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Legends of Poker Day 1B Recap

Pros Come out of the Woodwork for Day 1B at the Bike

The 2007 Legends of Poker started Day 1B looking for a larger field than 2006, which featured 460 players. Play began today with about that many, but by the time registration ended after the first level, 485 players entered this event, beating last year's field by 25 players.

Shortly after registration closed, the players finally learned what they'd be playing for, a prize pool of $4,607,500, with a top prize of $1.6 million. The top 45 finishers will earn at least $16,005 each, and everyone who makes the WPT final table will win at least $137,175. But that's all in the future, because nobody will likely reach the money until Tuesday. First, these players need to survive Sunday.

It only took a quick glance at today's field to see a big difference from the day before: Most tables were stacked with multiple big-name pros. It's actually easier to list who didn't play today: Both Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey were no-shows in this event. They weren't missed, however, with players from Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth to Scotty Nguyen and Jamie Gold to Cyndy Violette and Kristy Gazes to Tom Schneider and Men Nguyen to Barry Greenstein and Joe Sebok. The field was rounded out by Vinny Vinh, who seemed to be in good health, although he was eliminated in the middle of the day.

Even in this field, table 21 stood out from the rest:

TABLE No. 21

Seat No. 1 - Chris McCormack
Seat No. 2 - Joe Deniro
Seat No. 3 - Jonas Entin
Seat No. 4 - Nicolas Mlouk
Seat No. 5 - Gavin Smith
Seat No. 6 - Mary Jones (2006 WSOP Ladies Champ)
Seat No. 7 - Mike Matusow
Seat No. 8 - Albertin Hernandez
Seat No. 9 - Jerry Yang
Seat No. 10 - Erick Lindgren

Gavin Smith eliminated Mary Jones in the first few minutes, jumping to an early chip lead with $40,000 in chips, and immediately settling into his trademark loose-aggressive style.

We didn't get much of a look at Jerry Yang in his first major tournament after his victory in the WSOP main event: He busted early in the day. Many poker pundits have been wondering how Yang would handle his role as poker's new champion, and it's a good sign that we saw him in the first major post-WSOP tournament. The players at his table were as curious as everyone else, and the table chatter covered a variety of topics, including his large charitable donations.

Doyle Brunson played today, along with his daughter Pam, who won the ladies tournament last week. With that victory, the daughter of poker's patriarch will fill the open seat on Friday night for the filming of WPT Ladies Night V. Both Brunsons survived Day 1B in good shape, with $24,600 for Doyle and $63,600 for Pam.

Kevin O'Donnell has really made a name for himself at the Legends of Poker tournament the past two years, finishing sixth in 2005 and fourth in 2006. He played today and, true to form for this tournament, finished the day fourth in the chip counts with $127,000.

O'Donnell was one of 103 players to survive Day 1B. Here are the top 10 chip leaders from today's play, along with a few other notables with above-average chip counts. (The average chip count is $50,785.)

1. Francois Safieddine - $165,400
2. Jordan Morgan - $153,900
3. Alfred Megrabyan - $136,100
4. Tom Schneider - $128,300
5. Kevin O'Donnell - $127,000
6. Ali Sarkeshar - $123,700
7. Thu Nguyen - $116,400
8. Tuan Le - $116,400
9. Kia Hamadani - $108,800
10. Theo Tran - $102,400

Barry Shulman - $77,400
Haralabos Voulgaris - $75,000
Pam Brunson - $63,600
Mike Wattel - $56,600
Kenny Tran - $56,000
Young Phan - $55,300
Men "The Master" Nguyen - $52,800
Joe Sebok - $51,000

Day 2 will start tomorrow with all 191 survivors from both day ones, and the combined field should get close to the money bubble, 45 players. With the average chip count at $50,785, here are the top 10 chip leaders for the start of day 2:

1. Francois Safieddine - $165,400
2. Jerome Mangum - $157,800
3. Jordan Morgan - $153,900
4. Steve Sung - $147,200
5. Brian Powell - $138,500
6. Alfred Megrabyan - $136,100
7. Tom Schneider - $128,300
8. Kevin O'Donnell - $127,000
9. Nick Cassavetes - $124,000
10. Ali Sarkeshar - $123,700

Return to on Monday at 2 p.m. PDT for continuing live coverage of all the action.


almost 14 years ago

B.J., you are one of the most highly regarded poker journalists in the business and I always look for your work.

I am concerned, though, by the overall quality of the live reports posted on for the Legends of Poker, particularly since CardPlayer has now signed an exclusive deal with Steve Lipscomb and WPTE to report tournament play-by-play. Some of the postings are incoherent, confusing or cut off.

In light of the exclusive agreement CardPlayer has with WPTE, I think CardPlayer owes it to the poker public to ensure thorough, accurate, timely and legible reports, since we have nowhere else to go.

Huntington Beach, CA