The World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Showdown began today with a Day 1A field of 205 entrants and is the second tournament to be held at the Seminole Hard Rock on the tour’s Season XI stop. In Feburary, Matt Giannetti won the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open and one year ago Tommy Vedes won his first WPT title in the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown.
When chips were bagged for the night Donald Nicholson, who finished 25th in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic main event in February, was out in front of the 75 players who made it through Day 1A with 355,100. Danny Shiff and Ben Tarzia trailed in second and third with 229,200 and 213,100 respectively. Faraz Jaka, who was awarded the distinction of WPT Player of the Day, and Jerry Wong broke in to the top 10 to end the night and 2013 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open winner Andy Hwang crept in as well and ended the night with 124,700.
Nicholson began his climb to the top during mid-day and near the end of the night became the first player to cross the 200,000. In one of the final hands of the night Nicholson eliminated Joe Kuether when he bet 90,000 on a K4438 board. Kuether called all-in for his last 70,000 only to find his pocket Queens were no good against Nicholson’s KQ.
The field was packed full of former WPT champions, 17 in all, and six of them earned a spot at the tables on Day 2. Hwang, Ravi Raghavan, Anthony Gregg, Jonathan Roy, Erick Lindgren and Jonathan Little all tagged and bagged when the night was over.
Defending champion Vedes, along with Will Failla, Matthew Waxman, Shawn Cunix, Paul Klann, Noah Schwartz, Scotty Nguyen, Steve Brecher, Matt Salsberg, Ben Hamnett and Carlos Mortensen will have to try again on Day 1B if they hope to add another WPT title to their name.
Others who hit the rail included Paul Volpe, Garrett Greer, Corey Burbick, Darryll Fish, Dan O’Brien, David Sands and Ty Reiman.
Joe Elpayaa, Jason Mercier, Aaron Massey, Darren Elias, Justin Zaki, Elio Fox and Jeff Madsen are among the players who will get a break on Day 1B and return to play on Day 2.
WPT Seminole Hard Rock Show Down Top 1A Top Ten Chip Counts:
- Donald Nicholson – 355,100
- Danny Shiff – 229,200
- Ben Tarzia – 213,100
- John McEwen – 184,600
- Faraz Jaka – 181,900
- Jerry Wong – 180,000
- Danny Suied – 140,000
- Kevin Eysler – 137,500
- Richard Leger – 134,500
- Andy Hwang – 124,700
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