the starting field of 2,181. The survivors included a number of big names and Main Event Champs, most notably reigning champ Jonathan Duhamel, who ended the day with 41,150 chips.

Duhamel is far from the top of the counts, but in good shape to return for Day 2A action on Monday. Some others failed to last that long, busting during Level 5 (blinds 200/400) and ending their Main Event opening day on a sour note. Here are the highs and lows from the last level of Day 1C play:

Song Ends Day 1C on Top

Once the day concluded and the chips were bagged up, poker pro Kevin Song couldn’t even believe he was the chip leader. While his 163,325 chips makes him the smallest end of day chip leader so far, it appears to be the biggest stack in the Day 1C field.

“It really means nothing, it just means I have a little bit of edge on the other players. It is just the first day, we still have a long way to go. As first day chip leader, you have a little cushion when it comes to play, that is all,” Song explained.

As for how he came to have 163,325 chips, well that is fairly simple. First, Song picked up aces when another player had pocket kings. Then he picked up pocket kings and flopped a set when another player had pocket aces.

Song may not be a household name, but he is actually a very accomplished pro who has over $3.2 million in career cashes and a WSOP bracelet to his credit. Song hasn’t been much of a presence on the US poker scene lately, because he lives in South Korea where he operates a poker room.

Song will be in Las Vegas at least a few more days, as he is one of the big stacks headed into Day 2A action on Monday, along with these others who finished the day near the top of the counts:

Kevin Song – 163,325
Chris McClung – 162,375
Giuseppe Zarbo -150,900
Daniel Skolovy – 146,175
Thomas Pohnke – 135,900
Eric Appel – 128,700
Adam Junglen – 127,025
Alex Kuzmin – 125,475
Ronald Pease Jr. – 123,750
Dominic Ricciardi – 122,700

Paul Pierce, Poker Prodigy

Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce played hard on a different surface than usual Saturday, dominating on the felt rather than the hardwood. But even as a poker amateur, Pierce knows that it’s a long path to a Main Event title.

“Solid day,” said Pierce. “I’ve gotta pick it up if I want to compete. It’s a good first day. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I think I held my own. I think I did a little more than held my own. I’m satisfied.”

Considering his live poker experience is close to nil, Pierce did an excellent job of staying competitive, accumulating 63,750 heading into Day 2. But he certainly realizes that he doesn’t have the same skill advantage at poker that he does at basketball.

“Regardless of who I am in the NBA, I’m everybody’s equal at the table. I’m fair game. You’ve got to be able to play. I don’t really have [much experience]. I play for fun on the computer, this is my second big tournament.”

That doesn’t mean that Pierce can’t dream big, and he certainly wouldn’t mind putting a Main Event bracelet next to his NBA Championship ring in his trophy case.

“Yeah, the prize. Who wouldn’t want to try and come and win that?”

Thomas Pohnke Surges Late

Thomas Pohnke has spent the bulk of the day with a big stack, but thanks to a hand in the waning minutes of play in Level 5, he found himself firmly cemented in the top ten chip counts. Action folded around to the player in the cutoff, who raised to 1,600. Pohnke was on the button and reraised to 4,500. The cutoff called and the flop came K75. The player in the cutoff checked, Pohnke bet 6,400, and the player in the cutoff immediately check-raised to 14,000. Pohnke called and the two players then checked the 2 turn. The final card was the Q and Pohnke’s opponent bet 7,500. Pohnke called and tabled TT for a pair of tens. His opponent flashed A7 for a pair of sevens and Pohnke took the pot, which pushed him to 137,425.

Chris Moore Puts His Hands In the Cookie Jar

Cash games specialist Chris Moore was one of the bigger stacks in the Amazon Room as Day 1C wound down, but he did hit a snag that set him back from a stack of more than 150,000.

Moore and the player on his immediate right went heads-up to a flop of Q43. The player in middle position bet 2,200 into the 3,500-chip pot and Moore raised to 7,000. The other player called, then both players checked after the turn brought the 4.

The river was the J and Moore’s opponent checked a second time. Moore bet 15,000, which represented a noticeable chunk of the other player’s stack. The other player thought for a minute or so before calling and Moore tapped the table with his cards, indicating he had nothing. Moore’s opponent showed 77 for a pair of sevens, which were good enough to take the pot. After the hand, Moore was down to 127,000 and he dropped off even more to end the day with 98,900.

De Knijff Fills Up and Calls

With the board showing 996J, Martin De Knijff bet 5,800 and Bryan Pellegrino called. The pair saw the 6 hit the river and De Knijff checked. Pellegrino bet 15,000 and De Knijff waited and said “I guess I’m calling.” He then waited for Pellegrino to show his hand. Pellegrino eventually flashed 87 for a busted straight draw and De Knijff showed 97 for a full house. “That was a hard call for you to make?” asked Pellegrino. De Knijff jumped up to 88,775 while Pellegrino fell below 100,000 to 97,600.

Andy Bloch is the Life of the Party

Recent addition to Table 359, Andy Bloch, offered the table shots of Patron with less than 30 minutes remaining in Day 1C. Five other players at the table joined in, but not Allen Kessler. Even the offer of a free drink wasn’t enough incentive for the Chainsaw to participate.

By The Numbers

11 Number of tables in the 45-table Black section of the Pavillion Room where at least one player was wearing a pair of the complimentary Dearfoams slippers.

139 Ranking for Kevin Song on the all-time money earners list. He has $3,275,420 in career cashes.

3 Number of WSOP bracelet winners to finish a Day 1 with the chip lead so far this Main Event. Fred Berger, Ben Lamb and Kevin Song all have bracelets to their credit.

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