Day 1a of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas $5,000 Main Event attracted 229 players – up from last year’s 210 in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure — but after eight 75-minute levels of play, more than 100 of them had went the way of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and New York Giants – they were eliminated!
That meant 112 players managed to find a bag on Sunday night, but none put more in it than 30-year-old James Martyn, who finished as chip leader with 197,400. Martyn got a lot of his chips when he picked up pocket rockets and doubled through Andrey Zaichenko, who picked an inopportune time to shove with king-ten.
Others who finished with healthy stacks were Brad Marsh (173,200), Andre Cooks (160,400), Mikko Turtiainen (155,100), Alan Schein (140,100), Daniel Colman (136,100) and Igor Kurganov (121,000). They were joined by the likes of Nick Petrangelo (104,000), Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier (92,200), Cliff Josephy (87,100), and Mike “Timex” McDonald (54,600).
Another player to advance was 84-year-old Morris Dadoun, who qualified for the Main Event by winning a charity event. Dadoun had an offer to sell his seat, but he decided to live out a dream and play in one of poker’s most prestigious events. It couldn’t have gone much better as he was responsible for the tournament’s first elimination, played against 2016 GPI Player of the Year David Peters, and even went toe-to-toe with PokerStars Team Pro Daniel Negreanu. Dadoun, who had his wife on the rail, survived the night with 112,800, while Peters and Negreanu bagged 29,300 and 58,200 respectively.
Among those to try and fall on Day 1a were 2015 World Series of Poker champ Joe McKeehen, Friend of PokerStars Sergio Garcia, Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, last year’s PCA champ Mike Watson, and Charlie Carrel, who busted just a couple hours after finishing runner-up to Jason Koon in the $100,000 Super High Roller for more than $1.1 million. Speaking of Koon, he went on to bag 22,900.
Another player to fall on Day 1a was big-time Hollywood actor and poker aficionado Kevin Hart.
"Tell them that I went down swinging," requested Hart, who busted after shoving his short stack with deuce-six offsuit. Aslan Tchechoev held pocket tens, and Hart watched helplessly as the board ran out dry. Hart said it best earlier in the day:
"My poker is like the felt, it's smooth... but if you push it back in the other direction, it gets rough."
While the field lost one celebrity, they’ll gain one tomorrow when Aaron Paul of The Path and Breaking Bad fame takes his shot at poker glory. Others who’ll be in action on Monday are Team PokerStars Pro and 2003 WSOP champ Chris Moneymaker, ESPT4 Marbella champ Ludovic Geilich, and World Poker Tour Amsterdam High Roller champ Jason Wheeler, just to name a few. Meanwhile, many who either advanced or busted – such as Dan Shak, Christoph Vogelsang, and Paul Newey – are expected to take their shots in the $50,000 High Roller.
Day 1b will kick off at 11 a.m. local time on Monday, and we’ll be here to bring you all the action. Until then, check out Sarah Herring’s video with Dadoun, who today got to live out his poker dream.