By Lisa Yiasemides
The opening night of the WPT Online Series went off with a bang with huge guarantees attracting some of poker’s most recognisable players as the first events got out of the starting blocks last night.
Sundays have always been the staple in any online player’s weekly calendar and last night there were six additional reasons to log on to play as the Opener, Mini Opener, Knockout, Mini Knockout, WPT500, WPTSuper50 all got underway on partypoker.com
The buy-ins ranged from $55 to $5,200, and with satellites and feeders running in the lead-up, it meant there was something for players of all levels to look forward to and first up were the Opener and Mini Opener, which launched the festival at 5 pm.
The Opener offered the highest buy-in of the night and 497 players stumped up $5,200, collecting more than $2,173,150 for the prizepool in the two-day event. It was no surprise, therefore, that the tournament drew many familiar names to the virtual felt and of those, Joey Weissman (1,488,215) goes through with the chip lead as Sylvain Loosli (1,403,869) finished in close second at the end of 22 levels of play.
As the clock was paused 19 players, including WPT Champion’s Club member Mohsin Charania (370,036), remained and they all return with at least $19,775.66 locked up when Day 2 resumes, however, all will no doubt be eyeing the $409,638 top prize.
Running alongside it was the Mini Opener which offered a replicated experience of the tournament above but with a reduced $530 price tag. Pavel Veksler built the biggest stack, returning with 1,577,215 for Day 2. Veksler’s closest rival is Yann Dion (1,485,878) but there will also be stiff competition from the likes of Daniel Strelitz (1,358,062) and Max Silver (1,261,244) who also chipped up and are well in contention of the $115,293 prize for first place.
Next up was the $2,100 Knockout that collected $1,002,000 for the prizepool. Of the 501 entries logged, 18 made it through and Ilya Anatski accumulated the most chips with 2,110,182. Parker Talbot came close to exceeding the 2 million mark with a stack of 1,954,862 and Norbert Szecsi also had a strong night with 1,447,430 enough for third place. They all come back to play out to a winner who will secure $74,004 (plus those all-important bounties!) when the second and final day gets underway.
The $215 Mini Knockout beat its guarantee too, with $509,600 amassed via the 2548 registrations. First place is looking at a $32,332 payday (plus bounties) and it is Jakob Miegel who returns in pole position with 3,455,803 chips good for the runaway chip lead. Oran Band had the second most productive day in the field and takes 2,161,461 through.
The first of the three flagship events kicked off when the WPT500 started at 8 pm. There will be 10 starting flights to choose from over the next week and Joao Matos has set the bar with his 587,716 chipstack the biggest from Day 1a. Anton Wigg had to settle for second place with 385,258 in the bag. They, and the rest of the 108 survivors of the 727-strong field, will have to wait to find out what they are playing for, but it will be at least the $2 million guarantee.
Last, but not least was the WPTSuper50 which has the same structure as the WPT500 and has a $1 million guarantee There were 1493 entries in the $55 tournament and 193 were still in when the clock was paused. Stefan Lehner (711,626), Mateusz Szymanski (442,250) and Goncalo Ferreira (392,915) were the top three stacks at the end of 18 levels. Manig Loeser (308,103) was among the pros who took part – a testament to the incredible value this tournament offers.
The Opener, Mini Opener, Knockout and Mini Knockout all resume later today (May 4), where they will play to a winner. The WPT500 and WPTSuper50 will continue with at least one Day 1 flight taking place each day until Day 2 on May 11. As if that wasn’t enough, the Superstack and Mini Superstack also begin.
With so much more to look forward to between now and May 20, be sure to check back to find out who the big winners are in the WPT Online Series, with a daily round up of all the highlights posted here every day.
*All times referred to are GMT