The 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit continued on Saturday with Day 1b of the Hammond Main Event. On Friday, the Horseshoe Hammond housed a record 912 entrants for Day 1a, surpassing the 2010 Main Event’s field of 872 players. That meant the 703 Day-1b entrants were just icing on the cake, making the total field 1,615 and creating a $2,349,825 prize pool, $393,584 of which is reserved for first place. The man who finished the day with the best chance of capturing that prize was Mike Scarborough, who bagged up 324,500.
Scarborough is no stranger to poker and actually made a televised final table at the 2011 World Poker Tour Hollywood Poker Open in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Not only that, he went on to win the tournament for $273,644 after defeating a final table that included Ali Eslami, Tom Marchese, William Reynolds, and Erik Seidel. For the victory, Scarborough defeated Seidel in heads-up play.
Unfortunately, not everyone had as good a day as Scarborough. Day 1b was filled with numerous re-entries, but many found their luck hadn’t changed since Day 1a. Some players who played both flights and failed to survive include Allen Kessler, Kathy Liebert, Chris Tryba, Micah Raskin, Kyle Cartwright, Steve Verrett, Tim Vance, and last year’s winner, Kurt Jewell.
One man who did have a good day was former online pro Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon, who was eliminated on Day 1a on just the third hand, after his pocket aces were cracked by pocket kings. Re-entering the event proved a wise decision because Kroon ended up finishing with an average stack of 108,000.
Much of that stack came late in the evening when a player in middle position opened for 3,300 only to have Khang Nguyen move all-in for 33,000. Action folded around to Kroon in the big blind and he moved all-in after squeezing out his cards. The original raiser quickly got out of the way and the cards were turned up:
"All red," Kroon commanded the dealer, who obliged with a flop; however, it did give Nguyen a gut-shot straight draw to a jack. The turn was a blank as far as Nguyen was concerned, and so was the river. Kroon eliminated his opponent and chipped up to around 184,000 in the process, obviously losing a bit before night’s end.
Other notables who survived the Day 1b minefield and will return on Sunday include “Captain” Tom Franklin (41,000), Eddie Blumenthal (79,500), Eric Bair (189,500), Jeff Fielder (216,500), Nadya Magnus (91,000), and Jacob Bazley (255,000).
Those players will join Paul Bianchi, who ended Day 1a as the chip leader with a staggering 358,000; as well as, notables from Day 1a like Eric Crain, Dwyte Pilgrim, Chad Brown, Josh Brikis, Mohsin Charania and Kenny Nguyen.
The 158 Day 1b survivors will join the 184 players Day 1a survivors on Sunday at 1400 CDT (1900 GMT) as the final 342 work their way past the money bubble and toward the final table.
You can follow all the action from Hammond as our Live Reporting Team brings you all the hands, action, and eliminations on the way to crowning the latest WSOP Circuit Main Event champion.