Another lackluster turnout for a WPT Championship

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Feb 12, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

At the same time that the World Poker Tour Venice Grand Prix was coming to a close, the tour found itself in Florida for the inaugural World Poker Tour Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open, a re-entry tournament with a $3,500 buy-in and two starting days. Unfortunately for the WPT, both the attendance in Venice (155 total entrants) and the attendance in Florida (295 total entries, including 44 re-entries) were far lower than expectations.

The Hard Rock Lucky Hearts is perhaps the more disappointing tournament of the pair, considering Florida has been a veritable hotspot for tournament poker over the past year, and the re-entry format put in place has been a boon for many US poker tournaments. However, part of the issue may have been the decision to not make the inaugural WPT Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open a televised WPT tournament, a factor that always seems to drive attendance numbers higher as players hope to be featured at a WPT televised final table.

Despite the less than stellar turnout, the tournament did attract some of the poker world’s biggest names including Florida natives Jason Mercier and the Mizrachi Brothers, as well as top tournament players like Shaun Deeb, Andy Frankenberger, Christian Harder, Harrison Gimbel (is he 21 yet???), Tony Dunst, Jonathan Little (who has already won two $1,000 buy-in tournaments this year), Matt Stout, and Kathy Liebert.

The overall chip-leader, Matt Juttlestad, made the most of the re-entry format, as he busted on Day 1a but re-entered and dominated on Day 1b. Another player who re-entered and ended with a sizable amount of chips was Christian Harder, who nearly won a WPT tournament at the end of 2011.

Here is a glimpse at the big chip-stacks from Day 1a of the tournament:

1. Uri Kadosh – 275,500

2. Eliyahu Levy – 218,500

3. Jason Mercier – 176,400

4. Nick Avena – 133,200

5. Michael Michnik – 121,100

6. David Tiffenberg – 112,900

7. Shaun Deeb – 112,700

8. Mike Corbett – 111,300

9. Jan Zeigler – 94,200

10. Carlos Cruz – 91,600

Here is a glimpse at the big chip-stacks from Day 1b of the tournament:

1. Matt Juttelstad – 280,000

2. Will Durkee – 233,100

3. Angeo Miele – 211,800

4. Alex Ivanov – 200,700

5. Keith Ferrera – 200,600

6. Hal Klein – 172,900

7. Lazaro Hernandez – 169,600

8. Harrison Gimbel – 143,200

9. Raj Vohra – 141,600

10. Christian Harder – 114,400

Of the 125 players who entered the tournament on Day 1a only 42 were able to bag up their chips at the end of the night. 44 of the 83 eliminations decided to take another crack at the tournament on Day 1b, along with 124 other entrants, bringing the Day 1b tally to 170, and the overall number of entries to 295. By the end of Day 1b, only 64 players remained; who will now join the 42 runners from Day 1a.

27 of the remaining players will receive a share of the $950k prize-pool. Here is a look at the final table payouts announced by the WPT:

* 1st place: $268,444

* 2nd place: $158,194

* 3rd place: $105,463

* 4th place: $73,344

* 5th place: $54,649

* 6th place: $42,185

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