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L.A. Poker Classic -- $10,000 Heads-Up Day 1

The Field Plays Down to the Final 13 Players on Day 1

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Chris MooreThe $10,000 heads-up no-limit hold’em championship event at the 2010 L.A. Poker Classic began today at Commerce Casino in Southern California. The tournament attracted a field of 39 players, and a random draw for initial pairings began the day. Seven preliminary matches would determine the final spots in the winners bracket of 32 players to start the day. CardPlayer.com provided live coverage throughout the event and will continue coverage for day 2 tomorrow.

Each match began with the two players holding 20,000 in chips, and the blinds kicked off at 100-200 for the first 30-minute level. The tournament was played out using a double-elimination-bracket format. When the dust settles, one player will emerge undefeated on the winners side of the bracket, and one player will emerge with one loss from the losers bracket to play in the heads-up final for a top prize worth $152,200. Commerce Casino has also added a $10,000 seat in the main event for the winner of this heads-up tournament. It will be a fierce battle for the money with just the top four spots getting paid. Here is a look at the payout structure:

1: $152,200 and $10,000 seat in main event
2: $76,100
3: $45,660
4: $30,440

Many of the play-in matches wrapped up quickly to start the day, but the play-in matches that featured Erik Seidel vs. Nick Rampone and Chad Brown vs. Michael Baxter stretched out for five levels before Rampone and Brown each won their matches. Here is how the winners side of the bracket looked at the start of play:

Winners Bracket Round of 32:

Winners in BOLD

Top Half


Mike Leah vs. Nick Rampone

Victor Ramdin vs. Stefan Christopher


Steve Sung vs. Andy Bloch

Olivier Busquet vs. Anthony Guetti


Erick Lindgren vs. Chris Moore (pictured above right)

Scott Fischman vs. Josh Arieh


Rick Salomon vs. Kagawa Masaki

Frank Kassela vs. Ryan D’Angelo


Bottom Half


Daniel Smith vs. Aaron Been

Nick Schulman vs. Aaron Jones


Brian Hacker vs. Alex Keating

Ryan Milisits vs. Vivek Rajkumar


Gavin Smith vs. Chad Brown

Carlos Mortensen vs. Michael Binger


David Singer vs. Amit Makhija

Thomas Gabriel vs. Eugene Katchalov


The matches played out at various speeds during the next level, as well, and some players advanced quickly, while other matches got stuck in the mud. By the time the final 16 had emerged, many players had been eliminated after a second loss on the loser’s side of the bracket. Check out the list below to see all of the 27 players that were eliminated on the first day of play. Here is what the sweet 16 finally looked like when the round of 32 wrapped up:

Winners Bracket Sweet 16:

Winners in BOLD

Top Half


Nick Rampone vs. Victor Ramdin


Andy Bloch vs. Anthony Guetti


Chris Moore vs. Scott Fischman


Rick Salomon vs. Frank Kassela


Bottom Half


Daniel Smith vs. Aaron Jones


Alex Keating vs. Vivek Rajkumar


Chad Brown vs. Michael Binger


David Singer vs. Thomas Gabriel


Both Chris Moore and Vivek Rajkumar quickly charged through the Sweet 16 to the Elite Eight. It appeared that they were set to repeat a showdown in the championship match as they did in 2009. Rajkumar took the top honors last year, winning $350,000, and Moore took home $190,000 in second place. Here is a look at which players joined them in the elite eight today:

Winners Bracket Elite Eight:

Top Half

Winners in BOLD


Victor Ramdin vs. Anthony Guetti


Chris Moore vs. Frank Kassela


Bottom Half


Aaron Jones vs. Vivek Rajkumar


Michael Binger vs. Thomas Gabriel

The elite eight was a fast and harmless process on the winners side of the bracket. Michael Binger advanced to face Aaron Jones tomorrow, while Anthony Guetti won to move on to a match against the defending runner-up Moore. Rajkumar lost his elite eight match and, for the second year in a row, he will have to win the losers bracket if he is to have any hope at winning the tournament. Moore has now made the final four on the winner’s side for a second year in a row.

Schedule for Tomorrow:

Winners Bracket Final 4:

Top Half


Anthony Guetti vs. Chris Moore


Bottom Half


Aaron Jones vs. Michael Binger


Day 1 Eliminations:

Erik Seidel, Scott Montgomery, Jonas Entin, Michael Baxter, Amit Makhija, Ryan Milisits, Brian Hacker, Aaron Been, Ryan D’Angelo, Kagawa Masaki, Josh Arieh, Steve Sung, Ryan Hughes, Erick Lindgren, Andy Bloch, Rick Salomon, Chad Brown, Olivier Busquet, Scott Clements, Gavin Smith, Stefan Christopher, Scott Fischman, Carlos Mortensen, Mike Leah, Nathan Dowdney, and Nick Schulman all lost two matches on day 1 and were eliminated from the tournament. There were eight players that lost only one match on the first day and they will return as the final eight on the losers side of the bracket tomorrow with a shot at redemption.

Losers Bracket Elite 8 + 1:

Top Half


Eugene Katchalov vs. Vivek Rajkumar


Daniel Gabriel vs. Nick Rampone


Bottom Half

David Singer vs. Victor Ramdin


Frank Kassela vs. winner of Alex Keating and Daniel Smith (noon match per player agreement)


Day 2 begins tomorrow at 2 p.m. You can follow along with all of the action in live updates on CardPlayer.com throughout the day.