Breaking Down the Action:
  • It’s a Numbers Game
  • Day 2 Action Sees Dunst Drama
  • Big Names Hit the Rail as Play Lasts Longer

It may only be the first pipette of poker players into the petri dish, but if the World Poker Tour’s latest event attendance is anything go by, live poker in an experiment heading for success.

Many observers have commented that after the end of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the return of live poker could see something of a second boom in the industry. Using the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown as a guide, that could very well be the case, because it broke records that have stood for years.

It’s a Numbers Game

After Day 1a and Day 1b, the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown had an overall attendance of 2,481. That is the largest field in a WPT Main Tour destination online or live in the history of the brand. This staggering number – mid-COVID pandemic – smashed the previous record set in the SHRPS of 2014, which garnered 1,795 total entries.

With a packed tournament room joined by another next door that was fit to bursting too, players such as former WPT Main Event winner Dylan Linde (207,500), Shannon Shorr (202,000), Faraz Jaka (129,500), Andy Frankenberger (120,000), Shankar Pillai (111,500), Brian Altman (109,500), partypoker’s Kristen Bicknell (88,000), and NFL Super Bowl star Richard Seymour (32,500) all found a bag to pile their chips into at the end of Day 1.

At that point, Brian Goble was the chip leader, with over half a million chips – the equivalent to over 200 big blinds. That, however, was Day 1, and while it’s nice to lead at that stage, it means nothing on its own merit.

Day 2 Action Sees Dunst Drama

Day 2 began with 847 players in seats, still battling to reach the money, let alone the latter stages of a mammoth Main Event. With a total prizepool of just under $8 million, just 106 players would have chips by the day’s end and among them, the chip leader by the name of Selim Oulmakki had 2.93 million chips.

Oulmakki by no means had it all their own way, however, with some real sharks in the water. Tim Reilly (2.33 million), Josh Kay (2.315 million), Frank Funaro (2.305 million), Dominique Mosley (2.09 million), and Viet Vo (2.06 million) will all be eying the $1,261,095 top prize, with WPT Mike Sexton trophy winners and therefore Champions Club members Viny Lima (1.14 million), Donald Maloney (465,000), Sam Panzica (440,000) and Tony Dunst (420,000) all refusing to give up on the shot of glory.

That will especially apply to the well-known WPT presenter Dunst, who would love to win his second WPT Main Event title and first since taking over from the late, great Mike Sexton as the on-screen presenting partner of Vince Van Patten. Dunst applied some late pressure to battle his way back into contention.

Big Names Hit the Rail as Play Lasts Longer

Just 331 players made the money places and will post a profit on their investment of $3,500. Some of the players to miss out on Day 3 but counting their luckies after returning with extra funds included Ravi Raghavan (294th for $6,195), Erkut Yilmaz (257th for $6,355), Joey Weissman (253rd for $6,510), Jared Jaffee (213th for $6,830), Dylan Wilkerson (180th for $7,225), Scott Stewart (174th for $7,465), Nate Silver (161st for $7,465), John Racener (149th for $7,940) and Dylan Linde (144th place for $8,180).

Day 3 kicks off on Monday evening at 12 noon Eastern Time, so with just 106 players still in the hunt to have their name inscribed on the world-famous WPT Main Event trophy, the levels have been lengthened to 90 minutes, with five levels expected to reduce the field from the opening hopefuls to just a handful of tables.

Day 4 will then see those players reduced to the six-handed final table that is the hallmark of the World Poker Tour.

WPT Seminole Hard Poker Showdown Top 10 Chipcounts After Day 2:

Position Player Chips
1st Selim Oulmekki 2,930,000
2nd Timothy Reilly 2,330,000
3rd Luis Vazquez 2,320,000
4th Josh Kay 2,315,000
5th Frank Funaro 2,305,000
6th Albert Calderon 2,305,000
7th Daniel Blum 2,230,000
8th Dominique Blum 2,090,000
9th Viet Vo 2,065,000
10th Toby Boas 1,855,000

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Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker for many years, travelling the world to report live from such poker events as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. As well as reporting live from the felt, Paul was Editor of BLUFF Europe magazine and has written for major poker brands including PokerStars, 888poker and partypoker where he was Head of Media. Paul has interviewed many of the world’s greatest poker players, such as Sam Trickett, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, the current all-time money list leader.

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