This time last year, Canadian Eric Afriat won the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for over $1 million in Florida. The 2015 edition of the tournament is on now, and Afriat already booked his Day 2 spot when he qualified on Day 1a. Now the second of three starting flights is in the books with Day 1b concluding on Friday.
There were 404 entries in the $3,500 tournament on Friday, bringing the total thus far to 906. Day 1c will need to be a big one if the event is to reach the $5 million prize pool guarantee. By the end of the 10 one-hour levels scheduled to be played, 150 players still had chips in front of them, and they were bagged and tagged for Sunday's Day 2.
Leading overall is one of our own — Ryan Rivers from Ontario — with 226,900 chips. Rivers' best live tournament result was at last year's Canada Cup Main Event at Playground Poker Club where he earned $165,280 for finishing third. That finish was part of an epic four-way all-in that is still talked about today. The tournament went from four players to a champion in a single hand.
Other Canadians to survive the day include Team PokerStars Pro and 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel (161,900), John Krpan (128,000), WPT Champions Club member and Weeds Producer Matt Salsberg (79,000), Francois Goulet (64,600), and Montreal nightclub owner Ami Alibay (48,800).
Some of the other notable players to bag chips on Day 1b include WPT Champions Club members Jared Jaffee (191,000) and Chris Moorman (189,300) with top-10 stacks. They will be joined by Shannon Shorr (173,000), Noah Schwartz (114,300), Jordan Cristos (112,400), Aaron Mermelstein (74,500), Taylor Paur (64,00), Chino Rheem (54,000), Ebony Kenney (52,300), and many others.
The final chance for players to qualify for Day 2 is on Saturday with Day 1c and it should be a huge field. Check back with PokerNews Canada for a report of the action with special attention on the Canadian contenders.
Details and photo courtesy of the WPT Live Blog.