2005 WSOP Circuit $10,000 No Limit Event at Tunica - Day One Recap
Aug 22, 2005  
by Jason Kirk  

The Main Event of the 2005 WSOP Circuit at Grand Casino kicked off today with a field of 179 players either winning their way in through satellites or putting up $10,000 to have a shot at a $572,970 first prize. The field is one of the smallest of the two-week event, owing partially to competition from the Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. Dozens of poker's biggest names still showed up to play. Among the notable names in the tournament area today were Erick Lindgren, Amir Vahedi, Scotty Nguyen, Josh Arieh, Michael Mizrachi, Chip Jett, Kathy Liebert, Hoyt Corkins, Mimi Tran, Barry Greenstein and John Juanda. The field may have been small, but the level of competition was quite high.

In addition to the bigger names, more than a handful of amateurs and semi-professional players who have done well in the earlier Tunica Circuit events showed up to play. Matt Smith, who finished 5th in Event #7, played at tough tables all day. Also in the hunt today was Michael Borovetz, runner-up in Event #8. He survived a table that featured Erick Lindgren for most of the day. Don Mullis, who defeated Borovetz heads-up in Event #8, didn't fare as well; he was eliminated during Level 6, just 30 minutes before the end of the day's play. Frank Kassela, Event #5 runner-up, built a large chip stack and found himself among the leaders at more than one point throughout the day, but was busted just before the end of play for the night. While the amateur and semi-pro turnout was good, only a handful of women showed up to play in the Main Event. Mimi Tran and Kathy Liebert were the only professional women who played, and Kelli Mix and Karen Longfellow joined them to complete the ranks.

As there are in any poker tournament, several nasty beats were handed out that had the recipients wondering what they could have done different. Take Marc Aubin, for example - not only did the Event #8 5th-place finisher run into bigger hands every time he caught ace-king, but Amir Vahedi knocked him out when he called Aubin's preflop raise with five-three suited and caught a flush to crack Aubin's queens. Glynn Beebe, who cashed in several events over the last two weeks, was the recipient of a particularly nasty beat from John Juanda. Beebe was in the big blind when Juanda made a standard raise from the small blind; Beebe made a big raise, and Juanda moved him in for the rest of his chips. After Beebe called and showed ace-eight offsuit, Juanda showed seven-four offsuit. A four came on the flop, and the seven on the turn left Beebe drawing dead. "That's the best call I've made in my life," Beebe said, "and he turns over seven-four offsuit." Even though poker is a skill game, these examples just go to show that luck can rule on any given hand - especially when you're up against some of the best in the world.

At the end of the day only 71 players remained, just over one-third of the original field. John Juanda and Captain Tom Franklin found themselves ahead of the pack, both with stacks right around $85,000. Their nearest competition comes from a group of players who are sitting in the $45-55,000 range, including Cliff Pappas, Gregg Merkow, Chip Jett, Senthil Kumar, Ron Mitchell, and Scott Levy. Event #8 runner-up Michael Borovetz is still alive with just over $11,000, as is Event #3 3rd place finisher Dennis Perry. Some of the notable players who are no longer in contention include Erick Lindgren, Scotty Nguyen, Hoyt Corkins, Erik Seidel, Mark Seif, Tex Barch, Eskimo Clark, Mimi Tran, and Barry Greenstein. The action kicks off again at noon tomorrow, when the field will be narrowed to the last 27 players and play will break for the day. Check back here at Blind Bet Poker for a full recap of the day's happenings at Grand Casino Tunica.

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