WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Championship Day 1A Kicks-Off

WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

4 minutes

Last Updated: May 3, 2024

The waiting is over and action time has come, as Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship event kicked-off this morning at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida.

For two weeks, the famous Guitar Hotel hosted a number of preliminary events and cash games, with hundreds of local players and some visitors taking to the felt.

Today, however, the entire vibe changed, as the tournament room was flooded with familiar faces, as dozens of famous tournament champions made their way to Florida to fight for one of the most prestigious titles of the World Poker Tour season.

Among the 777 players who joined Day 1A of the Championship event before dinner break were the likes of Erik Seidel, Shaun Deeb, Chance Kornuth, Erick Lindgren, Faraz Jaka, Justin Young, Chris Moorman, and reigning WPT SHRPS champion Bin Weng.

Even as the opening day of the event goes into its final hours, the registration is still open, and dozens of players continue to register for the event, as the organizers seek to beat last year’s attendance which saw over 2,200 entries made in total.

As things stand, WPT will have no problem in shattering the $3,000,000 guarantee, and tomorrow’s numbers will be critical in deciding if the 2024 version of the event can beat last year’s prize pool.

WPT Montreal

WPT Attracts Poker’s Biggest Names

WPT has been one of the world’s most prestigious poker tours for many years, but its popularity has only grown even more over the last few years, partially thanks to a certain revival that live poker has been experiencing since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

WPT venues around the world have been seeing record numbers, and historically most popular stops such as Seminole Hard Rock Showdown are no exception.

While it was impossible to predict the exact attendance, and WPT put a “modest” guarantee of $3,000,000 on the event, it was very likely that number would be at least doubled.

Indeed, the early turnout for Day 1A demonstrated that this would be the case, as 205 players made it to the tournament area in time for the “shuffle up and deal” as early as 11 AM this morning.

Among those was the reigning WPT Player of the Year Bin Weng, who clearly took the title defense very seriously and made sure he was in the trenches to battle it out from the first minute.

Former WPT Player of the Year Erick Lindgren, a member of the poker’s “old guard” was also there, along with the likes of Ryan Reiss, Noah Shwartz, Scott Eskenazi, and numerous other WPT champions.

Indeed, for all the diehard poker fans, Day 1A of the SHRPS Championship brought out many of their heroes, although the likes of Phil Hellmuth are yet to be spotted making their way into the room.

PokerGO Tour Regulars Fly Out to Florida

It was just a couple of days ago that the US Poker Open was still playing out at the PokerGO studio in Las Vegas, and many of the world’s best poker players were busy grinding out the series.

Yet, that hardly stopped many of those players from showing their faces all the way in Florida today to play Day 1A of the WPT SHRPS Championship.

The likes of Jessee Lonis, Chance Kornuth, Erik Seidel, Eric Afriat, and Victoria Livschitz all made their appearances today, with the latter being the first notable casualty of Day 1A action.

Yet, many others who were seen grinding it out in Vegas over the past couple of weeks are still not in action, and we can expect to see quite a few of them make their way to Hard Rock tomorrow.

For those who did make it out to the WPT event today, one must marvel at the dedication and willingness to travel half way across the country to make sure they don’t miss out on the next opportunity to be crowned a WPT champion despite the fatigue they must be dealing with.

Michael Cole Leads the Field After Dinner Break

When action started today, all players who entered were given 50,000 tournament chips to work with, and quite a few players have managed to spin those 50,000 into quite a bit more.

None have done so as well as Michael Cole, the current chip leader who managed to accumulate 374,500 at the time of writing, good for over 370 big blinds at level 7.

He is followed closely by William Lamar-Boone (331,200), Kevin Chan (324,500), and Gary Gelman (317,800), all with more than 300 big blinds to work with and seemingly a paved road to Day 2 action.

Some of the most notable players who have managed to build up a stack during the early levels include Chance Kornuth (184,000), Chris Moorman (155,000), and Shannon Shorr (135,000), wll working with healthy stacks and a bag full of poker tricks.

With the blinds now escalating to serious levels, we are about to start seeing more bustouts and more players chipping up, as short-stacks begin to battle for their tournament life and big stacks look to grow and make sure they enter Day 2 with plenty of chips to work with.

Day 1 Action Continues Tomorrow

As the number of registered players for Day 1A continues to push towards a thousand, that number is guaranteed to swell far beyond that, as Day 1B should get even more entries.

Plenty of fresh faces are guaranteed to show up and take their shot at WPT glory tomorrow, along with many of those who bust out in the late levels today and look for redemption on the second bullet.

With all that in mind, tomorrow’s action could get even wilder and we could see Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown shatter last year’s prize pool and attract well over 2,200 players.

Stay tuned for more updates from Florida as SHRPS enters its deeper stages and works its way towards the televised final table to be played in Las Vegas in late May.

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