Day 1b of the World Poker Tour Malta Main Event has drawn to a close after eight action-packed 60-minute levels were completed inside the vast Casino at Portomaso. A number of notables took to the felt during the course of Day 1b, but Jackson Genovesi had out-chipped everyone by the end of the night. In fact, he has more chips than anyone still in the tournament.
Genovesi didn't have the easiest of tables when Day 1b began because Table 3 was home to Steve van Zadelhoff, World Series of Poker bracelet winner Ronnie Bardah, Fabrice Soulier, and PartyPoker Pro Kara Scott. Genovesi didn't let the fact he was surrounded by stars faze him, though. If anything, quite the opposite was true.
During the fifth level of play, with blinds at 150/300/25, there was a raise to 700 and four callers before Scott stuck in a raise of her own and made it 2,300 to play from the small blind. Both Bardah and Genovesi made the call, and the dealer fanned out the flop. Scott continued her aggression and led out for 5,000 only to see Bardah raise to 18,000. Genovesi then flat-called Bardah's raise, Scott also called, and action was three-handed to the turn.
"What is going on in this hand?" shouted Bardah as he looked up to the heavens, "You just flat 18k?" he motioned to Genovesi, "I have been in some tough spots before, but this is one of the toughest…I have put over 20,000 of my chips into this pot and I have to fold…I have outs too," said Bardah before finally folding his hand. Genovesi then pretended to fold and the whole table burst into raptures and laughter at the reaction on Bardah's face. Genovesi pulled his cards back and called.
Scott showed and needed a queen or a seven to survive because Genovesi held for the nut flush. The was not one of Scott's outs and she headed to the sidelines while Genovesi became the new chip leader with 110,000 chips and from that moment, the young Italian never looked back.
For Bardah's take on the hand, check out this video.
As mentioned, among the 105 entries were some of poker's most familiar names and some of those who made it through with chip stacks intact included Giovanni Rizzo (95,800), Alessio Isaia (77,500), Erik Cajelais (74,800), Ilan Boujenah (62,100), Jason Mercier (56,600) and Fabrice Soulier (49,500). Vanessa Selbst (29,500), Tony G (17,600), Andrew Badecker (15,700), Marvin Rettenmaier (13,375) and Anton Wigg (12,700) also made it through but will have a little more work to do when play restarts.
Play resumes at 1300 CET (0400 PDT), and we are told the plan is to play between five and six 90-minute levels, depending on how quickly the field thins early on. The PokerNews Live Reporting team will be there to bring you all of the action as it unfolds.
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