The 2013 World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open kicked off Friday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in sunny Florida. The first of two Day 1 flights began with 153 players forking over the $3,500 buy-in, and at the end of the day only 63 survived. Poker pro Raj Vohra led the way with 262,700 in chips, and he was joined in top 10 by former WPT champions Matt Giannetti, Jonathan Roy, and Ravi Raghavan.
WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open Day 1a Top 10 (Unofficial)
Vohra, a former tennis pro who is known for his merciless aggression at the poker table, spent much of Day 1a atop the leaderboard. The Florida native has more than $650,000 in live tournament cashes along with another $2 million in online winnings, but he's still looking for his breakthrough score on the tournament circuit. His 15th-place finish in this event last year was his best ever on the World Poker Tour, and he's well on his way to bettering that result this time around.
Giannetti, the former WSOP November Niner who won WPT Malta in 2011, played one of the "weirdest hands" he's ever played late on Day 1a, but it resulted in a huge jump up the leaderboard. According to the WPT Live Updates team, two players limped in for 800 and another player raised from late position. Giannetti then put in a three-bet from the button, which forced folds from the two limpers, but the original raiser then four-bet to 8,000. Giannetti called.
The flop rolled out and Giannetti called a bet of 5,000. On the turn, the late position player slowed down with a check, and then called Giannetti's bet of 8,000. The river was the and once again the action was checked to Giannetti. He put in a bet worth 11,000, but his opponent then check-raised all-in for 34,700. Giannetti went into the tank for a few minutes before deciding to call. His opponent tabled for a pair of sixes, and Giannetti turned over for a pair of kings. The 98,000-chip pot increased Giannetti's stack to 126,000, and he finished the day with 150,600.
Other former WPT champs who advanced to Day 2 were Tommy Vedes, Steve Brecher, Matt Waxman, Jonathan Little, Dwyte Pilgrim, and Noah Schwartz. Vedes already has a WPT title at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino; he won the 2012 Seminole Hard Rock Showdown for $779,520.
Among the players who didn't advance to Day 2 on Friday were Guillaume Darcourt, Harrison Gimbel, Allen Kessler, Adam Levy, Viktor Ramdin, Darryll Fish, and reigning WPT Player of the Year Joe Serock. They'll each have a chance to re-enter the tournament on Day 1b.
The 63 players who survived Day 1a will take Saturday off while the Day 1b field hits the felt. Play will commence at Noon ET and the day will come to a close after 10 levels are in the books. Re-entries will be available until the end of Level 4. Stay tuned to PokerNews for daily recaps from the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida.