Level 11: 600-1,200, 200 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Here's a look back at some of the highlights from Day 1B:
WPT Champions Club member Will Failla, who made a strong run at WPT Player of the Year last season, sits down for an interview with WPT reporter Diana Cox during a break in the action on Day 1B. Unfortunately for Failla, he busted during the final level of the night.
WPT Commentator Mike Sexton welcomes the players to Day 1B, along with (from left to right) Royal Flush Girls Tugba Ercan, Brittany Bell, Ivy Teves, and Danielle Ruiz.
There were 231 players in the Day 1A field, and the big question was whether or not the total field size would reach 500 players. Day 1B would need to attract 269 players to reach that mark.
When registration closed, there were exactly 269 players on Day 1B.
The 500-player field created a prizepool worth $1,600,500, and a first place prize worth $416,127. The top 54 players will finish in the money, guaranteed at least $6,402 in this $3,500 buy-in event.
WPT reporter Jeanine Deeb interviews Marvin Rettenmaier, the Season X WPT World Champion who became the first player in history to win back-to-back WPT titles. After winning the final event of last season, Rettenmaier won the first WPT event of this season -- WPT Merit Cyprus, which was held last week in Europe.
Unfortunately, Rettenmaier's run at back-to-back-to-back WPT titles came to an end, as he failed to survive Day 1B.
The Royal Flush Girls went on a field trip on Day 1B, heading out to a Major League Soccer Game between the Philadelphia Union and the Real Madrid.
From left to right: Brittany Bell, Ivy Teves, Danielle Ruiz, and Tugba Ercan.
After the dinner break, Jon Turner emerged as the chipleader, and would remain near the top of the counts until the end of the day. Turner finished in third for the day with 222,200.
ClubWPT.com qualifier Freddy Peralta played in his first major tournament here at the WPT Parx Open Poker Classic, making it past the dinner break but failing to reach Day 2. Peralta admitted to having a lot of nerves, but said he had a lot of fun, learned a lot of things, and looks forward to trying to win another seat to a WPT event on ClubWPT.com.
Robert Pyne is sometimes known by another name, Santa Claus. His tournament registration slip actually listed both names, and the players at the table were calling him Santa. Pyne was also among the chipleaders in the middle of the day with nearly 200,000 in chips. But Pyne lost a big pot late in the day against Andy Philachack in a straight-over-straight situation, and finished with 121,900.
Andy Philachack went on a strong run late in the day, including a big hand against Robert Pyne (a.k.a. "Santa Claus") on a board of J9586. Philachack bet the river, Pyne moved all in, and Philachack quickly called.
Pyne showed 7-7 for a nine-high straight, but Philachack turned over Q10 for a queen-high straight to win the pot. Philachack carried that momentum all the way to second place on the leaderboard with 267,000.
The end-of-day chipleader for Day 1B was Henry Lu, who finished with 302,500. Lu is also the overall chipleader heading into Day 2, eclipsing Day 1A chipleader Cornel Cimpan's 242,800.
Day 1B came to an end with 103 players. Here's a look at the top five chip counts:
1. Henry Lu - 302,500 (252 bb)
2. Andy Philachack - 267,000 (222 bb)
3. Jon Turner - 222,200 (185 bb)
4. Dennis Frederick - 172,000 (143 bb)
5. Dave Eldridge - 167,200 (139 bb)
Day 2 begins today at 12:00 noon ET with a combined field of 196 players. Stay tuned to WPT.com for live coverage and chip counts throughout the day.
Level 10: 500-1,000, 100 anteSorted In: Will Failla, Parx Casino, Season XI
Level 9: 400-800, 100 ante
During the last break, Will Failla sat down with WPT reporter Diana Cox for an interview.
The player at Table 65 known as "Santa Claus" is actually named Robert Pyne. But his tournament registration slip has both names on it, and the players at the table have been calling him Santa as well.
As you can see, Pyne doesn't have the classic long hair and beard of most representations of Santa Claus, but on the other hand, it is August. If Santa Claus got his summers off to hang out closer to the equator, this is conceivably what he could like.
With 90 minutes left in Day 1B, Jon Turner is the chipleader with 183,000. He still has a ways to go before he can catch Day 1A chipleader (and two-time WPT winner) Cornel Cimpan, who will begin Day 2 with 242,800.
Level 10: 500-1,000, 100 ante
By BJ Nemeth
The first televised WPT event of Season XI is a new stop for the World Poker Tour -- the Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles outside of Philadelphia.
Here's a look back at some of the highlights from Day 1A:
WPT Commentator Mike Sexton kicks off Season XI of the TV show with the traditional "Shuffle Up and Deal," joined by his fellow commentator Vince Van Patten, Raw Deal Analyst Tony Dunst, and Royal Flush Girl Ivy Teves.
