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NAPT Mohegan Sun: Day 1, levels 1-4 updates (150-300)

4:20pm: Tall stacks, small stacks
Kathy Liebert had a rough go of it today, losing a large chunk of her starting stack on the first hand she played, when she flopped a set of queens only to lose to a rivered flush. Queens were her kryptonite again in this hand, where after a long deliberation, she called her opponent's 1,650 turn bet on a 9♥7♣7♦3♣ board. The river fell the K♣ and Liebert checked to her opponent in the cutoff, who fired out another 2,700. Liebert made the call, only to watch him roll over Q♠Q♥. The hand left Liebert on only 5,700 in chips and she busted out a short time later (see below).

On the flip side, Aaron Overton sprinted out of the gate today and has amassed one of the largest stacks in the room, courtesy of a massive pot he played against Scott Seiver. After a middle position player opened for a 4x raise and Seiver flat-called, Overton found pocket aces in the big blind and three-bet to 2,900. His reraise chased away the original raiser, but not Seiver, who four-bet to 9,000. Overton came back over the top for 22,000 only to watch Seiver six-bet shove for 42,000. Overton quickly called and his aces held up to win a monster pot. He's presently on over 80,000 in chips. --KB

4.15pm: Bardah busts Liebert
Kathy Liebert, the most winningest woman in tournament poker, is not going to win this one. She's out. After losing a huge pot - details of which are on their way - Ronnie Bardah took her final 6,000 or so. She had ace-queen; Bardah had pocket queens and that was that. -- HS

Kathy_Liebert_Mohegan_Sun 2011_Main Event_Joe Giron_JGP4481.jpg

Bad news for Kathy Liebert

4.05pm: Ramdin races to six figures; Greenstein grows more slowly
A lot of things just happened in fairly short order, but the specifics, I'm afraid, are a little vague.

Here's what I know: Victor Ramdin has about 120,000, which is a massive chip lead. His Team PokerStars Pro colleague Barry Greenstein is up to about 45,000 too, and just almost knocked out two players at once.

Unpicking a little: Greenstein was involved in a three-way pot, which was already at the turn. The board showed 3♠5♣A♥9♣ and there was about 4,500 in the middle.

Player A checked, Greenstein bet 3,700 and Player B raised to 7,100. Player A moved all in for not much more than that, and Greenstein called. Player B called too.

Greenstein and Player B were now involved in a side pot, and the 4♥ rivered. Greenstein bet 3,700 at that and, after he was called, tabled A♣3♣ for two pair and a missed flush draw.

The all in player (Player A - keep up, keep up) showed his 4♣6♣ for a missed straight and flush draw, and Player B mucked. Greenstein scooped.

At almost that precise point, the words: "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Victor Ramdin!" rang out from a neighbouring table. Someone was clearly in awe, as Ramdin's paws gathered a huge pot to put him into six figures.

victor_ ramdin_Mohegan Sun 2011_Main Event_Joe Giron_JGP4462.jpg

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Victor Ramdin

I don't know how, but that's the bare bones. -- HS

3:54pm: Did you call?
With headphones wrapped tightly around his head, Josh Prager could just as easily have been sitting on a plane and waiting for landing as playing poker, or for that matter, being involved in a sizable pot. Looking down at a board of T♥2♥6♠4♥, Prager put out a bet of 4,000 and got a call. On the 7♠ river, he cut out 7,500 and put it in the middle. His opponent tanked for several minutes before finally...what?

Prager, still deep into whatever his headphones were singing, had no idea what his opponent had done. All Prager knew was the guy had turned up two jacks. The sight forced Prager to step into the real world for a moment and ask, "Did you call?"

The man had, indeed, made the call--good for Prager, who turned up Q♥9♥ for the winner. --BW

3:43pm: Golf on the brain
Here's some extremely scientific data we gathered on our last trip around the tournament room:

Number of players watching the Masters on their iPad: at least 6, including Erick Lindgren and Dan Shak.

Number of players who have asked the media for the wireless password so they can watch the Masters on their iPad: One so far, the aptly named Ryan "g0lfa" D'Angelo (sorry guys, we're hard-wired today)

Number of players complaining that they can't see the projection of the Masters coverage on the ballroom wall: at least a dozen, including Daniel Negreanu and several of his tablemates.

