Berkey Leads after Day 1a at Legends of Poker

The Legends Booty

Tour regular and online grinder Matt Berkey leads the pack after Day 1a of the WPT’s Legends of Poker event at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.

As the kick off event for Season X on the World Poker Tour, anticipation was high for Legends and that showed in the attendance with a healthy field of 322 runners paying the $3,500+$200 buy-in.

That field was whittled down to 148 to end the day, but even the busted players can return tomorrow thanks to a new re-buy format that opens registration back up on Day 1b. Players also had the option of forfeiting their Day 1a stacks and starting fresh tomorrow.

Of the players who won’t need to re-buy, Berkey is at the head of the pack.

He amassed a stack of 248,500 to end the day, beefing it up substantially in just six pots at a new table near the end of the last level according to his video interview with Jess Welman, the new WPT hostess.

Former November Niner Soi Nguyen sits in second with 215,200. Cody Slaubaugh, Ryan Welch and Will Failla are among the other well-known pros hovering around the top of the leaderboard.

Also holding on to their Day 1a stacks were Dan O’Brien, Maria Ho, Dwyte Pilgrim, Greg Mueller, Jeff Madsen, Shannon Shorr and Allen Cunningham.

Busting on Day 1 were Kathy Liebert, Jonathan Little, Jennifer Tilly, Phil Laak, Matt Marafioti, Isaac Baron, Antonio Esfandiari and Gavin Griffin, although they will all have the chance to try again today.

Reigning Legends of Poker champ Andy Frankenberger will also need to re-buy after busting in the last level of the day.

The new re-buy format is just one of a few changes that will be rolled out on the WPT this year.

Among the others announced in a press conference yesterday were new stops in Jacksonville, Florida and at the Parx Casino in Philadelphia. Stops in Paris and Italy are also on the 2012 schedule.

Ali Nejad will join Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten, Kimberley Lansing and Tony Dunst on the reporting team and two new Royal Flush girls were introduced.

For the first time ever, the WPT will also be live streaming final tables on a one-hour delay with hole cards, chip counts and analytics. Dunst will be doing live commentary.

Day 1b of the 2011 Legends of Poker event starts up at 1 p.m. PT at the Bike.

Check out the live streaming at the WPT live update team here.

Top Ten Chip Counts:

1. Matt Berkey – 248,500
2. Soi Nguyen – 215,200
3. Cody Slaubaugh – 188,200
4. Tyler Cornell – 179,200
5. Ryan Welch – 157,500
6. Will Failla – 148,300
7. Keith Kozar – 138,800
8. Ken Aldridge – 138,700
9. Dan O’Brien – 136,000
10. Hafiz Khan – 130,100

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