Note: Click here for the official seating and chip counts for Day 2.
It would be difficult to find two players more diametrically opposed than the Day 1a and Day 1b chip leaders here at the Season XV partypoker.net WPT Playground event at Playground Poker Club. On Friday, three-time WPT winner Anthony Zinno bagged up 209,200 chips and that was enough for one of the most famous faces on the tour to be the chip leader.
The Day 1b chip leader is within a big blind of catching Zinno when play resumes for Day 2 at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday. Mike Baroud ended Day 1b on top with 208,800. Unlike Zinno, Baroud’s face is not particularly recognizable. The Ottawa resident is playing in only his second WPT event after cutting his teeth in the November WPT Montreal event.
Baroud finished with the biggest stack, but notable names Zachary Donovan and Ruben Perceval finished in the top five.
Here is a look at the top five finishers from Day 1b. Action resumes Sunday at 12 p.m.
1. Mike Baroud – 208,800
2. Jean-Pascal Savard – 186,400
3. Zachary Donovan – 165,400
4. Ramesh Puradchithasan – 162,000
5. Ruben Perceval – 156,500
Baroud may be relatively inexperienced in tournaments, but he spends a decent amount of time playing cash both live and online on partypoker. As the owner of his own custom home-building company, he had a flexible schedule to come and play in this event.
Baroud laid low most of the afternoon, but after dinner he started to build his stack. The first pot came when he flopped top pair in a three-bet pot with ace-king and shoved the turn, getting his opponent to fold ace-ten.
He soared up over 200,000 in the counts after he picked up aces and got it all in preflop against ace-queen.
“The camera was on me and lit me up when I had aces,” Baroud says with a smile.
Like most chip leaders, he was certainly the happiest guy in the room when it came time to bag and tag, but he was exceptionally enthusiastic, even excited to meticulously count out his chip stack for the dealer at his table.
Baroud has some words of advice for other aspiring poker players looking to climb the counts in a WPT Main Tour event.
“Don’t ever play position,” he announces with a finger wag. “Play your cards or play the player.”
There were plenty of players to choose from on Day 1b. After 134 entries turned up for Day 1a, Day 1b managed to draw another 246 entries despite snow and windy weather throughout the Montreal area. All told, the field size for this event came in at 380 entries and generated a C$1,179,520 prize pool. Today’s finishers combined with the Day 1a survivors means 157 contenders will be returning for Day 2.
The final 48 players will finish in the money and the winner will receive C$241,500, a US $15,000 entry into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, and their name on the WPT Champions Cup.
Some of the Day 1b notables who are still in contention for the cup include Henry Tran (123,000), Upeshla de Silva (87,800), Max Silver (81,600), Benny Chen (72,400), and WPT Champions Club members Eric Afriat (98,500), Jonathan Roy (66,800), Darren Elias (57,800), and Nenad Medic (30,200).
There were 20 partypoker.net qualifiers in the field today and 14 made it through to return on Sunday. The qualifiers were peppered with notables like Mark Radoja, Michael Tureniec, and Ema Zajmovic, who finished in fifth place at the November WPT Montreal event.
Not everyone managed to survive the day. The list of players who busted Day 1b includes Alex Fitzgerald, Xuan Liu, Mike Dentale, partypoker.net qualifier Manig Loeser, Peter Jetten, and WPT Champions Club members Amir Babakhani, Sam Panzica, and Will Failla.
Follow along right here on WPT.com.