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WPT Southern Poker Championship Gets Under Way

Gavin Smith Among Chip Leaders After First Day

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Gavin Smith is currently second in chips at the WPT Southern Poker Championship.The World Poker Tour has made its annual trip back to Biloxi, Mississippi. This year’s $10,000 buy-in WPT Southern Poker Championship event drew in a few more players than it did a year ago, with 214 players (compared to 208 in 2010) taking a seat at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino on Sunday. Together they created a prize pool of more than $2 million.

After an action-packed first day of play, 144 players will be returning for Day 2. The average chip stack is at 44,583, after starting the tournament with 30,000. The top 27 finishers will make the money, and the winner will take home $584,481. Hoyt Corkins won the title in 2010, and he is among those still alive, holding a little more than the average chip stack.

Following a big hand late in Day 1, Robert Keller is the tournament’s chip leader with 179,025. In that hand, seven players limped into the pot and everyone checked a flop of 8Heart Suit7Diamond Suit2Diamond Suit. The turn brought the 5Spade Suit and Keller bet out. Tom Braband was the only caller. On the 5Heart Suit river Keller bet 4,400 and Braband raised to 11,700. Keller moved all in. Braband thought it over and eventually pushed his last 40,000 to the middle of the table, showing 5-7 for a rivered full house. Keller showed 7-7 for a better full house, busting Braband and becoming the Day 1 chip leader.

Filling out the leaderboard are some familiar faces, including Gavin Smith with the second largest chip stack, at 144,525.

Here is a look at the top 10 chip counts:

1. Robert Keller – 179,025
2. Gavin Smith – 144,525
3. Vitor Coelho – 136,250
4. Dermot Blain – 125,825
5. BJ McBrayer – 106,250
6. Joseph Cheong – 101,325
7. Andrew Lichtenberger – 99,125
8. Randy Smith – 92,400
9. Jonathan Little – 91,925
10. Gabe Costner – 91,050

Day 2 begins at noon today, and Day 3 will play down to 27 players starting at noon on Tuesday. Action will play to the final six players on Wednesday before the televised final table plays out on Thursday.

Stay tuned to Card Player for a recap of the event upon its completion.