Flowers, Thomas Top Pack at WPT Five Diamond Day 1

Russell Thomas
Russell Thomas is building on a big year at the WSOP.

Former WPT champion Randal Flowers and 2012 Octo-Niner Russell Thomas are second and third after Day 1 at the WPT Bellagio Five Diamond Poker Classic.

The pair of decorated pros both trail chip leader Jeremy Kottler who bagged 134,975 by day’s end.

Boasting a $10,000 buy-in and unlimited re-entries for the first eight levels this event has already recorded 374 buy-ins.

The re-entry period will remain open until approximately 5pm on Day 2 and expectations are optimistic to outdo last year’s field of 413.

Some, like Curt Kohlberg, have already bought in three times but plenty of poker players were able to make it work with their first bullet.

The leaderboard is littered with former WPT winners. Just a few spots behind Flowers, who won the Bellagio’s Festa al Lago in 2010, is Shawn Cunix who took down WPT Jacksonville earlier this year.

Leading all-time money winner Antonio Esfandiari cracked the top 15. He’s won two WPT main events, including this tournament in 2010.

Allen Carter, Gavin Smith, Cornel Cimpan, Andy Frankenberger and Nick Shulman are just a few of the other former champs that made it through.

Daniel Negreanu
Some fear that unlimited re-entries give players like Daniel Negreanu an unfair advantage.

Here are the top ten chip counts heading into Day 2:

1. Jeremy Kottler – 134,975
2. Randal Flowers – 119,400
3. Russell Thomas – 108,000
4. Gheorghe Gradinaru – 107,425
5. Shawn Cunix – 102,000
6. Dana Kellstrom – 99,200
7. Jeff Yarchever – 98,500
8. Alex Phahurat – 97,325
9. Tom Marchese – 84,425
10. Ty Reiman – 79,000

Unlimited Re-Entry Splits Opinion, Stacks Field

Poker players are on two sides of the fence over Bellagio’s decision to grant players unlimited $10,000 re-entries for the first eight levels of this event.

While many argue that big buy-in events need all the help they can get these days, others are warning that unlimited re-entries will give top players an insurmountable advantage.

The Five-Diamond has always been an elite event so it’s not surprising to see the player list packed with big names.

The forum community at Two Plus Two has debated the issue extensively. Join that conversation here.

Pros that were eliminated and could afford at least one more $10,000 buy-in include Daniel Negreanu, Kyle Julius, Amit Makhija and David “Doc” Sands.

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