There may be plenty of big names in Europe for the EPT’s Grand Final, but for those players who preferred to stay on American soil, the World Poker Tour offered some alternative programming in the form of the WPT bestbet Jacksonville Open. The $5,000 buy-in event is the first televised WPT Main Event in Jacksonville and features another first for the tour. The event is a re-entry event, but unlike the other re-entry events this year, in this tournament players could play both Day 1A and Day 1B and select which stack they wanted to take into Day 2 action.
One player who won’t need to be returning for Day 1B on Saturday is Darren Elias. The East Coast poker pro ended Day 1A at the top of the counts with 213,600 from the 30,000 chip starting stack. Elias doubled his stack early when he busted Steven Merrifield, but he really picked up steam during the last hour of play and is the only player of the 62 Day 1A survivors to end with more than 200,000 chips.
David Paredes also chipped up late in the day and did so after dodging a bullet in a hand that was the most talked about of the day. Paredes was part of a hand that featured a four way all-in that nearly saw Paredes make it five-way. Facing an opening raise and a call from a player and Raj Vohra, an all-in from an extremely short Matt Marafioti and a reshove from Eli Berg, Paredes called with AK. Then the initial raiser called. Vohra decided to pump things up and reraised. Paredes managed to get away from his hand and fold only to watch as the four other players turned up pocket aces, pocket kings, pocket queens, and pocket sevens. Vohra’s aces won most of the chips and sent two players home, but Marafioti’s sevens spiked a set to give him the main pot. Marafioti ended up busting a short while later, while Paredes’ smart fold kept him alive and helped him bag up 170,300 chips to end the day.
Marafioti was part of the half of the 125-person Day 1A field that failed to make it through the day. Matthew Waxman, Hoyt Corins, Harrison Gimbel, Jason Koon, Shannon Shorr, and Vince Van Patten, who was playing in only his second WPT event outside of the WPT Invitational, all hit the rail over the course of the day as well.
By day’s end there were 62 survivors including Elias, Paredes, Darryll Fish (140,800), Will Failla (132,600), James Dempsey (114,300), Jonathan Little (78,800), Taylor von Kriegenbergh (66,200), Lisa Hamilton (41,800), and the current WPT Player of the Year frontrunner Joe Serock (40,000).
On Saturday, the busted players will get a second shot to build a stack and several new players will be taking to the felt as well. While the Day 1A survivors sit back and relax, the Day 1B crew will get things underway at 12pm ET.
Here are the top ten unofficial chip counts from the end of Day 1A:
1. Darren Elias – 213,600
2. David Paredes – 170,300
3. Darryll Fish – 140,800
4. Robert Gorodetsky – 139,600
5. Will Failla – 132,600
6. James Dempsey – 114,300
7. BJ McBrayer – 112,900
8. David Tuthill – 90,000
9. Andrew Barta – 81,300
10. Tim Miles – 80,000
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