The opening day of the Season XVI WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship attracted a field of 343 entries. After eight one-hour levels, 173 players remained with Luke Blindert (pictured) and his stack of 191,100 leading the way.
Blindert hails from South Dakota and has nearly $41,000 in live tournament earnings entering this event, according to HendonMob.com. He has no WPT Main Tour cashes to date, but that could all change after a fast start in Atlantic City. Last summer, Blindert did finish in the money in the WPT500 Las Vegas event, placing 184th from a field of 3,542 entries.
In the final level of the night, Blindert took out an opponent when the two got the money in on the flop. Blindert had flopped top set with the , and his opponent had the . The turn was the and the river was the to give Blindert the pot.
Following Blindert on the leaderboard were Ricardo Amidani (179,200), Geoff Cudd (167,600), Denys Shafikov (166,500), and Joseph Giulino (165,100).
Elsewhere on the leaderboard was WPT Champions Club member David Paredes.
“I had a very solid day,” Paredes told WPT.com. “I got lucky in one hand where a guy four-bet me and I had kings. I just called, the flop came king-high, and he just bluffed it off drawing dead. And that propelled me. I just cruised after that and ended the day with around 125K. A very solid day. I’m very excited to have the day off tomorrow, so I can enjoy the spa, the pool, and whatever.”
Paredes is a player with nearly $2.4 million in live tournament earnings and plenty of experience at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. In Season XII of the World Poker Tour, Paredes finished second in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship for $499,549. In Season XIV, Paredes won the WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship for $723,227.
“I’ve done so well here it’s kind of absurd,” Paredes said of his success at Borgata. “I got second in one event in the Winter Open and then I won the Fall Open. I just have such a great feeling here, so many good memories. The structure is phenomenal, which I think fits my style of play and it’s nice to play. I’ve been coming to the Borgata since I’ve been in my early 20s. I really like it here and it’s great.”
Other WPT Champions Club members to advance from the opening starting flight included Mike Linster, Olivier Busquet, and Guo Liang Chen, who won the WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship earlier in Season XVI.
The second starting flight in the Season XVI WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship kicks off at 11 a.m. local time in Atlantic City, with another eight one-hour levels on deck. Players begin with 30,000 in tournament chips and, like today, players may reenter until the end of Level 10, which is the second level of play on Day 2.
Stay tuned right here to WPT.com for continued coverage of the Season XVI WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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