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2007 WPT World Poker Open - Day 1

Whirlwind January Poker Tournament Schedule Impacts Tunica Turnout

The eighth annual World Poker Open returned to Tunica, Mississippi, as the Gold Strike Casino Resort hosted another Gold Strike Casino ResortWorld Poker Tour event. The month of January has been jam-packed with major tournaments, as the WPO and the Borgata's Winter Poker Open run consecutively. To heighten the challenge for players following the circuit, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the Aussie Millions, and the WPO have taken place in three different countries over two hemispheres in 21 days, with playersTom McCormick spending as much time traveling from venue to venue as they have at the poker tables. But here at the Gold Strike, the hotel and tournament staffs have turned up the hospitality, as weary travelers slow down to a more comfortable southern pace, much like that of the majestic Mississippi River running behind them.

Earlier this week during the preliminary events, Vinnie Vinh won the no-limit hold'em shootout, Randy Holland took down the $1,000 pot-limit hold'em competition, David Ulliott swept the $1,000 no-limit hold'em #12, and John Phan won the $1,000 limit hold'em event.

Vinnie VinhTo see a list of all 19 results of the 2007 WPO preliminary events, please click here.

2006 WPO champion Scotty Nguyen returned to defend his title, with the event kicking off promptly at noon and players starting with $20,000. Most of the 294 entrants were already seated, but several were delayed due to northeast weather conditions. For reasons of their own, Phil Ivey, Steve Wong, Erik Seidel, and Phil Helmuth arrived later. Phil Ivey

The prize pool totaled $2,521,504, with first place paying $904,574, and 26 other places paying out.

Players started with $20,000 in chips.

Steve Wong shuffled in the door about 15 minutes after the tournament began, and just in time to see he'd been dealt a pair of kings. Unbeknownst to Wong, Kido Pham woke up with pocket aces. Wong was crippled after his first hand of play. Gavin SmithThree hands later he was on the rail.

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey were in a league of their own on table 41. Dominating the action, the two doubled through each other a couple of times. Once, Ivey moved all in on a flush draw and Negreanu called him with top pair and an outside straight draw. Ivey paired both the turn and the river to swindle Negreanu out of around $11,000, but a few hands later,Daniel Negreanu Negreanu returned the favor when his middle pair held up against a board that gave Ivey two over cards and another outside straight draw. Ivey missed both opportunities, and Negreanu essentially collected the chips he'd lost to Ivey during their previous all-in encounter.

Seif shot to the top of the leader board after eliminating Vanessa Rousso. Seif, in the small blind, made it $1,100 to go. Action was folded to Rousso who reraised him for $2,000 Vanessa Roussomore. Seif called to see a flop of 5spade 4heart 3spade, and both players checked to a Kclub on the turn. Seif checked, but Rousso immediately moved all in with $22,900. Seif went into the tank and then asked Rousso if she wanted him to call. Rousso prodded him to do so, but it took several minutes and a clock being called before Seif finally committed his chips. Seif turned over Kdiamond Jspade, and Rousso was ahead with Adiamond Kheart. But the Jheart on the river gave Seif the winning hand, turning the tables on Rousso.

Halfway through the tournament, a third of the field hadJohn Phan been eliminated. Players on the rail included Phil Ivey, Vanessa Rousso, David Plastik, Michael Mizrachi, Nick Schulman, Ralph Perry, Dewey Tomko, Isaac Haxton, Chad Brown, and Erick Froehlich.

In a comical act of defiance, Froehlich went back to his hotel room and entered the Full Tilt $750,000-guaranteed event online, making it to the final table fourth in chips, and winning $35,250 for an eventual fifth-place finish.

David UlliottMeanwhile, Barry Greenstein was on a methodical run, winning nearly every selective hand he played. Before day's end, on a flop of Kheart 9club 3spade, he called an opponent's $3,000 bet. After the 10spade fell on the turn, he called another $5,000 bet. The river was the Aclub and his opponent fired $10,000 into the pot. Greenstein raised it another $30,000, putting his opponent all in. Greenstein had made a straight on the turn. That pot, combined with him whittling away at other's stacks throughout the day, amassed a small fortune, ending the day the chip leader with over $130,000.

After five 90-minute levels, the whistle blew on day 1 of the 2007 WPO.

Here are the official top ten chip leaders going into day 2:
Barry Greenstein: $130,650
Ed Ford: $121,100
Mark Seif: $105,575
Ernie Scherer: $92,850
John Racener: $83,950
Vassilios Maniotis: $79,825
Mark Gallagher: $79,125
Matthew Graham: $79,000
Randy Gil: $75,100
Jeff Wood: $72,925
Gavin Smith: $72,800

Other notables (in order of chip counts) who will advance areBarry Greenstein Victor Ramdin, Amir Vahedi, Phil Hellmuth, Hoyt Corkins, Chau Giang,Ted Lawson, Erik Seidel, Cyndy Violette, Jimmy Tran, Don Mullis, David Daneshgar, Tex Barch, Daniel Negreanu, Joe Tehan, Eskimo Clark, Bill Edler, John Juanda, Carlos Mortenson, Fred Goldberg, Nenad Medic, Jon Friedberg, Nam Le, Eric and Michael Mizrachi, Dan Schmeich, Randy Holland, Chris Moneymaker, J.C. Tran, Jeff Shulman, David Ulliott, Bob Stupak, Chris McCormack, Berry Johnston, Kido Pham, Johnathan Little, Allen Kessler, Scotty Nguyen, Thor Hansen, Yosh Nakano, John Phan, Tom Mccormick, Tony Cousineau, and Tuan Le.

Monday at noon, 174 players will return to compete over five more levels. For complete coverage, tune come to for live updates, chip counts, photos, and video clips of the 2007 WPT World Poker Open at the Gold Strike in Tunica.