WPT Southern Championship Draws Small But Tough Field

Gavin Smith
Gavin Smith is among the leaders after Day 1 at the WPT Southern Poker Championship.

The World Poker Tour Southern Poker Championship began in Biloxi, Mississippi with a rather small, but tough field Sunday.

Officially 214 players dropped the $9,700+$300 buy-in creating a $1,986,100 prize pool that will pay the top 27.

First place is worth $584,481 while a minimum cash will net players $18,593.

Drawing easily the smallest WPT field so far this season, the dip in numbers can be attributed to big-time tournaments simultaneously running in Melbourne, Australia at the Aussie Millions, Deuaville, France on the European Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker Circuit event in Choctaw, Oklahoma.

However, the Day 1 field in Biloxi was concentrated with big name pros featuring no less than 15 WPT champions, including Nick Schulman, Scotty Nguyen, Hoyt Corkins and a rare appearance by Bill Edler.

Robert Keller took the overnight lead with 144 players surviving and another former WPT champion, Gavin Smith, closely in tow.

November Niner Joseph Cheong ended with a top-five chip stack, while fellow 2010 WSOP Main Event finalist John Dolan, Andrew Lichtenberger, Steve Sung and former WPT Player of the Year Jonathan Little are among the stacked stars with a huge list of well known pros also still in contention.

The event runs through Jan. 27 in Biloxi.

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