Number of players with bets on the Masters: An estimated 59.34% of the field (OK, that one is a pure guess)--KB

3.40pm: Duhamel's dive; Rousso's rise
There's been a shift in power on the World Champion's table, with Vanessa Rousso taking Jonathan Duhamel to school.

The two Team PokerStars Pros sit either side of the dealer and both had enjoyed pretty decent starts to the day, even if Duhamel had raced into an early lead. However, Rousso has now won a chunk from her team-mate and is in the box seat with close to 50,000.

Vanessa Rousso_Mohegan Sun 2011_Main Event_Joe Giron_JGP4373.jpg

Vanessa Rousso at Mohegan Sun

They were in the blinds, and pre-flop action was scant. Only about 800 had made its way into the middle by the time the flop came 5♥9♣9♠. Rousso tossed out one 1,000 chip, but Duhamel raised to 3,300. Rousso called.

The turn was 5♣, which Rousso checked. Duhamel bet 5,600 and Rousso called. The river was 8♠ and Rousso checked again. Duhamel, as is his style, fired 13,700, but he seemed to have walked right into a trap.

Rousso instantly announced that she was all in, for something like 22,000 total. Duhamel sighed, frowned and folded, down to about 39,000. Rousso has about 10,000 more. -- HS

3:33pm: Updated field size
As we enter level four, it appears we're leveling off with 387 players in the field for the $5,000 main event. --BW


3:15pm: Pezzin buzzin
Pat Pezzin is up to 57,000 after finding aces against queens.

Pezzin, in early position, raised to 500 pre-flop and The Man Who Would Live To Regret it (TMWWLTRI), on the button, re-raised to 2,000. Pezzin made it 5,500, TMWWLTRI called and that took them to a flop.

It came 5♠T♣J♠. Pezzin bet 6,100, TMWWLTRI moved all in, and without asking for a count, Pezzin called. Pezzin tabled his aces; TMWWLTRI showed his black queens. The turn and river were blanks and they began to count the stacks.

TMWWLTRI had 200 more than Pezzin, so plays on. Pezzin is up to 57,000.


Pat Pezzin on his way to doubling up

3:11pm: Late arrivals
Slipping into their seats just after the first break were high-stakes cash games Chau Giang and heads-up SNG goddess Melanie Weisner. --KB

3:09pm: No mas Moneymaker
It was not Chris Moneymaker's day. The '03 World Champion could not get a thing going and was just eliminated after getting the last of his chips in with pocket aces against a flush draw. Guess what got there by the river.--KB

2:50pm: A few words about our hosts
If you've never been to the Mohegan Sun, you've probably not seen much like this place before. It's akin to three Vegas casinos in one. It's possible to get lost inside several times without seeing the same thing twice. Michael Jordan has several restaurants here. Bobby Flay's burger joint ain't bad either. Kenny Chesney is playing here this weekend. Kix (kids, you can look it up) is doing a free show at one of the giant bars on the other side of the casino. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is here. Hell, even Ricky Martin is threatening to make an appearance. There is more commerce in 1/3 of this place in one day than happened in a month in the town where I went to high school, lo these many years ago. Oh, and I got lost getting out of bed this morning before I hit the floor. That's a long way of saying, the Mohegan Sun is a pretty darned good place for a poker tournament and not a bad place to spend a week in action. Wish you were here.--BW

2.45pm: Counts
Players have returned from their break, and just after they did we scooted round the room to pick up the chip counts. Our early chip leader seems to be Eugene Katchalov, with more than 60,000.

Faraz Jaka is also doing rather nicely, and recently doubled up to about 55,000 after finding aces. An adversary had the decency to find queens at the same time and they got it all in. -- HS

Faraz Jaka _Mohegan Sun 2011_Main Event_Joe Giron_JGP4439.jpg

Faraz Jaka: Smile if you've just doubled up

2:08pm: Players take a 15-minute break

2:07pm: The Fashion Report
Think a poker tournament is filled solely with twenty-something men in sports jerseys and backwards ballcaps? Well, you're mostly correct (see: Jason Mercier), but a few players in our field have made standout sartorial choices today. Never afraid to make a bold fashion choice, Faraz Jaka is sporting a hat one might have found on Daniel Boone, complete with side flaps and a fur lining. Helen Prager chose a denim motorcycle jacket that perfectly compliments her punky blonde haircut. Several gentlemen seemed to have simply rolled out of bed and rolled downstairs to the poker room, the boldest pyjama-wearer donning a pair of fleece pants adorned with Snoopy cartoons. And finally, you can't miss Danny Suied who is donning a gold and red velvet crown. I wonder what sort of prop bet he lost? --KB


