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Numbers Up, JC Tran Leads at WPT Legends
Attendance is up 63 percent over last year at the WPT Legends of Poker main event and tournament veteran JC Tran is in the lead headed into Day 2.
Playing Day 1B at the at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California Tran overtook Day 1a chip leader Matt Berkey and will head into Day 2 with 265,000.
Tran is a former WPT champion, WSOP bracelet winner and has earned more than $8 million in live poker tournaments since his career began in 2003.
Tran leads a stacked leaderboard that includes 2010 November Niner Soi Nguyen, tournament circuit fixture Dan Heimiller and young gun Cody Slaubaugh.
All told 757 entries were recorded over the last two days, thanks in large part to the new re-entry format which allows players who busted on Day 1a to buy in again for the second Day 1 heat.
According to the WPT over 60 percent of the Day 1a field did exactly that.
With those extra buy-ins, this year’s numbers demolish the 462 that played this event one year ago.
The inflated attendance can also be attributed to the post-Black Friday climate in the US in which former online poker players are turning out in droves to play poker live.
In total $2.57 million will be paid out to the top 81 players. First place will be taking home $758,085.
Andy Frankenberger pocketed $750,000 when he won this tournament in 2010 but that year the buy-in was $5,000. It was lowered to $3,700 in 2011.
Frankenberger returned to defend his title but failed to make it through to Day 2.
340 players will return to the felt at the Bike today to continue their march to the money.
Players of note still alive with above average stacks include Will Failla, Owen Crowe, Isaac Baron, David Peters, Jeff Madsen, Greg Mueller, Maria Ho, Allen Kessler and Dwyte Pilgrim.
Here are the top ten chip counts as Day 2 draws near:
- 1. JC Tran 265,000
- 2. Matt Berkey 248,500
- 3. Soi Nguyen 215,200
- 4. Dan Heimiller 201,000
- 5. Cody Slaubaugh 188,200
- 6. Tyler Cornell 179,200
- 7. Gary Miles 177,300
- 8. Ken Lawson 174,100
- 9. Michael Woo 167,000
- 10. Ryan Welch 157,500