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WPT -- Doyle Brunson Classic Championship Day 1A

The Legend the Tournament is Named for Played Today and Phil Hellmuth Took the Lead Late


The first day-one flight at the 2008 Doyle Brunson Classic Championship began today at noon. The $15,000 no-limit hold’em championship event of the popular Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic tournament series attracted 203 players in the Bellagio Poker Room and Fontana Lounge. Satellite tournaments were running throughout the day alongside the tournament field to bolster the day 1B field that will begin tomorrow, a field that will most likely feature even more players than today.

Five, 90-minute levels of poker saw the original field shrink to 160 players by the end of the night. Among those that fell on Day 1A were Josh Arieh, Will Failla, Joe Sebok, Peter Feldman, Barry Shulman, John Juanda, Shannon Shorr, Brandon Cantu, Theo Tran, and David Williams.

John PhanThree of the top four Card Player Player of the Year contenders were in action today, including the current leader John Phan. Phan (6,704 points) survived the day, but fresh on his heels was the third place POY contender Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier (5,510 points) and Ivan Demidov (4,940 points) who also survived the day to keep this compelling story line running into day 2 of the tournament.

This tournament always attracts a large share of professional talent as a percentage of the field, and this year was no exception. Many tables were tough and many of the best pros rose to the top of the field by the end of the day. Here were the top 10 chip counts at the end of play:

Phil Hellmuth: 200,000
Ryan Young: 155,000
Nenad Medic: 150,000
Luke Staudenmaier: 145,000
Brent Hanks: 125,000
Mike Matusow: 115,000
Steve Billirakis: 105,000
David Oppenheim: 96,000
Devin Porter: 95,000
Gabe Kaplan: 90,000

Day 1B begins tomorrow at noon, and will be there to bring you all of the live updates, chip counts, photos, and videos from Bellagio.

Here are the highlights from today’s action as featured in live updates:

Amit Makhija Turns Two Pair into a Bluff Catcher

Jennifer Tilly came in for a raise and Amit Makhija made the call along with the player in seat 1. The flop came Q-8-4 and it was checked to Makhija who bet 600. Seat 1 called and Tilly folded. The turn was a 9 and Makhija bet 1,500. Seat 1 then check-raised to 5,500 and Makhija called. The river was a jack and seat 1 bet 12,000. Makhija called with his two pair, queens and nines and his opponent could only produce a queen. Makhija now has 71,000 in chips.

Eugene KatchalovMike Matusow Wins Big With Aces

Mike Matusow bet strong the whole way down on a board of 6-5-3-J-5 and showed down pocket aces. His opponent showed pocket kings and Matusow took in the 35,000 pot. He now has 94,000 in chips.

Eugene Katchalov Doubles Up

Eugene Katchalov is the defending champion of this tournament, and although his defense campaign got off to a good start earlier today, it stalled this evening and he was forced to move all of his chips into the middle just a short time ago. With a flop of 10 7 5 sitting on the table he moved all in from middle position from 17,500 and Matt Giannetti made the call in early position. They turned up their hands and Giannetti held 9 8 for a draw. This was good news for Katchalov, who held 7 5 for two pair. The turn and river were dealt A 2 and Katchalov doubled up. Giannetti was knocked down to 60,000 after the hand.

Nenad MedicNenad Medic Eliminates David "WhoooKid" Baker

David Baker found himself all in against Nenad Medic. Baker held A-K, but failed to catch up to Medic's pocket queens. Medic now has 180,000 in chips and the chip lead.

John Juanda Eliminated by Kevin Saul

On a flop of A 4 3, John Juanda is all in with A 5 against Kevin Saul and his K 3. Juanda was ahead, but not after the K hit the turn. Juanda needed a deuce, heart, ace or five to win the pot, but the river was the 8, sending him to the rail. Saul now has 55,000 in chips.

Phil Hellmuth Cracks Aces, Busts Theo Tran

On a flop of 8 4 2, Phil Hellmuth bet 10,000 and Theo Tran reraised to 25,000. Hellmuth called and the turn was the 3. Tran bet 23,000 and then called off the rest of his stack when Hellmuth moved in. Tran showed pocket aces, but Hellmuth had 65 for the nut straight, leaving Tran drawing dead. Hellmuth now has 200,000 in chip.