Day 1A attracted 234 players, but as a re-entry event, anyone who busted had the option of paying another $3,500 to buy in again on Day 1B. The total field size should approach 500 players, but we won't know for sure until Day 1B registration closes around 4:30 pm ET.
During the first level of play, Mike Sexton chats with Matt Glantz, the recently announced as the Poker Ambassador for the Parx Casino. Glantz is a Philadelphia native, and hosts high-stakes game here and helps promote the casino.
Royal Flush Girls Tugba Ercan (left) and Ivy Teves stop by to see how Allen Kessler is doing on Day 1A. Kessler told the two RFGs that they were his favorite two, but then put his foot in his mouth as he said that one was #1 and the other #2.
When Ercan and Teves asked who was #1, Kessler wisely deferred the question.
ClubWPT.com qualifier Erick Steinbergen talks with WPT reporter Diana Cox during one of the breaks on Day 1A. Steinbergen earned his seat into this event by playing a mega satellite on the ClubWPT.com subscription poker site.
Table 63 was called a "featured table" by some people, as the random draw put a fun and interesting group of players together. This was the lineup:
Seat 1. Bryan Piccioli
Seat 2. Jack Hirschman
Seat 3. Christian Harder
Seat 4. Will Failla
Seat 5. Peter Ippolito
Seat 6. Dwyte Pilgrim
Seat 7. Chris McCormack
Seat 8. Victor Ramdin
Seat 9. Scott Blackman
Will Failla was leading the table in a game of "Lodden Thinks," as they pondered questions like "How many flatscreen TVs are in the Borgata Casino?" And "How many sexual partners has Hugh Hefner had in his lifetime?" And "How many hot dogs are sold during a single baseball game at Yankee Stadium?"
Blackman gave an answer to that last question that Harder called "the worst answer in the history of Lodden thinks." He guessed that Yankee Stadium sold 117 hot dogs during a game. (According to an article in the New York Times, the actual answer is about 30,000 hot dogs.)
After the table teased Blackman for a few minutes, he admitted that he mistook the question, and he was guessing how many hot dogs a single vendor sells during a baseball game. (According to that same New York Times article, the actual answer is about 150 hot dogs per vendor.)
WPT Champions Club member Steve Brecher (left) finds himself seated next to Xuan Liu on Day 1A.
Liu has been selected as part of the WPT's "Ones to Watch" this season -- a group of young, up-and-coming players that the TV audience may not be as familiar with. Liu and the others in this group will be highlighted on the WPT TV show as they try to win their first WPT title.
After the dinner break, Shaun Deeb had a solid grasp on the chip lead, and looked like he would finish the day at the top of the leaderboard. But in the final half hour, he lost a big pot to William Brindise that knocked him down to a below average stack.
William Brindise catapulted to the top of the leaderboard after winning a big pot against Shaun Deeb, though he ultimately finished the day in third place with 208,300. Why? Deeb caught a lucky river card to double up in one of the last hands of the day. (See below.)
After a flop of 887, Shaun Deeb moved all in with 1010, but William Brindise called with a dominating QQ. Deeb began gathering his things to leave, and the turn card was the 8.
But Deeb caught his two-outer on the river when the 10 fell, doubling Deeb up to an above-average chip stack (118,900), and saving him the $3,500 he would have inevitably spent to re-enter on Day 1B.
The overall chipleader at the end of Day 1A was two-time WPT champion Cornel Cimpan, attempting to become the third player in history to win three WPT titles. Cimpan will have Saturday off before starting Day 2 with 242,800 in chips.
The ClubWPT.com Player of the Day was Dwyte Pilgrim, who was interviewed by WPT reporter Diana Cox at the end of the day. Pilgrim was at the unofficial featured table, having a good time as he built up a stack of 120,000 in chips.
The WPT Champions Club member hopes to join the elite group of players with two WPT titles, and Pilgrim has committed himself to starting Season XI strong. So far, so good.
Day 1A came to an end with 93 players. Here's a look at the top five chip counts:
1. Cornel Cimpan - 242,800 (202 bb)
2. Gregory Shwartz - 220,000 (183 bb)
3. William Brindise - 208,300 (173 bb)
4. Anthony Maio - 191,200 (159 bb)
5. Ravi Raghavan - 166,500 (138 bb)
Day 1B begins today at 12:00 noon ET. Stay tuned to WPT.com for live coverage and chip counts throughout the day.
