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Photo Recap: Day 1 of WPT Festa al Lago
Level 6: 300-600, 75 ante
Note: To see the full list of official chip counts with seating assignments for Day 2, click here.
Photo Recap: Day 1 of WPT Festa al Lago
By BJ Nemeth
While there is only a single Day 1 here at the WPT Festa al Lago, registration remains open until halfway through Day 2, so we expect at least a handful of players to start tomorrow. Registration closes at the end of Level 8, which will be around 5:00 pm on Saturday.
When play began, there were only 175 players registered, though that number quickly grew as their was a line at the cashier's cage. More players continued to trickle in throughout the day, and when play finished, the field size had ballooned to 294. But 80 of those players have already busted, leaving 214 -- at least until more players register tomorrow.
Of the surviving 214, here's a look at the top six:
1. Payman Arjang - 217,875 (363 bb)
2. Peter Braglia - 160,100 (266 bb)
3. David Peters - 141,425 (235 bb)
4. Jeff Madsen - 139,375 (232 bb)
5. Alexander Shogren - 125,625 (209 bb)
6. Amit Makhija - 125,500 (209 bb)
Here's a photographic look back at Day 1 of the WPT Festa al Lago at Bellagio:
Before play began, Mike Sexton introduced Tony Dunst to the field. Dunst, known online as "Bond18," will be featured on each WPT episode in a new segment called "The Raw Deal." Dunst will be providing an alternative analysis -- from a younger, online perspective -- on big plays at WPT Final Tables.
WPT events at Bellagio always attract pro-heavy fields, with nearly every table qualifying as a featured table in most tournaments. This table in the poker room featured a tough starting lineup of Jeff Madsen (seat 1), Sam Stein (seat 2), Joe Sebok (seat 4), Shaun Deeb (seat 5), Noah Schwartz (seat 6), Kathy Liebert (seat 7), Isabelle Mercier (seat 8), and Ozzy Sheikh (seat 9).
Jennifer Harman and Jamie Rosen face off in a pot in the middle of Day 1 of WPT Festa al Lago. Rosen finished the day with 31,725 (52 bb), while Harman has 24,500 (40 bb).
WPT Anchor Kimberly Lansing sits down with ClubWPT qualifier Gary Massie during a mid-day break on the patio overlooking Bellagio's water fountains. For a membership fee of only $20/month, Massie won his way to a $10,000 buy-in World Poker Tour event, playing against many of the top pros that he has seen on TV.
Andrew Lichtenberger (standing, right) was one of the late arrivals in the middle of the day, and fell right into a prank set by his roommate, Tony Dunst (left). Dunst had left a bottle of Smirnoff Ice wrapped up under Lichtenberger's chair, and told him that somebody left something for him. Lichtenberger discovered the bottle, which means he had been "iced," and forced to go down on one knee and chug the bottle of Smirnoff Ice. (If you still don't understand these seemingly arbitrary rules, Google the words "icing drinking game.")
Kara Scott plays in the first WPT event of her career, seated next to Zach Hyman, who is a relative veteran with 28 WPT tournaments under his belt. Hyman has two top-10 finishes, with a third place at WPT Reno in 2008, and a seventh-place finish on the TV bubble a few months ago at WPT Bellagio Cup VI. While Scott is in her first WPT event, she cashed three times in her first three WSOP events, including two very deep and memorable runs in the WSOP Main Event in 2008 and 2009. Scott finished with 76,500 (127 bb), but unfortunately, Hyman was eliminated late in the day.
Tommy Vedes returned to Bellagio to defend his title at the WPT Festa al Lago. Last year, Vedes outlasted a field of 275 players (when this event had a $15,000 buy-in) to win a little more than $1.2 million. No player has ever successfully defended a WPT title, and unfortunately that trend will continue for at least one more tournament, as Tommy Vedes busted in the last level of the day.
You may be noticing a lot of Tony Dunst in this photo blog. Think of it this way -- we're preparing you for all the times you'll be seeing him on TV on the World Poker Tour. This is just a nice photo of Tony Dunst getting acquainted with his new WPT co-workers, Royal Flush Girls Michelle Banzer (standing, center) and Sunisa Kim. Dunst survived Day 1 with 25,650 in chips (42 bb).
Shaun Deeb (left) and Noah Schwartz watch the MLB playoffs on TV as the New York Yankees finish a big comeback against the Texas Rangers. The Rangers led 5-0 heading to the seventh inning, and 5-1 headed to the eighth, but couldn't hold on. Deeb (17,450 / 29 bb) and Schwartz (48,450 / 80 bb) both survived to Day 2.
Joe Sebok (left) got off to a strong start, more than doubling his starting stack of 40,000 during the first level to approach the 100,000 mark. While most of the tournament was being played in Bellagio's Fontana Lounge, Sebok was moved four times -- and each time he was reseated in the poker room as he watched other players move on to the Fontana Lounge (all via random draw). Here, Sebok is at his fourth table, sitting next to David Williams. Both players ended the day among the top 30 on the leaderboard; Sebok finished with 91,900 (153 bb) and Williams goes into Day 2 with 94,750 (157 bb).
While Jimmy Fricke is a character, he's not quite a cartoon character -- yet. When Fricke appeared in the credits of the TV show, "The Big Game" under the mysterious title of "Poker Police," members of the 2+2 forum created some Photoshopped versions of Fricke in various police uniforms. (One of the most memorable combined Fricke with Chief Wiggum from "The Simpsons.") Fricke decided to make their work a little easier by wearing a mock police uniform t-shirt as he played Day 1 of WPT Festa al Lago. Fricke survived the day with 88,600 in chips (147 bb).
In the last level of the day, Payman Arjang emerged as the dominant chipleader, and the only player to finish with more than 200,000 in chips. Arjang has 217,875, which represents 363 big blinds as the field heads to Day 2. Compare that to the players who register overnight to begin on Day 2 -- they'll have 40,000 in chips (66 bb).
Once play was finished for the day, Kimberly Lansing (left) interviewed Annette Obrestad on the Fontana Lounge balcony overlooking the famous Bellagio water fountains. Lansing chats with Obrestad as the crew prepares the lighting and cameras for the interview (which will air as part of the TV episode).
Day 2 begins tomorrow (Saturday) at 12:00 noon PT, when the 214 survivors from Day 1 will join some late registrants and satellite winners. (Yes, there is a satellite still in progress, running overnight.) Return to WorldPokerTour.com for complete live coverage, including chip counts and video interviews with Kimberly Lansing.
02:00 AM, 10/16/10