Alan Keating Bags Big Stack on Day 1a of WPT World Championship
Hustler Casino Live fan favorite Alan Keating, who rarely plays tournaments, finished Day 1a of the $40 million guaranteed World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship on Tuesday with a healthy chip stack.
The loose-aggressive player who routinely VPIP's in the 80% or higher range was among a large group of big name players who competed in the opening session of the historic $10,400 buy-in tournament. Many of those high-profile players found a bag and will come back on Saturday for Day 2.
A total of 609 players showed up to play the first of four Day 1 flights, six fewer than last year. But there was only three opening sessions in 2022, and there is expected to be a number of players registering for one of the later flights upon returning to Las Vegas from the Bahamas where the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Paradise series is currently taking place.
Keating Running Hot
The poker world last saw Keating earlier this month in the first-ever 24-hour live-stream on Hustler Casino Live. He was back in action at Wynn Las Vegas chasing what figures to be a prize pool that exceeds the $40 million guarantee.
On Day 1a, he began with 100,000 chips and quickly spun it up. Late in the session, Keating hit a lucky runner-runner to bust a player and crack the 800,000-chip mark. In that hand, he had QJ on a flop of 1063 and bet out 15,000. But his opponent moved all in for 130,000, a big enough raise to convince just about anyone other than Alan Keating to fold.
Unfortunately, for the other player who had K10, he was up against Keating, who decided what the heck and called. In most cases, the player with top pair would be ecstatic to get called in that spot, but the turn K and river 9 gave the high-stakes recreational player a winning straight.
Huge First Day
When the final card of the night was dealt, only 202 players remained. Those who bagged small stacks can enter one of the other three Day 1 starting flights in hopes of carrying over a larger stack. And anyone who busted on Day 1a can give it another try until registration closes on Friday evening.
There were plenty of big stacks at the end of the first session, but none bigger than Jeff Hakim, who left the Encore Ballroom with 998,000. Keating, with 957,000 chips, is the closest to Hakim.
Darren Elias, the only player in World Poker Tour history with four titles, did what he so often does bag a monster stack (564,000). The WPT G.O.A.T. is also looking to extend his WPT records for cashes (48) and final table appearances (13).
Other notables who bagged and advanced to Day 2 include Ben Lamb, David Pham, Arden Cho, Patrick Leonard, Cliff Josephy, and many others. Full chip counts will be available in the morning.
Day 1b kicks off Wednesday at 11 a.m. local time in Las Vegas. Stay tuned to WPT.com for live reporting updates throughout the day, and right here at PokerNews for exclusive coverage of the WPT World Championship.