WPT Bellagio Championship underway

Posted by Steve Ruddock on May 15, 2011 Posted in WPT News | No Comments »

With attendance down virtually across the board at poker tournaments around the world since Black Friday, few people were expecting the $25,000 buy-in WPT Championship to be able to match last year’s attendance mark of 195 players. But lo and behold, on Day 1 of the tournament 188 players turned up at the Bellagio with $25,000 in hand! And considering that registration is open for three more levels on Day 2 it would appear that the 2011, post-Black Friday, WPT Championship will eclipse the 2010 version!

The typical group of poker pros registered for the tournament –there are rarely any easy table draws at the WPT Championship—and it was online legend Christian Harder who shot out to the chip-lead at the end of Day 1. Harder ended the day a single T25 chip shy of 250,000, putting him ever so slightly ahead of Justin Young, Doyle Brunson, and Ali Eslami, all of whom managed to eclipse the 230,000 chip mark on Day 1.

Another developing storyline will be the appearance of Team Full Tilt’s Howard Lederer –as well as Phil Ivey and Chris Ferguson. Lederer is still a possibility to register on Day 2 –something he has done in the past—and other Team Full Tilt players did take part in the tournament on Day 1 including John Juanda, Erik Seidel, Mike Matusow, and Erick Lindgren.

Here are the chip-leaders at the end of Day at the 2011 WPT $25k Bellagio Championship:

1.    Christian Harder – 249,975
2.    Ali Eslami – 240,475
3.    Kyle Julius – 237,675
4.    Justin Young – 234,575
5.    Alan Sternberg – 233,675
6.    Doyle Brunson – 230,000
7.    Kevin Saul – 229,975
8.    Masa Kagawa – 229,500
9.    Robert Mercer – 222,850
10.    Curt Kohlberg – 216,925

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