There was a point today where every single table and seat in the Harrah's New Orleans tournament area was full. With points on the line, a massive Main Event, and money and seats in the Global Poker Championship at stake, no one wanted to miss out on the action. As the day progressed into the night though, the fields began to thin in the races for an at-large seat, the Casino Championship, and the Main Event.
The Main Event was, of course, the Main attraction today, as Day 1B posted 451 entries, making for a total field size of 785 entries and a prizepool of $1,177,500 at stake with $235,500 and a seat in the Global Poker Championship going to the winner along with the prestigious Main Event Circuit ring.
The chips were flying once registration in the $1,675 buy-in Main Event closed. David Slaughter rocketed to the top of the counts when he raked in a 300,00-chip pot shortly after dinner break. Slaughter peaked at 360,000, but fell back down in the counts after doubling a player late in the day. Meanwhile, on the other side of the tournament area, Robert Alvarado (pictured) busted David Tuthill and raked in several other big pots to end Day 1B with 303,000 chips and the overall chip lead heading into Day 2 on Sunday.
Alvarado topped the 95 Day 1B survivors, but there are other big stacks returning for more action tomorrow, including Ryan Dunn (294,500), David Slaughter (266,000) and Tim Miles (255,500). Other notables to make it through the day include Joe Kuether (118,000), Tommy Vedes (103,000), James Calderaro (154,000), seven-time Circuit Ring winner Corey Waaland (43,500), as well as bracelet winners Loni Harwood (71,500), Cord Garcia (72,500), Foster Hays (79,500), Larry Wright (56,500), and Phil Hui (116,000).
Meanwhile, plenty of big names hit the rail over the course of the day, including Survivor contestant Rob Mariano, Kyle Cartwright, Maurice Hawkins, John Dolan, Ray Henson, Allen Kessler, and Andy Hwang.
Those players will join the 66 Day 1A tomorrows on Sunday. Step one is survive to the money bubble. This event pays 81 spots and at least five points in the race for an at-large seat. Ting Ho, Garcia, Brian Hansen, and Brandon Newsome are right on the bubble and a min-cash could be the small push they need to secure the seat, but a look at the leaderboard will show you just how tight this race is going to be for one of the 52 at-large spots. While Jeff Trudeau would need a final table finish to secure an at-large bid, he does have something else in his favor--he is the current frontrunner in the Casino Championship contest with 70 points. He can't relax yet though, as both Newsome and Rex Clinkscales are breathing down his neck. And Christian Rodriguez could swipe up one of those at-large spots, as he is still alive in today's $365 Turbo Ring event.
It was a long day of action, but there is still plenty of play and plenty of opportunities for players to maneuver their way to a seat, a payday, or a big victory. Action gets back underway tomorrow at 12pm CST. Be sure to follow along with the live updates as the field plays through the money bubble and on towards a final table.
Here are the top ten chip counts headed into Day 2:
1. Robert Alvarado - 303,000
2. Ryan Dunn - 294,500
3. LaDarren "DBanks" Banks - 273,000
4. David Slaughter - 266,000
5. Riley Fuller - 255,500
6. Timothy Miles - 255,500
7. Brian Senie - 249,500
8. Randy Landry - 247,500
9. Jackson White - 216,000
10. Darrell Rowland - 215,000