WPT attendance up, talk of who IS and ISN’T there

Posted by Steve Ruddock on May 16, 2011 Posted in WPT News | No Comments »

Despite Black Friday, which was suppose to decimate high-stakes poker tournaments, the World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship saw a total of 220 players register for the tournament over the course of Day 1 and during the first three levels of Day 2’s late registration period. Even though the tournament attracted 25 more players than last year’s event the real talk of the tournament was about the players that were absent –Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Tom Dwan, Chris Ferguson—and one player in particular who was there, Ali Tekintamgak.

It’s unclear why the big names from Full Tilt Poker were not in attendance since other Team Full Tilt players like Mike Matusow, Allen Cunningham, Erik Seidel, and Erick Lindgren were playing in the tournament, and most were wearing Full Tilt patches to boot!

On the flipside, there was alleged poker cheat Ali Tekintamgak, who was dubiously disqualified from the final table of the Partouche Poker Tour last November, but there he was sitting amongst the game’s best players at the WPT Championship thanks to his WPT Spanish Open win which netted him an entry into this tournament. His presence caused very little commotion on Day 1 of the tournament, but on Day 2 the poker Twitterverse blew up, especially when all 130lbs of Daniel Negreanu confronted Tekintamgak before Bellagio security could intervene and ask NEGREANU to leave! BLUFF Magazine has more on this story.

As far as the play at the tables went, it’s still early-on, in one of the slowest structured tournaments in poker. Heading into Day 3 over 50% of the field is still in the hunt for the title –118 of the original 220 players remains in contention—with Abe Mosseri leading the way. Some other big names in the Top 20 include Scott Seiver (5th place), Erik Seidel (11th place), Steve Gross (12th place), Joseph Cheong (15th place), Galen Hall (16th place), and Jake Cody (20th place). Of course in this tournament pretty much every player is a known entity in the poker world!

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