The fledgling tournament's first steps would not be its easiest, as organizers decided to cancel Day 1a due to a lack of patronage, and by the second level of Day 1b (now simply Day 1) were faced with something of a dilemma: total support for the tournament numbered under 120 players at the start of play, meaning barring any major influx of new money, the tournament as a whole would not be able to muster a $1 million prize pool, let alone pay out a first-place prize of that figure.
Officials from the Victor Ramdin, Chad Brown, Sean McCabe, Tom Franklin, Michael Mizrachi, Mark Seif, Nenad Medic and Eugene Todd bro, while batting for the amateur side were The Chicago Kid, Al Cutler and, well, Steve Buckner, that cigar-chomping darling of the Bellagio Cup III.
Buckner would, ironically, jump out to an early chip lead, while many of his professional counterparts would find their fortunes headed in the opposite direction. Victor Ramdin was one of the first eliminated, the victim of a cooler hand that saw him get all-in with 10-8 on a 9-8-8-10-2 board and run into an opponent with pocket nines. Boat-over-boat was the story, murder was the case, and Sweet Victor was headed poolside.
Other early eliminations would include Jennifer Tilly, Jonathan Little, Antonio Esfandiari and J.J. Liu, before "Captain" Tom Franklin was crunched when Erik Cajelais flopped the beautiful Quaaaaaaaaaads!!1 with deuces versus Franklin's pocket queens. Unfortunately, Cajelais neither slow-rolled the Captain, nor could he be persuaded to exalt excessively in his victory, but PokerListings.com imagined both of those things and they were wonderful, take our word.
Following the Captain to the rail were David Williams, Chad Brown, Dan Alspach, Lee Markholt and Phil Laak. By the time the Unabomber retired to join his sweet baboo by the pool the players had decided upon the payout structure and the third of a planned four 90-minute levels had come to a close.
The final level of a very fast day saw Joe Sebok serve David Singer with his walking papers, turning a queen with A-Q against the Dragonfly's A-K. J.C. Tran would follow soon after, the victim of Johan Storakers' Cloven-Hoofed Set in a particularly cruel beat that saw Tran get all-in with A-10 pre-flop and the board seem to favor him, coming A-K-10-4. The river, however, brought that devilish six and Tran was transmogrified from player to railbird in the turn of a card.
Kristy Gazes would hit the bricks midway through the level and would be followed by Gene Todd bro (word to LA Mike), who got all-in with K-10 off and fell to an opponent with A-10 off.
The day would end about a half hour after Todd's bustification, with the clocks chiming seven and 85 players still remaining. Chip leader is Mark Seif with $91,225 (could be the super-account), with Lou White close behind at $90,050 and Maros Lechman a little farther with $88,000. Perry Friedman, Erik Cajelais, Michael Mizrachi, Johan Storakers and Evelyn Ng round out the top ten.
Action will resume tomorrow at 2 p.m. EDT, meaning PokerListings.com will have plenty of time to hit the beach and work on the tan before returning to the sweltering confines of the restaurant at Club Med to provide you with the most inclusive exclusive live updates you ever did read, as well as our trademark scintillating photography and hilarious and oft-ridiculous puns and one-liners. We'll be crushing it tomorrow, and that's a guarantee*.
*Not real guarantees. Except the one about us crushing it tomorrow. That one's real. So real.