A record-breaking day at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resulted in Ajay Gnanasambanthan leading the way among 417 entries with 364,500 in the first-ever WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open. The largest Day 1a starting flight in the history of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open bodes well for the total prize pool before Day 1b starts on Saturday with the $2 million guarantee all but a lock to be smashed. 149 from the 417 who entered advanced to Sunday’s Day 2.
Gnanasambanthan hails from Arizona and plays cash games for a living with the occasional tournament thrown in. His latest of four career WPT cashes came this season at the WPT Borgata Poker Open and he owns a final table from September 2016 in a WPTDeepStacks Arizona event where he took third. With over $331,000 in career live earnings, Gnanasambanthan knows his way around the felt and is on the right path toward a breakout score following his Day 1a performance.
Following Gnanasambanthan on the leaderboard is Season XV WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown winner Tony Sinishtaj, who bagged 318,500. Lucas Braga is the only other player to hit 300,000 and returns on Sunday with 312,500. Rounding out the top-five are Ryan Hughes (278,500), who put his classic rock music selection to great use, and Season XVII WPT Borgata Poker Open champion Erkut Yilmaz (266,000).
Other Champions Club members to make it to the end of 10 levels are Jonathan Jaffe, Brian Altman, Phil Laak, Anthony Zinno, Sam Panzica, and Matthew Waxman.
Peter Lockwood bagged 215,000 as he continues to enjoy his life away from business as a frequent player in WPT events.
Day 1b kicks off at 12 p.m. local time at Seminole Hard Rock with 10 more 60-minute levels on the schedule. Registration and unlimited re-entry are available until the start of Level 9.
As always, stay tuned to WPT.com for all the latest coverage from the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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