WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas Day 1c Update

Jonathan
15 Dec 2023
Jonathan Raab 15 Dec 2023
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  • 337 of 973 day 1c entrants make it through to day 2
  • Kyle Ho leads the way with a 1,211,000 chip stack
  • WPT's Tony Dunst, Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme still in contention
  • Mike Matusow busts author of this post Jonathan Raab
WPT World Championship Day 1c
Photos Courtesy of WPT

WPT World Championship Day 1c Report

The third starting day of the $40m guaranteed WPT World Championship took place on Thursday 14th December at Wynn Las Vegas. A further 973 players took their seats, to bring the running total up to 2,312 entrants. 

Over 1,700 players are now required in the final starting day to avoid an overlay, but it’s widely anticipated that the target will be reached, or that it will go very close. It was a bold move by WPT to adorn the event with the biggest guarantee ever in live poker and whether they meet it or slightly miss it, it's a good sign for things to come, poker is on the rise!

Poker Faces

There were many recognisable faces amongst the 337 players who progressed from day 1c, including several former champions of WPT and WSOP main events. On the WSOP side, both the Joes, Hachem and Cada made it through, as did 2004 runner-up David Williams. Maria Ho, who recently won Game of Gold also made it to day 2, but with a lower-than-average stack. At this stage, everyone left is still in contention, regardless of chip count and even those with very small stacks could go on to secure the win. A "Chip and a Chair" is all that is required and those near the bottom of the pile will hope to emulate Jack “Treetop” Straus’s remarkable WSOP victory, where he came back from one single chip remaining to become the 1982 world champion.

UK Players Through

Chris Moorman
Several well known UK pros have also worked their way into day two. These include online tournament crusher and former WPT Champion and ACR pro Chris Moorman (383,000), poker wizard Roberto Romanello (363,000) and Matthew Frankland (64,000).

WPT Trio Progress

There were good fortunes for the WPT trio of Tony Dunst, Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme, who all secured their berths in the next stage of the event. Other notable players still in contention include former WPT Champion Phil Laak. The long time partner of actress Jennifer Tilly takes 245,000 chips with him into day 2. Frog licker and all-time biggest winner in live tournament poker Bryn Kenney also made it through, with 342,000 chips.

My Own WPT World Championship Story

Jonathan Raab
One player who won’t be gracing the field on day two is myself. Having won a WPT Global package, this was by far the biggest poker tournament I’ve every played in and it was a tremendous experience, but I won’t securing a slice of the multi-million prize pool this time. My dream of having my name on the Mike Sexton Cup will have to wait for another opportunity, if ever that comes. 

My stack hovered between 80,000 - 120,000 for most of the day, on a table filled with top pros. I had Andrew "AJ" Kelsall directly to my left and GG Poker’s Ren Lin two to my left. Three players to my right was Mike ‘The Mouth” Matusow and UK pro Thomas Hall also shared the same table. Despite being flanked on both sides by these extremely successful pros, I didn’t feel too overwhelmed.

When Matusow joined the table half way through the day he was in the cut-off whenever I was on the big blind so I knew I would end up tussling with him. We only played small pots however and i think I scored a 3-3 draw with him in these hands, however, this included my exit hand, but Matusow only got the scraps of chips I had left after I suffered a cooler on the last hand of level seven. 

Having been fairly card dead for the last two levels of play my stack had shrunk to 60,000 with the blinds at 1,000/2,000. I’m dealt AQ on my big blind and the player on the button, who had less than me and had been steaming, raises to 4,500. I re-raised to 14,000, the button calls and the flop comes down KQQ. I lead out for 12,000, which is called. The turn brings the 7 and I shove for my remaining 32,000. He calls instantly and turns over KK for a full house. There is no miracle fourth queen on the river and as the table gasps at the hand, I’m reduced to just 10,000 chips.  

I don’t even pick up a hand I can shove with in the next lap of the table, so with the blinds now at 1,500/3,000 with a 3,000 big blind ante, I’m committed when its my turn to post. Thomas Hall raises to 6,500, clearly targeting my bowl of rice, but he quickly gets out of the way when Matusow puts in a big raise. Mike held AJversus my 86 and gratuitously made the nut flush to send me and my dreams to the rail.

It was however an extremely enjoyable experience, I feel good overall about the way I played and will share more details soon about that and what its like to share a table with one of the most famous table talkers in poker. 

Kyle Ho Takes Top Spot

Day 1c Chip Leader Kyle Ho
The chip leader after day 1c is Kyle Ho, who I also played with, as he was immediately to my right on my first table. He is one of three players to cross the 1m chip barrier, with Chance Kornuth and Hossein Esnan joining him in the chip millionaires club.

Day 1c Survivor Chip Counts

Chip Counts of the top five players and other notable survivors from day 1c

PositionPlayerChip Count
1stKyle Ho1,211,000
2ndChance Kornuth1,130,000
3rdHossein Esnan1,100,000
4thMatt Hunt863,000
5thRudy Cervantes849,000
53rdTony Dunst453,000
62ndJoe Hachem430,000
63rdDavid Williams429,000
81stChris Moorman383,000
88thRen Lin369,000
93rdRoberto Romanello363,000
96thBrad Owen360,000
103rdBrynn Kenney342,000
145thPhil Laak286,000
148thThomas Hall281,000
170thAndrew Neeme254,000
185thJoe Cada224,000
252ndMike Matusow149,000
307thMaria Ho96,000
327thMatthew Frankland64,000

Final Starting Day on Friday

The action continues on Friday 15th December with the final starting day. Check back tomorrow for a further update on what will be by far the biggest starting day, with up to 2,000 players expected to do battle for the last remaining places in day 2.

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