Saturday, May 9, 2015 12:09 AM Local Time
Day 1A of the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at Harrah's Casino in New Orleans kicked off Friday at noon CT. The first of two starting flights in the Gulf Coast property's championship event began with 266 players (up slightly from last year's 252) all vying for Circuit glory, a berth in the National Championship and what's expected to be a six-figure first prize. Following 15 levels of play, just 52 advanced with Dustin Denzik (pictured) out in front as the only player over 300,000 chips.
Denzik, who hails from Lagrange, Ky., claims 305,000 and is in position for his second deep run of the series and third cash. He previously finished runner-up in Event 7 ($365 no-limit hold'em) and 24th in opening weekend's re-entry event. He's joined in the top 10 by Viet Vo (223,500), Christopher McFarlane (217,000), Austin Buchanan (211,000), Ray Henson (159,000) and others. Among those complementing the names at the top of the Flight A counts are bracelet winners Cliff Goldkind (119,000), Loni Harwood (105,000), Tom Franklin (99,000) and Larry Wright (23,500), five-time ring winner Valentin Vornicu (150,000), Maurice Hawkins (116,500) and John Dolan (69,000).
Complete chip counts from Flight A are available under the "Reports" tab above.
While the aforementioned names earned themselves a day off tomorrow, not everyone will be able to use Saturday to catch up on some much-needed rest. Those unable to play their way to a second day of action from Flight A include WSOP bracelet winners Phil Hui and Jonathan Taylor, eight-time Circuit ring winner Alex Masek, Jake Bazeley, David Nicholson, DJ MacKinnon, Caufman Talley, Ryan Lenaghan, Gene Dudek, Ryan Tepen, Chris Conrad and Brian Reinert. Save for Reinert and Taylor (who used both their entries in Flight A), each of the above players are permitted to re-enter tomorrow's Flight B.
Main Event action continues at Harrah's Saturday at noon CT with the second and final starting flight. Live updates will be available throughout the day right here on WSOP.com.
Friday, May 8, 2015 11:49 PM Local Time
The clock has struck zero, and time has run out on Day 1A. The players are just bagging and tagging now; stay tuned for a full recap of the day's action.
Friday, May 8, 2015 11:37 PM Local Time
The clock has been paused with 10 minutes remaining, and the floor supervisor has instructed each table to play three more hands. After the three hands, all remaining players will bag up their chips for Day 2.
Friday, May 8, 2015 11:36 PM Local Time
Three players see the flop, and one is already all in. The dealer spreads , and Val Vornicu bets 5,000. The other player folds.
Vornicu shows , and the all-in player turns over . The turn is the , securing the pot for Vornicu, and the meaningless river is the .
Val Vornicu - 150,000
Friday, May 8, 2015 11:27 PM Local Time
Gary Friedlander is all in for his last 28,300. Friedlander claims on a flop for an open-ended straight draw. His opponent, who holds the chip advantage, has and Friedlander needs to improve.
The turn smacks Friedlander, falling the improving him to Broadway and leaving his opponent drawing dead.
The river is a meaningless and Friedlander doubles.
Gary Friedlander - 77,500
Friday, May 8, 2015 11:19 PM Local Time
Viet Vo (pictured) raises to 5,000 from middle position, and Loni Harwood calls from the cutoff. The big blind then pushes all in.
Vo asks for an exact count, which turns out to be 43,200. Vo also asks Harwood how much she has behind, and she tells him about 80,000. Vo then announces he's all in. Harwood quickly folds, and the players turn up their cards:
The board rolls out , and Vo wins the pot with his set of nines.
Viet Vo - 188,000
Friday, May 8, 2015 11:06 PM Local Time
Friday, May 8, 2015 11:06 PM Local Time
A middle-position player raises to 4,300 and Kyle Cartwright (pictured) shoves for 47,400 behind him. It folds around and the middle position opener calls. Cartwright is behind and at risk.
Middle position player:
Cartwright's 10s are in need of some serious help as they head to the flop.
The flop comes and the middle position player retains his lead heading to the turn.
Third street is the and Cartwright needs one of the two remaining 10s to stay alive.
The board completes with just that -- the -- improving Cartwright to an unlikely set and doubling him through the middle position raiser.
Kyle Cartwright - 100,000
Friday, May 8, 2015 11:03 PM Local Time
A player raises to 5,000 from under the gun, and action folds around to Viet Vo in the big blind. Vo calls, and the dealer spreads . Vo checks, and the preflop raiser continues for 8,000. Vo thinks for a minute, then check-raises to 17,000. His opponent moves all in, and Vo quickly calls. He shows , and he's ahead of his opponent's .
