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PartyPoker.com Million V - The Champ is Here

Defending Champion Michael Gracz Joins the Field on Day 1b

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The MS Westerdam is halfway to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, which means we're still at sea, and the boat is still rocking with poker action. Day 2b of the PartyPoker.com Million V began at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time, but money was on everyone's minds earlier than that, as the official prizepool was announced. The payouts are as follows:

1st: $1,000,000
2nd: $700,000
3rd: $500,000
4th: $300,000
5th: $225,000
6th: $175,000
7th: $150,000
8th: $125,000
9th: $100,000
10th: $75,000
11th: $50,000
12th: $38,600
13th-18th: $28,500
19th-27th: $25,000
28th-36th: $22,000
37th-63rd:$19,000
64th-99th: $16,000

Day 1b started with 258 players. The notables among the second half of the field included: Barry Greenstein, J.J. Liu, Bill Edler, Chris Bell, Chip Jett, Jesse Jones, Mel Judah, Casey Kastle, Morgan Machina, Gavin Smith, Amir Vahedi, Fabrice Soulier, Steve Zolotow, and of course, defending champion Michael Gracz.

Day 1b was identical to day 1a as far as tournament structure was concerned, meaning all players began with starting stacks of $10,000 and the blinds were $50-$100 with $100-$200 limits.

Some Unlucky Draws

Yesterday was devoid of tough table draws. Other than the Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf, and Todd "DanDruff" Witteles pairing, most tables were lacking a murderers row. Not so today. Amir Vahedi and Barry Greenstein were seated together to start the day - surely an unwelcome site for the majority of the Internet players.

Another tough draw saw Michael Gracz seated with Mimi Tran, Diego Cordovez and J.J. Liu.

The Champ is Here

Eventually that table broke, and the trio of pros and the world champ relocated from the main poker room to the smaller tournament area. Once there, Gracz was greeted with some ribbing befitting the defending champ.

"We asked for a donkey," one of the players at the table said as Gracz entered the room, "Thanks."

"You got one," Gracz joked back before unbagging his chips and taking his seat.

Gracz fared well at his new table, ending the day with $41,000 in chips. Good for 38th place.

Off to Bingo

Despite the big names and stacked tables, the cyber sharks found a way to bite back on day 1b. PartyPoker qualifier Will Thysell busted Greenstein in the early afternoon. Thysell got an autographed copy of Greenstein's book Ace on the River along with the bragging rights that come with busting a world class poker professional. Meanwhile, two of Greenstein's students, Alexandra Vuong, and Mimi Tran got off to fast starts, both reaching the $20,000 mark by early afternoon. Both leveled off later. Vuong survived the day with 18,000, but Tran was not as fortunate; she was eliminated in the final level of day 1b.

Mel Judah and Chip Jett were also among the early exits.

Gavin Smith's Wild Ride

Poker pro Gavin Smith looked like he may be following Greenstein and friends to the poolside at the first break. Smith found himself on a short stack early, But after a nourishing breakfast of a hotdog and some cantaloupe, Smith went on a rush that pumped his chips up close to $20,000.

Things were looking up for Smith after this rally. That was until his set of sevens got cracked by a turned nut flush. After the hand Smith was down to around the starting stack amount of $10,000 in chips. Some say that heart is what separates the good players from the truly great players, and Gavin Smith showed a lot of heart during the late afternoon levels. After taking that tough beat he never looked backed. He turned his $10,000 into $50,000, good for the top 20 in chips heading into day 2.

On a side note, Gavin Smith is now freerolling in this event after winning $38,000 in an onboard backgammon match during day 1a.

Media Event

In other poker action, PartyPoker.com held a $10,000 freeroll for the media aboard the Osterdam in the main poker room. The event began with 24 players playing for a $3,500 in first place prize money. With 8 players remaining a deal was made among the final table members to pay 2nd-8th place $1,000 a piece.

The results from the media freeroll were as follows:

1st - Christine Wilstein
2nd - Alex French
3rd - Jen Hooey
4th - Warren Lush
5th - Azzy Asghar
6th - Scott Huff
7th - Daniel Michalski
8th - Chris Tessaro

Washed Ashore

Other notable day 1b eliminations include: Chris Bell, J.J. Liu and Amir Vahedi.

Chip Leaders after day 1b - These chip positions reflect the total field that will recombine for day 2:

Henrik Witt $84,000
Ali Eslami $78,000
Derek Kromm $68,000
Richard Predham $64,000
Victor Ramdin $61,500
Brian Clark $60,500
David Eller $59,500
Ville Vainio $59,000
Karsten Honnefeller $88,000
Steve Godwin $54,000

List of things that would only happen on a poker cruise (Night 2/Day 1b)

As your cruise director I would like to present the second installment of my list of things that would only happen on a poker cruise:

1) Mike Sexton "grinding" in a club called the Crow's Nest.
2) Amir Vahedi and Gavin Smith "grinding" on one another in a club called the Crow's Nest.
3) Amir Vahedi and Gavin Smith "grinding" on my mom in a club called the Crow's Nest.

Play will resume at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, March 15th. Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com all week for event reports from the PartyPoker.com Million V.