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Day 1B of the WPT World Championship

Tom Dwan Rocks a Big Hat and a Big Stack

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After Day 1A’s bleak turnout of 210, it seemed as though this year’s WPT World Championship was destined for failure. But a Sunday field of 335 rebounded in a strong way to not only salvage what could have been deemed a disappointment, but create a prize pool large enough to guarantee that at least two players will walk away as poker-made millionaires.

After registration had closed, a total field size of 535 players meant that $13,216,250 would be awarded to the 100 players skilled, or lucky enough to make the money. First place will walk away with $3,389,140 and second place will have to settle for a consolation prize of $1,714,800.

Tom DwanWith such a large starting stack and a long, drawn out blind structure, the tournament itself took a back seat to prop bets and other malarkey surrounding the Fontana Lounge.

Tom “durrrr” Dwan, played well throughout the day, taking out Beth Shak and Justin Bonomo to take an early chip lead. Dwan accomplished all of this while wearing what can only be described as a Chiquita banana hat. Dwan had a prop bet in the works with friend Alan “The Usher” Sass, that he could arrive on time for a tournament. Of course, Dwan slept in and will now be forced to play the entirety of the tournament with the awkwardly flamboyant hat. Sass was able to avoid his side of the bet, which was to play the tournament wearing only one shoe.

Will “The Thrill” Failla was involved in another prop bet, this one concerning the heavyweights of the poker world. Failla and others such as Victor Ramdin, Tom Dobrilovic, Steve Diano and Grant Lang will be shedding the pounds for cash and charity as they hit the gym between now and the Bellagio Cup IV in July. Part of the cash collected will go to charity, and there will be monetary penalties for each pound that they gain after the weigh in.

While the action on the felt labored along, two other notables took some time out to watch themselves on television. A couple of the plasma screens here in the Fontana Lounge were tuned in to some of the NBC Heads-Up coverage, and an early match between Michael Mizrachi and Daniel Negreanu caught the attention of none other than… Michael Mizrachi and Daniel Negreanu.

Joe HachemThe most talked about hand of the day involved an all-in confrontation between Jordan Morgan and Joe Hachem. Morgan raised to 700 and was called by three players including Hachem on the button. The flop came A-7-4 and everyone checked. The turn brought a 6, and Morgan bet out 2,000. It was folded to Hachem who raised to 7,000 and Morgan quickly reraised to 12,000. Hachem put in yet another reraise to 22,000 and Morgan moved all in for an additional 27,000. Hachem’s stack was sitting at roughly 27,000 as well, and he agonized over his decision for quite some time before asking, “You got 8-5 kid?” Eventually, he folded 5-3 face up, much to the surprise of the table and the crowd that had formed behind him. Morgan tabled pocket aces and many of the professionals who witnessed it were claiming that Hachem may have made one of the worst folds they had seen in quite some time.

The day took on a much slower pace than Day 1A, and the list of busted professionals was not nearly as long as it was yesterday. Those who did succumb to the stacked field included Phil Laak, Allen Cunningham, Lee Watkinson, Andy Bloch, Gavin Griffin, Barry Shulman, and WPT champions Brett Faustman and Mike Vela.

The tournament will resume tomorrow at noon P.S.T. when the two fields will combine and play five more levels. The elimination rate should increase with the blinds, but it will still be quite some time before the entire field can play inside the Fontana Lounge at once.