WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas Day 1a Update

14 Dec 2023
Jonathan Raab 14 Dec 2023
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  • 202 of 609 day 1a players have made it today 2 of the WPT World Championship
  • Jeff Hakim holds the chip lead on 998,000
  • Irish legend Andy Black scrapes through to day 2
WPT World Championship
Photos Courtesy of WPT

WPT World Championship Day 1a Report

Day 1a, the first of four starting days in the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas is now a thing of the past. And for 407 of the 609 players who took to the felt, their dreams of making the final table are also a thing of the past. But hang on, that’s not entirely true, the event does allow players to fire one bullet per flight and quite a few players will exercise this option. However, with a $10,400 buy-in, the vast majority of players will be treating this as a freezeout. 


Erik Seidel
One of the players who failed to make it past Day 1a was Erik Seidel. Fresh from picking up his 10th winners bracelet at WSOP Paradise in the Bahamas, Erik was eliminated just before the half-way point of the day. But as one of the most successful tournament poker players of all-time, he is confidently expected to re-load his barrel for another starting day.

Last year's runner up Benny Glaser also failed to make his first bullet stick, but he'll also undoubtedly back for another crack at the whip today.

Big Stacks

Jeff Hakim Chip Leader
Jeff Hakim leads the way as the day 1a chip leader, bagging up a chip stack just shy of 1m. He is one of three players to make it over 900,000, three times the average for the remaining players. Amongst those that made it through the day with above average chip counts were the UK’s Patrick Leonard, David “The Dragon” Pham, Gus Hansen and Maria Konnikova. 

Andy Black Scrapes Through

Meanwhile, at the other end of the chip count spectrum, Ireland’s Andy Black sneaked into day 2 with just 40,000 chips, 199th of the 202 survivors. With over $7m live cashes to his name, Andy “The Mad Monk” Black is the most successful Irish poker player of all-time. He is best known for his 2005 5th place finish in the WSOP main event for a $1.75m payday, which remains his biggest cash to-date. 

Poker Wired caught up with Andy after play ended. 

“It was a torrid day, I’m into day two with just six and a half big blinds and never got much above starting stack” 


“Big stack or small stack, the objective of day 1 is to make it to day 2 and that goal has been successfully achieved” 

Even with a short-stack, it would be churlish to write off his chances at this stage, especially as he has form as a short-stack ninja. Actually, as a former Buddhist monk (hence his nickname), it might be more appropriate to call him a short stack Zen Poker Warrior. 

In 2008 he made it to day two of the WPT $25k World Championship with just 11,000 chips to his name, rebuilt a stack and eventually finished in 16th place for a six-figure cash. More recently, he made the final of last month’s Irish Poker Festival main event, despite being short-stacked throughout the latter stages of the tournament.

WPT World Championship End of Day 1a Survivors

Top 10 chip leaders and other notable survivors of Day 1a of the $40m guaranteed WPT World Championship

PositionPlayerChip Count
1stJeff Hakim998,000
2ndAdekunle Olonoh972,000
3rdAlan Keating957,000
4thArden Cho798,000
5thJeremy Joseph773,000
6thJon Borenstein745,000
7thJohn Myung712,000
8thPatrick Leonard706,000
9thTjan Tepeh695,000
10thGeorge Tomescu676,000
16thDavid Pham612,000
24thGus Hansen558,000
38thMaria Konnikova458,000
90thSteve Zolotov297,000
128thNick Petrangelo200,000
137thKenny Hallaert182,000
176thJason Somerville111,000
181stCliff Josephy99,000
190thBruno Fitoussi82,000
199thAndy Black40,000
Day 1b begins at 11am local time on Wednesday 13th December when many more hopefuls will start their journey to possible glory. Amongst them is WPT Global package winner Matthew Pitt, known online as Yorkypuds. Check back on PokerWired.com tomorrow for details of his progress and the overall story of the day.

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