The World Poker Tour is back in action for 2009 and PokerListings.com is on location in the Dirty South as the Southern Poker Championship gets under way from the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Miss.
This four-day, $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em main event kicked off at noon Wednesday in the Beau's massive gaming facility on the Gulf Coast.
Although technically a new event for Jonathan Little, Nick Schulman, as well as erstwhile November Niner Scott Montgomery, EPT4 Copenhagen champ Tim Vance and controversial WSOP Main Event darling Tiffany Michelle.
With all of those big names, it was Curt Kohlberg who jumped out to the early lead, padding his stack with the remains of a number of unfortunate souls in the tournament's first few levels.
Among his victims were Saul and Shaun Deeb, the latter the victim of a hellacious beat that saw Kohlberg run a wild bluff with 5♣ 3♣ against Deeb's pocket nines, only to river a straight to send the Waffle Crusher back to the iron. Kohlberg would cool off, however, and ended the day 26th in chips.
Also making waves on Day 1 was Tiffany "Hot Chips" Michelle, who spent the day in position on not only Lindgren but Cantu and Hoyt Corkins besides. Michelle would take Corkins for a number of reasonable pots throughout the day, only to throw all of her progress to the wind in a disastrous hand against Cantu as the day neared its end.
In the hand, Cantu raised on the button and Michelle defended her big blind with a reraise. Undaunted, Cantu four-bet and Michelle opted simply to flat-call and then shove the flop, which came 7♣ 7♦ 5♦. Cantu insta-called for his tournament life, turning up 7♥ 6♦ for trips, while Michelle was exposed as a fraud with K-J offsuit.
The board bricked out and Cantu doubled, all but crippling Michelle, who spent the last of the level loudly criticizing Cantu's decision-making process while the WPT Season 6 Bay 101 champ stacked his nearly $90k in loot.
That $90k wouldn't be near enough to get him to the top of the chip leaderboard, however. That lofty plateau is occupied by one Esther Taylor, whose $139,475 puts her just a smidge above Jacquelyn Scott's $138,800. Among the rest of the chip leaders with 175 players remaining are Hevad Khan, Bryan Devonshire and Jamie "Chronic420" Rosen.
Action is slated to resume at noon Central Time from the Beau and play down from 175 to the money, i.e. 27. That means it's gonna be a long one. Grooms suggested an over/under of 3:30 a.m. would be reasonable, but despite the prospects of a grueling day a couple folks didn't want to play more than five levels on Wednesday. They'll be punished for it on Thursday.