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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

The Round Table - My Legendary Days

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Day 1a and 1b at the Bike for the Legends of Poker

The Legends of Poker started Saturday August 25 with a relatively quiet start. The 219 starting players for day 1a trickled in and mostly started the day on time.

There were some changes for the Legends this year. First, the World Poker Tour and CardPlayer have joined forces and made an exclusivity contract for all WPT events. The Bicycle Casino set the stage for the first tournament under the new regulations.

The media force at the event was smaller and not as prevalent in the tournament room, mainly because they must be escorted by a WPT staff member to even gain access onto the floor. These changes will have a major effect on a lot of people, including live updates website PokerWire, which is all but shutting down after the merge.

Another change to this year's event is the buy-in. Instead of $5000 the casino has upped the ante and now requires you to pony up $10,000 big ones to participate in the event.

Day 1a started with a smaller than expected field and according to some Bike employees this was attributed to the increase in buy-in. There were only 27 starting tables most with only nine players.

Even with the smaller field there were still many notables in attendance. Day one brought out Mimi Tran, Justin Bonomo, Max Pescatori, Jeff Madsen, Hoyt Corkins, Lee Watkinson, Allen Cunningham, Tom Franklin, Dutch Boyd, as well as "Old School" director and 2005 Legends of Poker 4th place finisher Todd Philips.

Some early exits on day one included Kathy Liebert, Jared Hamby and Vanessa Rousso who headed over to the main casino floor to play cash. Stopping off at the ATM for some bills, Rousso told me live tournament poker has been rough lately but she's still cleaning up online and in the cash games.

Also having a short day at the bike was Max Pescatori. He mentioned to me that he just couldn't get away from his hand before he took off in his bright yellow hummer with matching yellow rims.

Burt Boutin and Raymond Davis spent their beginning of the day sharing a table and making bets on the horse race featured on one of the overhead TV's. Davis took an immeasurable lead on Boutin and commented that he may earn his buy-in back.

Later in the tournament things took a better turn for Boutin as he seemed to gain an edge back from Davis while betting props on the flop, turn and river cards. He made a comeback and ended the day up in props, but down in poker. Boutin received an ‘f bomb' penalty with a super short chip stack near the end of the day and after waiting it out for a couple minutes he eventually decided to just leave.

Day 1b featured a lot more commotion as well as more talkative players prior to the start of the tournament. 266 people signed up for 1b bringing the total number of entrants to 485.

Players huddled in groups chatting as they waited for the start of the event. Josh Arieh, Erick Lindgren, Mike Matusow, Danny Smith and a recently engaged Gavin Smith all stood together in a circle across from the registration table joking around with each other. They had plenty of time to keep chatting as Matusow, Lindgren, and Smith all shared a table at the start of the day.

A newly bald Kenna James was being followed around by a video camera and approached me to say hi and asked for a shout out to the troops in Iraq. He said he recently spent time overseas and went to a training camp. While there he voluntarily got his head shaved just as new recruits would.

The newest Main Event winner Jerry Yang was in the house along with an entourage of sorts. You could call him the man in black as he and another male companion were both dressed in dark garb from head to toe. Despite the wardrobe selection he was friendly as ever and asked if he could have a copy of the newest Poker Pro Magazine featuring himself on the cover.

Joe Sebok was at the Bike along with fifty Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Sebok made a $5000 prop bet with a listener from his radio show that the listener couldn't eat the fifty doughnuts in two hours. His competition never showed and the doughnuts ended up in the media room, better known as Yosh's Sushi Bar, taunting my fellow reporters.

As players were finding their seats there was some confusion as Surinder Sunar was assigned the same seat as Casey Kastle. Sunar ended up ‘surrendering' his seat and found a new home at the same table as Josh Arieh.

Phil Hellmuth made his usual late entrance ended up on the rail shortly after from a penalty for swearing. After taking his seat back at the table he couldn't get anything going and was busted shortly after when a turned set beat his two pair.

This tournament should turn out to be a good one with possibly a new poker millionaire on the scene. First prize is a whopping $1.6 million as well as a seat into the $25,000 WPT Championship and a seat into next year's Legends event.

Will Jerry Yang prove he isn't a one hit wonder? Can Kevin O'Donnell make the Legends final table for the third year in a row? Watch and find out what happens when the 2007 Legends of Poker airs on the Game Show Network, WPT's new television home.

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