Level 9: 400-800, 100 ante
Table 63 has been called "The Featured Table" by at least one player who isn't seated there, wondering whether or not it really represented a random draw. Here was the lineup a short while ago:
Seat 1. Bryan Piccioli - 34,000 (56 bb)
Seat 2. Jack Hirschman - 31,000 (51 bb)
Seat 3. Christian Harder - 78,000 (130 bb)
Seat 4. Will Failla - 17,000 (28 bb)
Seat 5. Peter Ippolito - 27,000 (45 bb)
Seat 6. Dwyte Pilgrim - 64,000 (106 bb)
Seat 7. Chris McCormack - 38,000 (63 bb)
Seat 8. Victor Ramdin - 45,000 (75 bb)
Seat 9. Scott Blackman - 91,000 (151 bb)
As per usual, Will Failla was the life of the party, getting everybody talking and laughing as they played a game of "Lodden Thinks."
The Rules For "Lodden Thinks"
Technically, the only ones betting were Harder, Failla, McCormack, Ramdin, and Blackman, along with one other player to fill the role of Lodden.
For those who aren't familiar with the game, Lodden thinks starts with a question that has a numeric answer, but not a clear answer. For example, "How many apple pies does a single McDonald's sell in a single day?" Or, "How many hands of poker has Doyle Brunson played in his lifetime?"
The actual answer isn't relevant. The person who has been designated as the "Lodden" writes down his or her guess as to the answer, and keeps it secret. Keep in mind that this guess is probably wrong, but the Lodden gives it his or her best effort.
The betting players then take turns picking higher and higher numbers, until one of them calls by saying "Under." The player who chose the most recent number is stuck with the over, and the other players pick whichever side they want.
At that point, the "Lodden" reveals the original guess, whether it is over or under.
Today's Lodden Questions
One of their first questions was "How many flatscreen TVs are in the Borgata?"
A few players asked questions to clarify, and this question covered the entire property, from the executive offices to the hotel rooms to the poker room to the attached Water Club.
Dwyte Pilgrim was playing the role of Lodden, and he wrote down his guess. Victor Ramdin was the first player to guess, and he went with 1,585. The next two players bid it up to 2,000, but then Pilgrim started laughing and giving off some obvious tells that his number was nowhere near that.
The players voided the question, since the Lodden isn't supposed to offer any information or tells. Pilgrim tried to conceal his guess and scratch it out, but somebody said they thought they saw "300" written down.
The next question was "How many days from now will the first player in the USA be able to play a legal hand of poker on PokerStars?"
Pilgrim wrote down his answer, and the bidding began again with Ramdin picking 402 days. After three rounds of raises, Ramdin chose 490 days, and Blackman called for the under. The other players chose their sides, and then Pilgrim revealed his answer.
Pilgrim chose May 25, 2013, which is 288 days away. The under won.
The next question was about Playboy founder Hugh Hefner -- "How many sexual partners has Hugh Hefner had in his lifetime?" It was clarified to include both male and female sexual partners.
This time, the role of Lodden was being played by Peter Ippolito. He made his guess, and wrote it down.
Christian Harder started the bidding low at 50, and then it slowly increased until Blackman bid 402. Harder took the under, and then both Failla and Ramdin took the under as well.
Ippolito revealed his guess: 920. Blackman swept that round with the over, earning $20 from each of the other players.
The Worst Answer in the History of Lodden Thinks?
The next question was "How many hot dogs does Yankee Stadium sell during a single baseball game?"
This time, the Lodden was Scott Blackman, and he thought for a few moments before quickly writing down his guess.
Will Failla kicked off the bidding with 10,000, and it escalated from there. But they were only able to get out a few guesses before Blackman started laughing uncontrollably, because his guess was nowhere near where they were guessing.
Once again, the round was invalidated, and everyone wanted to see Blackman's number. He showed them -- 117.
Everyone was shocked, like he was trying to level them or something. Surely nobody would think that Yankee Stadium only sells 117 hot dogs in a game.
Failla laughed and said, "Buddy, I eat 117 hot dogs during a game by myself."
Blackman said he figured they sold about 35 hot dogs an hour, and extrapolated from there. The other players mocked him, and Blackman eventually said that he got confused and was just figuring out how many hot dogs were sold by a single hot dog stand during a baseball game.
Harder was calling it the worst answer in the history of Lodden thinks, and took his assessment to Twitter. (See below.)
Unfortunately, the game dissolved shortly after this when table catalyst Will Failla was eliminated.
Playing Lodden thinks - "how many hot dogs are sold during a yankees game" and die hard Yankee fan Scott Blackman was the Lodden & said 117— Christian Harder (@realcharder30) August 11, 2012
Sorted In: Featured Blog, Will Failla, Christian Harder, Dwyte Pilgrim, Victor Ramdin, Chris McCormack, Scott Blackman, Peter Ippolito, Parx Casino, Season XI
That has to be the worst answer in the history of Lodden thinks.— Christian Harder (@realcharder30) August 11, 2012