Arunas Sapitavicius Tops a Stacked Field After Day 1a of the WPT Seminole Rock 'n' Roll Poker Open
A star-laden field turned out for Day 1a of the $5,300 Main Event at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock n Roll Open and Arunas Sapitavicius is the chip leader after the first ten levels of play.
The first of two opening flights drew 655 entries to get more than two-thirds of the way towards the $3,000,000 guarantee. After the dust settled and the chips were bagged, 237 players had a ticket for Day 2. The surviving players will join those from Saturday's Day 1b on Sunday here at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.
The Lithuanian chip leader is the only player with over a half-million chips after Day 1a. He is followed in second by Tommy Tran and in third by Rayan Chamas. Luciano Nardi and Latvia's Aleksandrs Zenkovs round out the top five.
WPT Seminole RRPO Top Ten Day 1a Chip Counts
|Lucian Camargo Silveira
Big Turnout for the Champions Club
The Champions Club turned out in big numbers, including early leaderboard climbers Nitis Udornpim and Brian Altman. Udornpim added his name to the Mike Sexton Champions Cup with a win at WPT Maryland in 2019, while Altman is a three-time champion most recently at WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa in June of 2021.
Other former champs to turn out for Day 1a were Gediminas Uselis, Darren Elias, Matthew Wantman, Chance Kornuth, Darryll Fish, Eric Afriat, Harrison Gimbel, Noah Schwartz, Ryan Riess, Aaron Mermelstein, Asher Conniff, Craig Varnell, Jon Borenstein, and Jonathan Jaffe, as well as former WPT Players of the Year Anthony Zinno, Chad Eveslage, Joe Serock, and the red-hot Bin Weng.
Weng finished up with 214,500 and he will return on Day 2 with a chance to add more accolades to an already stellar year. Earlier in the year, he won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown during a stretch that included back-to-back final tables at Hard Rock and WPT Choctaw. One day after winning the SHRPS final table at the Luxor in May, Weng finished fourth at Choctaw, the same tournament in which he finished ninth in 2022. He also won the WPT Everyone for One Drop later in the summer for $2,227,054 and ran deep to 22nd in the most recent WPT Main Event in Jacksonville.
Another Day 1a runner with his name on the Champions Cup was Fred Normand, winner of the WPT bestbet Scramble last week. The $351,650 score was the biggest of Normands life thus far and a fifth-place finish at the $3,000 No-Limit Holdem event at the 2023 WSOP is his only other six-figure win. The Canadian player is nearing the $1 million mark in lifetime earnings, according to The Hendon Mob, and he will return for Day 2 with a healthy 281,000 and a shot at being the first back-to-back winner since Marvin Rettenmaier in Seasons 10 and 11.
Hands of the Day
WPT Champions Weng and Altman were both on their way up the leaderboard in the latter stages of the day, and both picked up key pots when their pocket kings overcame adversity to win.
Altman got involved in a pot where he raised to 21,000 in Level 8 with blinds at 600/1,200/1,200 and one caller came along to see a flop of K26. Altman continued for 10,000 and the 3 fell on the turn when his opponent called. Altman bet another 16,000 to a smooth call and a 9 on the river. Altman shoved the river and his opponent called with pocket aces, but he showed the kings to win a big pot and cross the 200K mark in chips.
Similarly, Weng called an opposing player's shove in Level 9 and turned over pocket kings, while his opponent showed a suited ace-ten. The flop was a blank but the turned ace gave his opponent the lead until Weng spiked a king on the river to take the pot and continue his familiar trek up the leaderboard.
Find out how to win a $12,400 WPT Passport to December's WPT World Championship
Day 1b will kick off at 11:00 a.m. local time and the players will run another 10 levels before the opening fields combine for Sundays Day 2. Cards go in the air at 12 p.m. on Sunday for Day 2 and the tournament continues through Wednesdays Day 5 at 2 p.m.
Be sure to keep it with the PokerNews team for the biggest stories from WPT Seminole Hard Rock n Roll Poker Open here in Hollywood, Florida.
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