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Day 1 at the 2008 Wynn Classic

Mike Matusow Makes a Great Start Toward Another Final Table at the Wynn by Ending Day 1 with the Chip Lead


Day 1 at the second annual Wynn Classic began right on time today at noon. The field was a late-arriving one however, and many tables began shorthanded. Registration was cut off at the end of the first level, and 183 players had made it in time to ante up the $10,000 buy-in. Once again, the field was heavy with professional talent, which continued the precedent set by last year’s final table, which featured Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Ted Lawson, Chau Giang, Johnny Chan, and Scott Fischman, and was won by Zachary Hyman. Chan and Giang were not in the field this year, and of the four aforementioned players who were, only one survived the day. Matusow finished with 107,700 for the chip lead, despite drawing tough tables throughout the day, and he made a great first step toward making another final table here at the luxurious Wynn.

Zachary HymanThe defending champion was the first of these four to make his exit shortly after the dinner break, so the defense of his title was a short one. His ultimate demise came when he was bluffed on a flop of A 10 5 by Ralph Perry, who check-raised Hyman’s 2,700 opening bet by moving all in. Hyman agonized over the call for a few minutes before putting Perry on A-K and calling the clock on himself. Then, as the clock expired, he proclaimed to the table that he held A-J. After Hyman’s cards went into the muck, Perry turned over 9 5. This hand left Hyman with 9,700, and he never recovered. Fischman followed Hyman to the rail a few minutes later, and Lawson, the runner-up from last year, was knocked out during the last level of the night.

One trend that developed today was the fact that players had one eye on the table and the other eye on basketball in one form or another. Early in the day, plasma screens above the players were showing the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Houston Rockets, and Jerry Buss, who had skipped the game to play here at the Wynn, was watching the closing moments of the game. The Lakers were down 10 with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and Layne Flack came over to rib the owner of the Lakers. The Lakers eventually lost that game to the Rockets, who recorded their 22nd win in a row, and then, the subconscious attention of the players turned to the releases of the March Madness brackets on Selection Sunday. Mike Sexton was in the field wearing Ohio State Buckeye attire, but his hope for them to make the field of 64 was slim (they did not).

Professionals made up about half of the field today, and while many advanced, some met some excruciating eliminations. Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi was the first of these professionals to go when he took a bad beat early. The Grinder’s pocket aces were cracked by the pocket kings of his opponent early in the second level. He was left with 3,200 after the hand and was gone a few hands later. By the time the dinner break rolled around, Barry Shulman, Gavin Griffin, Gavin Smith, Erik Seidel, and 2007 Card Player Player of the Year David “The Dragon” Pham had followed The Grinder to the rail.

After the dinner break, the trend continued, as Flack, Eli Elezra, Lee Markholt, Cliff Josephy, and Dutch Boyd took their leave. David Levi was coolered by Hasan Habib, who held aces to Levi’s kings on his final hand. The worst fate suffered by a professional player fell upon Max Pescatori later in the day; it was what he called, “A sick bust.”

Roy WinstonPescatori limped under the gun, and four other players followed him into the pot, including Roy Winston. Winston bet 1,600 preflop before an unknown player raised all in for 12,000. Winston reraised all in for 35,000, and Pescatori called all in for his last 22,000. The three players then opened up their hands, and Pescatori held the lead with pocket kings. Winston held A-K, while the unknown player had A-8. The cards were dealt, and an ace on the flop sent Pescatori home. This hand propelled Winston to the top of the leader board with 69,000, and he played strongly for the rest of the day to finish with 104,550.

Play ended after the sixth level of the night, and 92 players remained in the hunt for the $692,286 first-place prize. They will all return tomorrow (St. Patrick’s Day) at noon and play down to the final 27. This should be a quick process, considering that the money bubble bursts when 18 players remain.

Here are the top five chip counts:

Mike Matusow — 107,700
Roy Winston — 104,550
Ryan Young — 90,700
Amit Makhija — 80,100
Blair Hinkle — 73,200


over 13 years ago

Wow, editors are badly needed here.

In the first paragraph, is "continue the precedent set," not "precedence."

Later, it's the Rockets, not the possessive "Rocket's."

In the first sentence of the "Professionals made up..." paragraph, there should be no comma after "to go."

And that's what I spotted in just the first quick reading of the first half. C'mon Card Player, run your content through a good editor before publishing--and publishing quickly to the web is no excuse for not taking this critical step.


over 13 years ago

You nerd, stop it. Who cares. Did the point of the article come across to you? Were you able to digest the text into a meaningful article? Results over method my friend.