Arunas Sapitavicius leads a stacked field after Day 1a of the WPT Seminole Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open

Arunas Sapitavicius

On the first day of the tournament there was a top-class field of participants $5,300 Main Event At the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock ‘n’ Roll Open And Arunas Sapitavicius is the chip leader after the first ten game levels.

The first of two inaugural flights attracted 655 participants, making it more than two-thirds of the way there $3,000,000 Guarantee. After the dust settled and the chips were in, 237 players had a ticket to Day 2. The surviving players will join those from Day 1b here on Sunday Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.

The Lithuanian chip leader is the only player with over half a million chips after Day 1a. He follows in second Tommy Tran and in the third of Ryan Chamas. Luciano Nardi and Latvia Alexander Zenkov round out the top 5.

WPT Seminole RRPO Top Ten Day 1a Chip Counts

rank player City State/Country Chip count
1 Arunas Sapitavicius Vilnius Lithuania 575,000
2 Tommy Tran Las Vegas NV 479,000
3 Ryan Chamas Montreal QC 419,000
4 Luciano Nardi Delray Beach FL 400,000
5 Alexander Zenkov Riga Latvia 350,000
6 Matthew Martin Orlando FL 332,000
7 Ryan Gianquitti Boca Raton FL 331,000
8th Nitis Udornpim Elkridge M.D 311,000
9 David Laufer Brooklyn new York 305,000
10 Lucian Camargo Silveira Gardena APPROX 300,500

Great turnout for the Champions Club

The Champions Club turned out in large numbers, including early leaderboard climbers Nitis Udornpim And Brian Altman. Udornpim added his name Mike Sexton Champions Cup with a win at WPT Maryland in 2019, while Altman is a three-time champion – most recently at WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa in June 2021.

Other former champions who took part in Day 1a included Gediminas Uselis, Darren Elias, Matthew Wantman, Chance Kornuth, Darryll Fish, Eric Afriat, Harrison Gimbel, Noah Schwartz, Ryan Riess, Aaron Mermelstein, Asher Conniff, Craig Varnell, Jon BorensteinAnd Jonathan Jaffeas well as former WPT Player of the Year Anthony Zinno, Chad Eveslage, Joe Serockand the glowing one Am Weng.

Am Weng
Am Weng

Weng finished with 214,500 points and will return on day two with a chance to add more accolades to an already outstanding year. Earlier this year, he won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in a stretch that included back-to-back final tables at Hard Rock and WPT Choctaw. A day after winning the SHRPS final table at Luxor in May, Weng placed fourth at Choctaw, the same tournament where he finished ninth in 2022. Later that summer he also won the WPT Everyone for One Drop for $2,227,054 and ran a distant 22nd in the final WPT Main Event in Jacksonville.

Another Day 1a runner with his name in the Champions Cup was Fred Normand, winner of the WPT bestbet scramble last week. The winnings of $351,650 were the highest of Normand’s life and placed him in fifth place $3,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the 2023 WSOP is his only other six-figure win. The Canadian player is nearing $1 million in lifetime winnings. according to The Hendon Moband he’ll come back for Day 2 with a whopping 281,000 and a chance to be the first back-to-back winner since Marvin Rettenmaier in seasons 10 and 11.

Brian Altman
Three-time WPT champion Brian Altman

Hands of the day

WPT champions Weng and Altman were both on their way up the leaderboard in the latter stages of the day, both securing important pots as their pocket kings overcame the odds to win.

Altman got involved in a pot where he raised to 21,000 in Level 8 with the blinds at 600/1,200/1,200 and a caller came along to see a flop of K26. Altman continued with 10,000 and that 3 fell on the turn when his opponent called. Altman bet another 16,000 on a smooth call and a 9 on the river. Altman pushed the river and his opponent called with pocket aces, but he showed the kings that they could win a big pot and cross the 200,000 mark in chips.

Similarly, in Level 9, Weng called an opposing player’s shove and revealed pocket kings while his opponent showed an ace-ten of the same suit. The flop was empty, but the converted ace put his opponent in the lead until Weng hit a king on the river to take the pot and continue his usual climb up the rankings.

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What’s next?

Day 1b begins at 11:00 a.m. local time and players will complete another 10 levels before the opening fields converge for Day 2 on Sunday. Cards for Day 2 will be sent out on Sunday at 12:00 and the tournament will continue until day 5 on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m

Be sure to keep it PokerNews Team for the biggest stories from the WPT Seminole Hard Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open here in Hollywood, Florida.

*Images courtesy of SHRP/WPT

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Matt Hansen

Live Reporting Manager

PokerNews Live Reporting Executive based in Las Vegas, originally from Chicago, IL


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