WPT World Championship Day 1A Attracts Superstars: Keating, Hansen, and Seidel Among the Runners

wpt world championship day 1a

4 minutes

Last Updated: January 25, 2024

The WPT World Championship Festival at the Wynn has kicked off in style, with WPT Prime Championship event blowing its $5 million guaranteed prize pool out of the water and setting the tone for what is yet to come.

The $40 million guaranteed WPT World Championship event kicked off yesterday with a total of 609 entries made, and 202 of those surviving the day and bagging a stack for Day 2 action.

Poker veteran Jeff Hakim finished the day top of the chip counts with 998,000 in chips from a starting stack of 100,000, while big-name players like Alan Keating, Patrick Leonard, and Darren Elias all bagged significant stacks of Day 2 themselves.

With just over 600 players showing up for Day 1A, the $40,000,000 guarantee may seem like a long way to go, but we can expect the numbers to quickly ramp up as fewer and fewer Day 1 flights remain, and more poker superstars make their way down to the Wynn to play the biggest guaranteed poker tournament of all time.

WPT Voyage

Erik Seidel, Gus Hansen, and Alan Keating Headline Day 1A Action

Day 1A action at WPT World Championship started out in a typically slow fashion, with players gradually filling out the Wynn Ballroom and few big names turning out for the event.

Yet, it didn’t take too long before the chips were flying around, first eliminations were made and quite a few recognizable players made their way into the tournament area.

Among those who showed up to play during the first hour were the likes of Shannon Shorr, John Monnette, and Ben Lamb, to name just a few of whose presence made their tablemates uncomfortable.

As the day went by, even more big names, such as the four-time WPT champion Darren Elias, and current WPT points leaderboard leader Bin Weng joined the action, heating up the atmosphere even more.

Perhaps the most notable name in Day 1A was Erik Seidel, who flew into Las Vegas fresh off his 10th bracelet win at WSOP Paradise, and jumped straight into the action chasing after the second WPT title of his career.

wpt world championship kicks off

Images courtesy of WPT.com

Yet, for all his success and fame in poker, not even Seidel was able to beat Alan Keating in the eyes of the press, as the mysterious high roller drew all the attention when he walked over to his table.

By the end of the day, Mr. Keating was sitting on one of the biggest stacks in the room, as he bagged 957,000, just 40,000 fewer than the Day 1A chip leader Jeff Hakim.

A recent addition to the WPT Ambassadors team, poker legend Gus Hansen also showed up for Day 1A and bagged a solid stack of 558,000 chips at the end of the day, reminding everyone in the field of his tournament poker prowess that originally put him on the map.

These big names were only a few of the 202 players who made it through Day 1A and who will continue their journey towards the final table on Saturday, when all Day 1 survivors will reconvene for what will be one of the biggest Day 2s for a $10k event this year.

Alan Keating Tries Tournament Poker

While he is not a total stranger to tournament poker, Alan Keating was made famous in the poker circles for his cash game exploits and his willingness to play anyone for any stakes in the cash game streets.

For many poker fans, it was a bit of a surprise to see Keating show up to play the WPT World Championship on Day 1A, as the stakes in tournaments generally don’t get the blood flowing for the prominent high roller.

Speaking during one of the late breaks of the day, Keating said that he entered the Championship to have some fun with his friends, as a number of them have set up a last-longer side bet and will be enjoying spending some time together during the event.

Speaking of his experience in the event, Alan emphasized that tournament poker is forcing him to play fewer hands than he is used to, which makes him feel like a bit of a phony, but that he’s been enjoying reverse-engineering the way others at his table are playing.

Whatever he was doing strategy-wise, it has clearly been working, as Keating ended the day as one of the chip leaders and will be a serious contender for a deep run as his aggressive playing style continues to pay dividends.

Phil Hellmuth Arrives at the Wynn

Phil Hellmuth is one of the biggest names in the poker world, and just like Seidel, he too made his way from Bahamas and straight to the Wynn, where he has been spotted getting ready for action.

Phil has only just arrived in Vegas and he has already been spotted in the hallways, doing his own private interviews with the likes of Gus Hansen and spreading #Positivity throughout the venue.

The most decorated tournament poker player of all time will be jumping into the WPT World Championship shortly, as he chases after his the first WPT title of his illustrious career.

As Phil Hellmuth joins a stacked field made up of poker legends and thousands of pros and recreational players alike, the Championship event is only going to become more competitive and exciting with every passing day.

Stay tuned for more updates from the WPT World Championship as our live coverage continues down to the final table and tracks every exciting moment of the event.

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