By Donnie Peters
Day 1b of the WPT Gardens Poker Festival Main Event took place on Sunday, drawing a field of 248 entries to the Gardens Casino in Southern California. When it was all said and done, some eight 60-minute levels after the cards got in the air, Yumi Bui finished atop the pack of survivors with 207,300 in chips. Bui’s stack not only put her on top of the Day 1b field, but it put her in the top spot overall as the WPT Gardens Main Event heads into Day 2.
More than 450 entries have been generated so far in the Season XVII kickoff event, and the prize pool has swelled the more than $2.3 million in this $5,000 buy-in tournament. If the math doesn’t quite add up, that’s a good thing, because it shouldn’t. The Gardens Casino added $250,000 in cash and prizes to the prize pool for this event, including a brand new Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster for the winner and $200,000 in cash to the prize pool. Plus, registration remains open until 3:30 p.m. on Monday, July 23, so you can expect the field size and prize pool figures to both grow.
Bui (pictured above) is a California player from San Diego. She had just $12,522 in live tournament earnings before the Season XVII WPT Gardens Main Event, and her largest live tournament score stood at $3,744. She’s set herself up quite nicely to add a big jolt to her career winnings by grabbing the overall chip lead heading into Day 2.
Bui grabbed a chunk of her stack when, according to her, she was on the winning end of an aces-versus-kings battle. Bui held the aces and they held.
Bui narrowly edged out Alexander Assouline’s stack of 206,200 in chips for the lead, while Barry Hutter (180,900) and Martin Kozlov (168,200) both fared quite well on Day 1b.
Chris Klodnicki, Chance Kornuth, Jeremy Kottler, Benny Glaser, and Rex Clinkscales were a handful of the others to advance out of Day 1b.
Some of the players to bust on Day 1b included JC Tran, John Hennigan, Chino Rheem, and Paul Klann. All of those players are WPT Champions Club members, and all of them will have the opportunity to reenter Before registration closes at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Day 2.
Tran’s elimination happened in the final level of Day 1b, when he took the up against the of Kornuth. The flop, turn, and river didn’t provide much of anything for Tran, as the runout sent him to the rail.
Byron Kaverman was another player bounced to the rail on Day 1b, also falling in the final level of play. Kaverman lost a flip with pocket jacks against the for former WPT500 Las Vegas champion Craig Varnell (pictured above). The flop contained a queen and the river was an ace to finish Varnell with two pair and the winning hand.
Day 2 kicks off Monday, July 23, 2018, at 12 p.m. local time, with roughly 250 players already having bagged chips.
Stay tuned to WPT.com for continued coverage of the WPT Gardens Poker Festival $5,000 Main Event.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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