American Ronald Lee – who finished third at the WSOPE main event last year – ended day one of the WSOP $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event as chip leader on 122,700 as the field was demolished from 765 to 88 following 10 tough levels of play.
Trying to stay on the heels of Lee in the quest for the top prize of $227,232 is Hungarian Balazs Botond, who has amassed 90,000 in chips to still sit over 30 big blinds behind the chip leader, while third-placed American Christian Harder is a distant third on 55,100.
As is always the case, some big name pros fell by the wayside, including Liv Boeree, Humberto Brenes, Antonio Esfandiari, Paul Magriel, David Sklansky and Layne Flack.
However, defending champ James Dempsey, from Brighton in England, is still in with a shot at WSOP glory after doubling up late in the day to 40,000 chips for 11th place.
Dempsey had his whole stack in pre-flop when holding 10s-10d against his opponent’s Ac-Ks. The board came 2c-3h-8d-Qs-10c to give Dempsey trip 10s at just the right time.
Other notable survivors include Alessio Isaia, John Dolan, John ‘Spikey’ Racener, Ali Eslami and Joe Sebok.
Top 10 chip leaders in the WSOP 2011 $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em event:
1. Ronald Lee (USA) – 122,700
2. Balazs Botond (Hungary) – 90,000
3. Christian Harder (USA) – 55,100
4. John Racener (USA) – 50,000
5. Andrew Cohen (USA) – 48,000
6. John Dolan (USA) – 46,000
7. Davidi Kitai (Belgium) – 45,000
8. Jason Newburger (USA) – 44,500
9. Ali Eslami (USA) – 44,500
10. Alessio Isaia (Italy) – 43,900