The turn is the , and the river the . Vo wins the pot with his top pair, and his opponent heads to the exit.
Viet Vo - 125,000
Friday, May 8, 2015 10:56 PM Local Time
Joining the action just as the dealer burns the first card, Loni Harwood is kind enough to recap the story thus far: "Five players to the flop. Lots. Of. Action."
Harwood is a part of the pot, and she and the other four see the flop come . Viet Vo takes the first stab at it, leading out for 10,000 as the man in the middle. Tom Franklin quickly raises to 40,000 in position, and that's enough to fold the rest of the pack out of the way and return the action to Vo. The raise from Franklin has his 35,700 covered, and Vo eventually makes the call for his tournament life.
"Let him make two pair," Franklin asks the dealer. But the board fills out with the turn and river, both safe for Vo. He's found a big double up and then some at one of the friendliest (and toughest) tables in the room.
Viet Vo - 89,000
Tom Franklin - 57,500
Friday, May 8, 2015 10:44 PM Local Time
Five-time ring winner and bracelet holder Kyle Cartwright opens the action for 4,200 from under the gun. A late position player calls and it folds around to fellow bracelet winner Cliff Goldkind in the big blind. Goldkind makes it 14,200 to go. It's back on Cartwright and he moves all in having both players in the hand covered. The late position player calls off as does Goldkind. The hands are tabled.
Late position player:
Goldkind is ahead in the hand, but at risk against Cartwright. The late position player holds the worst hand and the shortest stack.
The board runs out and Goldkind doubles through Cartwright while eliminating the late position player.
Cliff Goldkind - 177,000
Kyle Cartwright - 23,000
Friday, May 8, 2015 10:33 PM Local Time
He may not exactly be local to the area, but Texas native Gary Friedlander almost certainly calls this casino home. If he doesn't, he should, as he historically does very well here in the Crescent City. Have a look at Friedlander's results from his Main Event appearances here over past few seasons:
That's a total of $283,091 in earnings and a few near misses in the jewelry department. If history is any indication, Friedlander is certainly someone to keep an eye on this week.
Friday, May 8, 2015 10:26 PM Local Time
Friday, May 8, 2015 10:02 PM Local Time
With more than 50,000 already in the pot, the river card is out with the board showing . The hand is heads up between John Dolan and Ray Henson, and Dolan checks fifth street. Henson takes his cue, announcing, "All in," and sliding a small stack of chips forward. It's enough to cover Dolan's remaining 37,100, and he takes a couple long minutes to consider before surrendering his cards into the muck.
After dragging that pot, Henson has chipped up over the century mark, now sitting with about 105,000. Dolan still has those 37,100 left in front of him.
Friday, May 8, 2015 9:58 PM Local Time
The board reads and four-time ring winner David Nicholson has a lone opponent at risk. Nicholson holds the advantage in the hand with against the of the opponent. The board runs out and Nicholson takes the pot and sends the player to the rail.
David Nicholson - 88,000
Friday, May 8, 2015 9:53 PM Local Time
Registration is closed in Flight A and the field in the first of two start days in the New Orleans finale sits at 266 entries officially. This number is slightly ahead of the 252 entries that turned out for last year's opener.
Friday, May 8, 2015 9:45 PM Local Time
Friday, May 8, 2015 9:31 PM Local Time
Players are on their last 15-minute break of the night. When they return, they'll log three more levels before bagging and tagging at roughly 11:45 p.m. CT.
Friday, May 8, 2015 9:27 PM Local Time
DJ MacKinnon (pictured) opens the button for 2,500. The small blind folds sending the action to Austin Buchanan in the big blind. Buchanan reaches into his stack and raises to 7,500. It's back on MacKinnon and he shoves for about 31,500. Buchanan calls and the hands are tabled. MacKinnon is at risk and behind.
The board runs out and MacKinnon hits the rail at the hands of his friend Buchanan.
Austin Buchanan - 130,000
DJ MacKinnon - Eliminated
Friday, May 8, 2015 9:20 PM Local Time
On a flop, Allen Carter and his heads-up opponent tangled in a betting and raising war that left the unknown gentleman all in for 38,300. Carter got his chips into the middle without delay, turning over a made straight with . The third nuts are second-best hand in this instance, though, as his opponent tables his for the stronger straight.
The turn and river complete the board to secure the double up, putting a small dent in Allen Carter's towering stack in the process.
Allen Carter - 182,000