556 top pros, internet qualifiers, vacationers looking for poker stardom and former baseball superstars, landed around more than 60 poker tables at the Atlantis Resort, for the 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, all vying for their shot at the European Poker Tour victory and the grand prize. More than 20 members of Team PokerStars, including Dario Minieri, Luca Pagano, Tuan Lam, Bertran ‘ElkY’Grospellier and 2003World Champion Chris Moneymaker were in the field on Day 1a, with over 600 runners projected to join the tournament on Day 1b.
2006 PCA champion Steve-Paul Ambrose finished Day 1a second in chips to internet qualifier Ryan Collett, while Betrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier and Eric ‘Rizen’ Lynch finished the day strong with top-ten chip stacks. Grospellier, long renowned as one of the top internet poker players, spent much of 2007 making a name for himself as a live tournament pro, logging impressive finishes in several EPT events and APPT events. Other members of Team PokerStars were less fortunate, as Dario Minieri, Luca Pagano, Tuan Lam and Katja Thater all went to the rail on Day 1a.
Other notable players surviving Day 1a were Humberto Brenes and Chris Moneymaker, who finished the day in the middle of the pack. One of the most famous faces in the crowd belonged to David Wells, who was playing in his first major poker tournament after competing at the highest level of another sport, baseball. Wells became one of only 17 pitchers in Major League Baseball history to pitch a perfect game in 1998, and pitched in the World Series in 2003. Wells earned over 200 wins as a pitcher and joined the PCA field to try his hand at another type of competition. The southpaw flung chips around all day and made it through Day 1a with a strong stack.
As the sun set on Day 1a of the PokerStars.Net Caribbean Adventure, the top ten chip stacks looked like this -
Ryan Collett - 176,450 Steve Paul-Ambrose - 170,925 Diego Pérez - 169,100 Stephan Kjerstad - 144,575 Eric Lynch - 141,675 Joshua Ewing - 137,875 Johan Til - 137,225 José Cuenca - 129,950 Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier - 123,825 Allisen Connor - 121,000 Johan Bergqvist - 120,075 Dmitriy Kirin - 118,325