The field was as star-studded as they come, with Nick Schulman got hit with a super-cold deck in the early going.
Schulman was dealt an innocent pair of fives and managed to see a flop that contained the last two fives in the deck. Holding quads, Schulman had to be happy when his opponent went all-in on the river, but incredibly the player had rivered a straight flush.
The stunned Schulman was probably wishing there was a bad beat jackpot in tournament poker. "Takeover" couldn't recover and was eliminated several hands later.
In the Random Celebrity Playing Poker file we'd have to add Montel Williams for the Borgata Poker Classic. Williams had some success at the 2007 WSOP so he's not a complete stranger to poker. The talk-show host maintained a healthy stack through the day and we'll have to see if he can pull ahead tomorrow. Williams finished with $76,000 at the end of the day.
John Phan was playing with a sharp edge to his game in the early going and grabbed an early chip lead. His only obstacle was Jeff Madsen, who was a constant thorn in his side. In one of the more memorable hands Madsen and Phan saw a board of Q♠ 9♦ 8♦ 6♦ and Madsen fired out a $2,200 bet.
Phan made the call and the final card came 9♠. Both players checked and Madsen flipped over 8♠ 7♠ and his two pair was surprisingly good.
Jamie Gold came late and left early. After playing for little more than an hour Gold shoved all-in with A-K and Kathy "PokerKat" Liebert found KK in her pocket and made the call. No upsets came on the board and that was it for the golden one.
The Stunning One, Bill Edler, was another one of the early casualties. Edler shoved all-in with top pair, top kicker and the nut flush. His opponent called with flopped middle set and managed to avoid all of Edler's outs.
Barry Greenstein was eliminated in the middle of the day when he got all-in with A♠ T♠ on a T-5-4 board. His opponent tabled pocket fives for the dreaded set and Greenstein received no help from the turn or the river.
A pair of online titans were dominating play on Day 1. Noah "fourUhaters" Schwarts and Mario "Pwnasaurus" Silvestri were among the chip leaders throughout most of the day.
Mike Vela, the surprise winner of the WPT World Poker Finals in Foxwoods, returned to the poker scene in the best possible way - dominating the competition and grabbing his share of the chip lead. Vela finished with $122,000.
No one had a better day than Phan, who finished the day with $182,000 chips. Despite his having downed more than a few adult beverages throughout the day, Phan's aggressive play proved too much for his competition.
Right behind Phan were Justin Bonomo with $148,675, Joe Sebok with $147,700 and Vanessa Rousso with $148,350.
Join us tomorrow as we bring you more hot poker action from the Garden State.