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Caesars Palace Classic Championship Day 1 Recap

The Field Tops 300 and Caesars Takes Care of the Rest for the $1 Million First-Place Prize


Day 1 of the 2008 Caesars Palace Classic $10,000 no-limit hold’em championship began today at noon. The players started with the largest stacks in the history of a $10,000 buy-in poker tournament, sitting down to 100,000 to work with. The Caesars poker room put in about 90 players through various promotions, freerolls, and satellites, and the professional poker community showed up in force to join them. When registration closed at the end of level 2, the size of the field had grown to 311 players, which is 24 more players than the year before. This made the prize pool $2,956,366 and the first-place prize is $1 million thanks to the $53,961 that Caesars Palace added to the prize pool. The top 27 players will receive prize money. Here is the payout structure:

Caesars Poker Room1: $1,000,000
2: $520,320
3: $266,073
4: $206,946
5: $177,382
6: $147,818
7: $118,255
8: $88,691
9: $59,127
10-12: $35,746
13-15: $29,654
16-18: $23,651
19-27: $17,738

The player who received the $1 million first-place prize last year was David Singer, but he will not be defending his title on day 2. Singer was among the many professionals who busted out during the day. Other notable eliminations included Barry Shulman, John Juanda, David Williams, David Benyamine, Jeff Madsen, Justin Bonomo, Brad Booth, Chau Giang, Jason Mercier, Alec Torelli, Adam Levy, Barry Greenstein, Dutch Boyd, Brandon Cantu, Carlos Mortensen, Nenad Medic, Ralph Perry, Will Failla, Vanessa Rousso, and Card Player Player of the Year third-place runner, Erik Seidel.

Luke StaudenmaierLuke Staudenmaier began the day on a roll by busting two players to build his stack up to the 300,000 mark. He continued that early momentum to become the first player to cross the 500,000 mark, as well, and during late play many players tried to keep up. Carter Gill was one of those players. He scored late knockout punches to bounce both Roy Winston and Michael Mizrachi out of the tournament during the last level of play. Ryan Young pulled a sneak attack on the leader board late in the day, and he snuck into the night with the chip lead holding 725,000. When the dust settled at the end of play, 166 players remained, which is a surprise considering how many chips everyone started with. The blinds and antes will start to force the action much more tomorrow.

Here were the top chip counts at the end of play:

Ryan YoungRyan Young: 725,000
Sabyl Cohen: 605,000
Carter Gill: 590,000
Luke Staudenmaier: 520,000
Eric Liu: 470,000
Scott Epstein: 440,000
Steven Levy: 411,000
John Gale: 407,000
Jared Okun: 407,000
Michael Kamran: 398,000

Full Chip Counts

The field will return at noon tomorrow and play down to a final table of nine players. If that appears to be unreasonable, play will be stopped short of the final table on day 2. The tournament staff will then make a decision if those remaining players will play down to a champion on Thursday, Oct. 30, or if another day of play needs to be included, and in that case the final table will take place on Friday, Oct. 31.

Whatever happens, Card Player will be there every step of the way to bring you live updates, chip counts, photos, and videos from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Here are the highlights of the day, as featured in's live updates:

Luke Staudenmaier Takes the Lead

Sitting with 190,000, Luke Staudenmaier is the early chip leader here at Caesars.

Staudenmaier explained that his newfound wealth came from an amateur who committed his stack drawing dead. The flop came A 10 9, and Staudenmaier's opponent slow-played the 5 3 for a flopped flush. Staudenmaier caught up when the A hit the turn, giving him aces full of tens with his pocket tens.

The money got all in, and Staudenmaier claimed his first bounty of the day.

John JuandaLuke Staudenmaier Takes a Much Bigger Lead

The hits just keep on coming!

Two players limped, and Luke Staudenmaier raised from the cutoff. John Juanda called on the button, as did both limpers.

The flop came 9-3-2, and it was checked to Staudenmaier, who bet 1,800. Juanda accidently raised to 16,800, claiming he mistook his 5,000 chips for 500 chips. Staudenmaier reraised to about 45,000, anyway, and both players got it all in.

Juanda had pocket threes for middle set, but Staudenmaier flopped top set with pocket nines. The board bricked out, and Staudenmaier eliminated Juanda, vaulting him up to 295,000.

 Yes, we are still in the first level!

Roy WinstonRoy Winston Eliminated by Carter Gill

According to Carter Gill, Roy Winston moved about 130,000 into a 40,000 pot on a K-K-J-J-X board.

Gill snap-called with quad kings, and Winston insta-mucked his way out of the tournament.

Michael Mizrachi Eliminated by Carter Gill

Michael Mizrachi was all in with K Q, and Carter Gill made the call with A 9.

The board came 8 7 2 5 5, and Mizrachi was elminated. Gill now has 612,000.