The opening salvos have been fired in the 2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and the shots have been spectacular. The numbers for the two-Day Ones have set a record for the tournament and, while former WPT champion Eric Afriat took the Day 1B chip lead honors, it is Day 1A leader Udi Kadosh who will have the overall lead heading to Sunday’s Day 2 action.
After 646 entries were received for Day 1A, the masses gathered for Day 1B were ready to smash that figure. Coming out of the gate it was a bit slow as only 169 players were in their chairs when the cards hit the air, but there was quality to the early risers (the tournament started at 11AM). Former WPT champions Darren Elias, Brian Altman, Andy Frankenberger, Jonathan Little (also in on Day 1A) and Afriat were the brightest stars in the Hard Rock tournament arena, joined by Mike Dentale, Ari Engel, Matt Stout, Ankush Mandavia and Joe Elpayaa. With late registration going on until the end of Level 9, however, it would be quite some time before the final figures were in.
Frankenberger had some difficulties coming out of gate as some of the local talent brought the action to him. Cut down to a short stack, Frankenberger found himself in a three-way hand with a Q-J-4-6 two-club flop and turn up for the players to ponder. After a small blind bet and the second player’s call, Frankenberger decided that he didn’t want to mess around anymore, moving his remaining 10K in chips (players started with 30K; this was slightly more than an hour into the day’s play) to the center. His two combatants quickly got out of the way and Frankenberger scooped the approximately 17K pot.
After that first hour, the Seminole Indian tribe also breathed a sigh of relief. The 938-entry mark was passed in that first hour, meeting the $3 million guarantee that they had placed on the tournament. After the recent tournament which suffered from a great deal of controversy after the casino took some unusual steps to try to meet their guarantee, the Seminoles were obviously pleased that they wouldn’t be on the hook for any money and the only question now was how high it would go.
If there is one way to explain the difficulties (some would say unfairness) of the unlimited re-entry format, Chance Kornuth would be that example. Only a couple of hours into the Day 1B action, Kornuth ran his pocket treys into Robert Chusid’s Big Slick and got his chips to the center, only to see the board counterfeit him when it ran out 6-5-5-6-J to give Chusid the hand and knock Kornuth out. Undaunted, Kornuth reached back into his wallet for another $3500 and, by the beginning of Level 5, had worked his way into the Top Five. Would Kornuth have made the same play if it were a freezeout event?
As the dinner break came, the numbers were staggering. 549 entries were in the books, bringing the total number of entries to 1195 with four levels left in the day’s action. As players looked at the tournament clock, there were murmurings that the final figures could break last year’s record numbers, when 1207 entries were received, and that the prize pool could eclipse the $4 million mark.
After the end of Level 9, the players got their answers. With 663 entries on Day 1B, the total field for the 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown totaled 1309 entries, the fifth largest event in WPT history (and breaking last year’s record for the event. The $4,188,800 prize pool will be carved up by the final 164 players, with the eventual champion walking off with the lion’s share of that pool ($696,740).
Perhaps the most stunning thing about the day’s play (other than the massive number of entries) was Afriat’s efforts. After the dinner break, Afriat needed to quadruple up to reach 14,500 chips (that’s not a misprint, folks), but he kept his foot on the gas from there. In the span of one level, Afriat went from “losing every hand for seven hours” (his words, as quoted by the WPT live updates team) to winning everything he touched, building a stack that towered over his tablemates and eventually giving him the Day 1B chip lead.
1. Eric Afriat, 222,500
2. Andrew Wilmot, 218,900
3. Ryan Olisar, 214,600
4. Mark Cole, 207,000
5. Joel Brink, 205,000
6. Joseph Skarzynski, 195,900
7. Andre Crooks, 191,100
8. Raul Lozano, 173,500
9. Juan Martinez, 164,000
10. Aaron Mermelstein, 162,500

Combined with the Day 1A participants, not only will Kadosh hold the overall lead in the tournament heading to Day 2, the top three from Day 1A will be at the helm:
1. Uri Kadosh, 245,500*
2. Robert Transue, 239,500*
3. Nguyet Dao, 237,300*
4. Eric Afriat, 222,500
5. Paul Snead, 220,000*
6. Andrew Wilmot, 218,900
7. Ryan Olisar, 214,600
8. Mark Cole, 207,000
9. Joel Brink, 205,000
10. Joseph Skarzynski, 195,900

(* – Day 1A players)
From the 1309-entry field, there will be a total of 480 players who will return for action on Sunday morning. It is possible that they will reach the money bubble on Sunday, but a better bet might be Monday for the popping of said bubble. With the massive field for this tournament, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the state of Florida and the World Poker Tour have shown that the much talked about “death” of the big-field poker tournaments have been, as in the words of Mark Twain, “greatly exaggerated.”
The post 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 1B: Uri Kadosh Maintains Overall Lead, Record Field for Event appeared first on Poker News Daily.


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