It feels like we just set the November Nine in the World Series of Poker Main Event a month ago. Oh wait, we did. There is no rest for the weary in the poker world though, as the WSOP calendar is now truly a year-round affair.The 2013-2014 Circuit is in full swing and the first Main Event of the season kicked off at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The East Coast poker mecca returned for a second season on the Circuit and, once again, the Main Event drew some of the top talent from both the New England region and the WSOP Circuit regulars.The first starting flight drew 341 entries, including a number of bracelet winners like Leo Wolpert, Jon Aguiar, and Ronnie Bardah as well as last year’s seventh place finisher in the 2012 WSOP Main Event, Michael Esposito. For all of these noteworthy players, save Wolpert, Day 1A would not end on a positive note. All were eliminated, including Esposito who busted on the second to last hand of the flight.
Wolpert, on the other hand, thrived, and managed to bag up almost 80,000 chips. He was on of 115 Flight 1A survivors along with Maurice Hawkins, 2012 WSOP National Championship participants Aaron Massey and Austin Buchanan, Vinny Pahuja, Jason Strasser, Little One for One Drop final tablist Joe Morneau, and Josh Bergman.
Ari Engel, fresh off his sixth Circuit Ring victory, also had a massive day at the Flight 1A tables, bagging up 169,900, which puts him second in the Flight 1A counts. While Engel impressively built on his 20,000-chip starting stack, he is still not even close to the end of Flight 1A chip leader Ray Haddad (pictured) and his mountain of 304,000 chips.
Esposito, Bardah, and Aguiar were just some of the players to take advantage of the single re-entry option of this tournament and signed up for second chance in Flight 1B. For Esposito and Bardah, the results were the same as their first shot, but for Aguiar, the second time proved to be the charm, as the semi-retired poker pro was one of approximately 79 Flight 1B players from a starting field of around 243 entries to bag up at the end of the night.
Several other players opted to fire just a single bullet in this tournament in the second flight of the day. It was a plan that worked out well for Jamie Kerstetter and Justin Schwartz, but not so well for the likes of Victor Ramdin and bracelet winner Andrew Badecker.
The player who had the best Flight 1B of them all was Frank Pezzullo. He took his second bullet in this tournament and ran it up into 225,100, thanks to numerous big pots, including a hand where he busted Circuit regular, Ralph Massey. While it wasn’t enough to overtake Haddad for the overall chip lead going into Day 2, Pezzullo is nonetheless firmly second in the counts and the only other player over the 200,000-chip mark.
Final numbers in this opening Circuit Main Event will be tabulated in the morning after registration officially closes at the start of Day 2 play. The tournament easily surpassed the $500,000 guarantee and it will be a nice six-figure payday for whoever captures that ring and National Championship berth.
Tune in to the WSOP live updates tomorrow for all the Day 2 action, which gets underway at 12pm ET. Until then, here is a look at the unofficial end of Day 1 top ten counts:1. Ray Haddad – 304,0002. Frank Pezzulo – 225,1003. James Feehan- 180,6004. Liam He – 175,7005. Ari Engel – 169,9006. Patrick Gray – 162,6007. Scott Baker – 159,6008. Charles Hawkins – 152,7009. Mason Rosenberger – 150,40010. Jason Strasser – 144,300