Day 1a of the Season XVI WPT Rolling Thunder $3,500 Main Event wrapped up on Friday from Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Northern California. An opening field of 132 entries was generated, with 71 players advancing to Day 2. Sean Marshall (pictured) bagged the chip lead with 142,100 in chips.
“It was really active, lots of big hands,” Marshall said of his day. “I got into a lot of pots. I wanted to mix it up a little bit with some players I never played with, so I just got involved early and often, and took advantage of the rebuy.”
Marshall is from nearby Burlingame, California, and entered this event with nearly $40,000 on his live tournament résumé, according to HendonMob.com. Marshall said he isn’t a professional player.
“Since I’m not the professional, all these guys I’ve just seen on TV, and read live updates and stuff like that,” Marshall said of his approach. “I was really just taking advantage of the flexibility from the rebuy and getting a feel for their play by just playing a lot of pots, and just realizing I might just burn through a buy-in. I just lucked out in a couple of cool spots where things just broke my way.”
Marshall narrowly edged out Eddy Sabat with 140,400 and Matt Salsberg with 139,200, but the top spot is the top spot. Now, Marshall is the player to catch going forward.
“It’s convenient for me,” Marshall said of the efficiently short day of play. “I live two hours out of here, I’m closer to the Bay Area. I’ve got a five-month-old baby at home, so it’s also nice to take the full day off tomorrow so my wife won’t kill me.”
In addition to Marshall, Sabat, and Salsberg, Ping Liu (130,100), Jesse Rockowitz (126,200), Joseph Alban (122,000), and Glenn Larson (100,100) finished with more than 100,000 in chips in their bags.
Hafiz Khan, who finished eighth in the WPTDeepStacks Championship at Thunder Valley in December 2017 for $29,081, bagged 81,900, and then WPT Champions Club members Harry Arutyunyan and Daniel Strelitz, finished with 74,100 and 68,800, respectively.
Mike Del Vecchio, the WPT Rolling Thunder reigning champion, played in the event again this year and survived Day 1a with a stack of 42,400 in chips.
Jon Borenstein, the winner of the last WPT500 Las Vegas, made it out of Day 1a with 24,200.
Day 1b will begin Saturday at 12 p.m. PT from Thunder Valley Casino Resort. A bigger field is expected, as the second starting flight almost always attracts a larger field than the first, and you can continue to follow along with coverage right here on WPT.com.
Photography by Jayne Furman
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