Day 1b of the Season XVI WPT Legends of Poker Main Event attracted a field of 177 entries to The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, bringing the total field size up to 332 with what is expected to be the biggest starting flight still to come on Sunday. Following the completion of another 10 one-hour levels of play on Saturday, Southern California’s Valentin Vornicu (pictured) bagged the chip lead with a towering stack of 286,700 in chips.
Vornicu boasts a career record of more than $990,000 in live tournament earnings, but he has yet to score a cash in a WPT Main Tour event. The only World Poker Tour cash on Vornicu’s record came from a 58th-place finish in the Season 1 WPTDeepStacks San Diego Main Event in 2014.
Known as an aggressive player who isn’t afraid to mix it up with a wide variety of hands and apply adequate amounts of pressure as he sees fit, Vornicu had his foot on the accelerator all day on Saturday. After starting the day with a stack of 30,000 in chips, Vornicu moved to more than 200,000 in Level 8 thanks to turning a seven-high straight and getting value on fourth and fifth streets. Then in Level 9, Vornicu picked up even more chips in a three-way pot against Tom Emerson and one other player.
Unlike Day 1a’s chip leader, Thomas Zanot, who finished Friday’s opening flight as the only player to bag up more than 200,000 in chips, at least two competitors joined Vornicu in that range. Adam Geyer finished Day 1b with 273,000, and Peter Neff ended up 266,100. Official chip counts will be made available soon by the casino and posted here to WPT.com.
As busy as Day 1a and Day 1b have been, the best is yet to come in the Season XVI WPT Legends of Poker Main Event with the third and final starting flight taking place on Sunday, August 27, at 12 p.m. PT. The anticipation is that the Day 1c field will eclipse 300 entries alone, plus registration will remain open until the start of Day 2 on Monday at noon.
Among those scheduled to be in action on Sunday are WPT commentator Tony Dunst, who busted on Day 1b and will reenter for Day 1c, Japanese music superstar Gackt, ClubWPT.com qualifiers Kenn Edgecombe and Henry Osburn, and Allen Kessler, who, like Dunst, busted on Day 1b.
With Sunday’s action, the World Poker Tour will also be one day closer to awarding its one-billionth prize dollar. This tremendous achievement represents the lasting success of the World Poker Tour dating back to the tour’s inception in 2002, and it comes at a time when WPT events are booming across the world. Not only is the Season XVI WPT Legends of Poker taking place right here in Southern California, but the WPT has another great event taking place in Reno, Nevada, with the WPTDeepStacks Reno festival, and the tour is in South America for the first time ever with WPT Brasil presented by Brasil Poker Live. The latter of these events attracted more than 3,000 entries. Plus, WPTDeepStacks has an event running across the pond in Vilamoura with WPTDeepStacks Portugal that kicked off on August 25. There is no better time to be a part of the World Poker Tour, as things are bursting at the seams in all areas of the world.
Day 1c kicks off on Sunday at 12 p.m. local time, and you can find all of your WPT Legends of Poker coverage right here on WPT.com.
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
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