The World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown began Thursday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The $3,500 event is the second-last stop of Season XII for the WPT and boasts a rich $5 million guarantee which should have the champion walking away with over $1,000,000.
Last season, 542 entries created a prize pool of $2,547,000 and Kevin Eyster won $660,395.
This season the WPT has lowered the buy-in to $3,500 from $5,000 and added an additional Day 1 starting flight. After registration ended on Day 1a, there were already 479 entries. Players also have the option of unlimited rebuys each starting day and if they are not happy with the size of their stack or want the opportunity to build a larger one, they can re-enter again on another Day 1, taking only the largest stack into Day 2.
175 players survived Day 1a. Leading the way was Justin Young, bagging up 313,200 at the end of play. Among the top stacks were Ryan D’Angelo, Mark Darner, Francois Gagne, and Kyle Keranen.
Here is how the top-ten chip counts from Day 1a stack up:
Other notables making it through were WPT Champions Club members Jordan Cristos, Tony Dunst, Scotty Nguyen, Matt Salsberg, Lee Markholt, Steve Brecher, Anthony Zinno, Noah Schwartz, Eugene Katchalov, Ben Hamnet, and Jonathan Little. Familiar faces Faraz Jaka, Brian Hastings, Eddy Sabat, Dan O’Brien, Bryn Kenney, Corey Burbick, and Ryan Riess also moved on to Day 2.
Those falling on Day 1a and in need of firing more bullets include Jason Mercier, Dan Heimiller, Matt Stout, Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Jared Jaffee, Blair Hinkle, Moshin Charania, James Calderaro, Jeff Madsen, Amir Babakhani, Mike Sowers, and Jonathan Aguiar.
The Canadian contingent so far includes Jonathan Roy, who built a nice stack and sits in ninth overall, and Paul Klann, who busted earlier in the day.
Day 1b will start at noon in Florida. Check back with PokerNews Canada at the end of play for a full end-of-day recap.
*Lead image and data courtesy of the WPT Blog.