The World Poker Tour (WPT) Venetian Main Event entered its third and final starting flight today and surpassed the $4 million guaranteed prize pool with several hours to go until the close of late registration.
Day 1a of the $5,000 buy-in no-limit Hold’em tournament attracted 176 entries, followed by 241 entries on Day 1b. By Level 5 of Day 1c, more than 480 players had entered the tournament to bring the total number of entries up to 897 for a prize pool of $4.1 million. Those numbers will surely climb with players able to register up until 8:10 p.m. local time.
Some Early Action
By early afternoon, the field had grown to a few hundred as a line of players waiting to register began wrapping around the poker room. Players in line to register included WSOP bracelet winner Justin Saliba and Dragana Mackelprang, who went deep in the 2021 WSOP Main Event and is looking for another big score.
Most of the tournament action took place in the main area of the Venetian poker room, where dozens of poker tables lined up on top of the patterned red and tan carpet.
At one table, WPT Choctaw runner-up Steven Buckner chewed his trademark unlit cigar as he battled against Kyna England, who finished third in this event last July for $448,755.
As WPT staff walked around handing out complimentary hats, the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) 2021 Player of the Year told the table she wanted one to get a hat to give to her mom.
“If I win a hat, I’m giving it to her for sure,” England said. “My mom loves those! She wears them around and tells everyone ‘My daughter’s a poker player!’”
Unfortunately, there won’t be another deep run for England as she was eliminated in the middle of the day when her top pair was no good against the set of Eugene Todd, according to WPT live updates. And, sadly for England’s mom, PokerNews can’t confirm whether England ever got that hat.
Other players in the main poker room area included Ukraine’s Pavlo Veksler, two-time bracelet winner Scott Ball, six-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Matthew Stout and Alabama all-time money leader Shannon Shorr.
Tucked away in the north corner, 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker sat to the left of three-time bracelet winner Kristen Foxen. Close by, two-time WPT champion Tony Tran won a massive pot when he made quad sevens to nearly triple up.
Players seated in the outer overflow area, meanwhile, included Jesse Lonis, Chad Himmelspach, Hye Park, Ugur Secilmis and WPT Season XIX Player of the Year Jacob Ferro.
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Savage Gets a Face Full
In celebration of WPT’s 20th anniversary, WPT staff brought out a cake to share with players during the first break of Day 1c.
After a few words from WPT Royal Flush Crewmember Brenden Johnson, WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage stepped outside of the Venetian casino, where he was greeted with a piece of red velvet cake to the face by WPT ambassador Andrew Neeme in a moment of celebration.
The WPT Executive Director then walked back to the Venetian poker room with a face still covered in frosting as players laughed and took photos of the cake-decorated Poker Hall of Fame nominee.
Good Start for a Qualifer
One of the players who got off to a hot start on Day 1c was Josh Guindon, a ClubWPT qualifier who quickly climbed to third in chips at one point in the afternoon.
Guindon, who works in Salem, MA as an emergency medicine doctor, is married but made the trip out west to Las Vegas alone as he looks for his first big live score.
The medical doctor has a tough field to battle through as other players who filled the Venetian poker room on Day 1c included WPT champions Phil Laak, Noah Schwartz, Dylan Linde, Tony Dunst and Anthony Zinno.
Those who manage to bag on Day 1c will return with the surviving 98 players from the two other starting flights on July 15 for Day 2, which will get underway at noon. Days 3 and 4 will play out the following days ahead of the next WPT champion being crowned.
WPT Venetian Remaining Schedule
|July 15||12 p.m.||Day 2|
|July 16||12 p.m.||Day 3|
|July 17||12 p.m.||Day 4|
Photos courtesy Joe Giron and WPT