Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting Poker Strategy

WPT: Day 1A of the Bellagio Cup

Season VII Uncertainty Affects Turnout


World Poker TourThere are a few unanswered questions surrounding the status of the World Poker Tour. As season VII kicked off today with Day 1A of the Bellagio Cup, a few concerns have yet to be addressed. The first, and likely biggest concern, amongst the players is the status of a network contract for their televised final tables. Some speculations were thrown out as to which network would pick up the episodes which will still be shot each tournament, but as of Friday night, there was still no indication who would even be hosting, after the departure of season VI host Layla Kayleigh.

Despite the up-in-the-air status of the WPT, business continued as usual on Day 1A. The smallish field of 104 players may have been a by product of the WPT's situation, but in all likelihood the burnout caused by a marathon summer of World Series of Poker events was at least partly to blame. Still, last year's $10,000 version of the Bellagio Cup attracted 535 players despite a very small turnout on the first day. With two more starting days to come, the possiblity that two players could leave the Bellagio as new millionaires is still not out of the question.

With a $15,000 buy-in tournament in Las Vegas, you can expect a stacked field. Among the notables to appear was Barry Greenstein, Todd Brunson, Justin Bonomo, Howard Lederer, Lee Markholt, Lee Watkinson, Michael Mizrachi, Max Pescatori and defending champion Kevin Saul.

Saul was eliminated just before the day ended and joined the likes of Beth Shak, Clonie Gowen, Antonio Esfandiari, Eli Elezra, and Scott Seiver on the rail.

A pair of online pros chipped up in a big way throughout the first day of the tournament by taking out two pros. Here were the hands, as it appeared in Card Player's live updates page.

Michael MizrachiMichael Mizrachi Eliminated - Luke Staudenmaire Takes the Chip Lead

Luke "IWEARGOGGLES" Staudenmaire just took the chip lead after eliminating Michael Mizrachi in a monster pot.

We picked up the action on the river with the board reading K10622 and roughly 42,000 in the pot.

All of the bets had been put in the pot, but Staudenmaire was all in for about 77,000 and it was up to Mizrachi to call off his last 55,000. "Do you have a full house?" said Mizrachi. "I can beat K-10." Clearly frustrated with being put through the mental grinder, Mizrachi finally put the last of his chips in the middle. Theo Tran, seated across the table, instantly sighed in disappointment, sensing that his friend's hand was no good.

Mizrachi showed AA, but Staudenmaire revealed 66 for a full house. Mizrachi was eliminated, and the young online pro chipped up to roughly 175,000 in chips.

Cody SlaubaughWill "The Thrill" Failla Eliminated - Cody Slaubaugh Chips Up Huge

After battling with Failla on an earlier hand, Cody "thugmoneymaker" Slaubaugh tangled with him yet again. This time, Failla's pocket kings couldn't catch up against Slaubaugh's pocket aces. The internet professional rode this early momentum to a stack of over 150,000.

Crazy Marco Johnson was big stacked the entire day, and on one of the final hand of the night, eliminated other big stack David Singer to give himself the overall chip lead with 240,000.

The tournament will continue tomorrow at noon when the second of three starting days begins. The players are starting with 45,000 in chips and will play 90-minute levels, meaning that most of the action won't be seen until later in the day. Keep your browsers locked on as we bring you all the updates and photos, live from the floor of the Fontana Lounge.

Other players finishing in the top ten in chips included WSOP cash record holder Nikolay Evdakov, Lee Markholt, Adam "csimmsux" Geyer, Gabriel Thaler and Barry Greenstein.