Danny Suied, fashion king

2:05pm: From the fingers of a champion...
Last year's NAPT Mohegan Sun champ Vanessa Selbst's day is starting off pretty well, if her Twitter feed is any indication.

She just wrote "Missed value vs pat pezzin AK on kJ7ddA3d vs AJ then nice pot with 45hh on 863hh92. Up to 37k now." --BW

1.50pm: Toughening up
There were two empty seats on Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman's table, but they were filled within about two minutes of each other. And I can't imagine many players at the table were happy when they discovered the identities of their new adversaries.

First up, the nine seat was taken by Alan Sternberg. Sternberg finished 12th here last year, and has really upped his game since then. Last month he won the WPT Shooting Star Championship, good for more than a million bucks.

After Sternberg had settled in, Kyle Bowker showed up. Bowker isn't having a bad 12 months either, having finished third at EPT London for more than $450,000, then taking down a side event at the PCA in January.

He also has a WCOOP bracelet to his name. It just got a whole lot harder on that table. -- HS


Kevin Thurman

1:25pm: David Williams arrives
David Williams, who has recently been getting his first taste of fatherhood, has just shown up in the tournament area. We know he brought his daughter to the tournament with him, so if he needed to catch a few winks this morning before playing, he can be forgiven. --BW


How many hours of sleep did you get last night, David?

1:23pm: Duhamel welcomes Agard
"I think I played with you in a Razz tournament online!" Sherwin Agard said.

Agard had checked the 9♥9♦7♦Q♦ board, and Jonathan Duhamel bet into it. Agard made the call.

"I just started playing that game," said the 2010 WSOP champion.

When the T♣ came on the river, Agard immediately dropped 1,500 into the middle of the table. He had literally just arrived at the table and was still filling out his media release form.

Duhamel didn't take long before making the call. Agard flipped over 3♦4♦ for the baby flush.

"I entered the Razz tournament by mistake," Agard said. "I just saw they gave you a bunch of cards. I think you busted me out, but this makes up for it!" Agard stacked Duhamel's chips.

Duhamel grinner. "If I busted you out of a tournament, it wasn't a Razz tournament, because in those, I don't bust anyone out."--BW


Outside the head of Jonathan Duhamel

1.15pm: Making a play for the big blind
With some registered players still not arrived to the tournament room, the big blind on Barry Greenstein's table was being posted by an empty chair. It hadn't gone unnoticed, and Greenstein made it 300 from under-the-gun. Jeff Madsen, in the cut-off, bumped it to 800.

The dealer (a real person) and the small blind (also a real person) folded. And then the big blind (not a real person) also mucked. It didn't take much longer for Greenstein (a real person) to do the same.

Madsen quickly flipped over A♣A♦ and chuckled ruefully. Greenstein fished his hand out the muck and showed 5♥3♦. It was probably ahead of the big blind's calling range, but not much more. -- HS

1:12pm: Earning those "CM" chips
"I just want some 'CM' chips," said the young man in the baseball hat, referring to the stack in front of 2003 WSOP champion Chris Moneymaker as they went heads-up to a Q♥9♣7♥ flop.

"I don't really want to give any CM chips away," quipped Moneymaker, who followed up his opponent's check with a 1,350 bet.

Moneymaker got a call and the 6♥ fell on the turn. Both players checked. The river was the 5♠ and Moneymaker faced a lead bet of 5,300, about a third of his remaining chips. After two minutes in the tank, he dribbled in a call. His opponent turned over 9♥T♥ for a flush and raked in the pot.

"Hey, I made it! 18 seconds left!" noted Moneymaker, relieved to have at least made it through the first level. He's down to about 11,000 in chips. --KB


Chris Moneymaker

1.10pm: Creeping towards 400
With one hour of registration still to come, the current tally of entrants is 369. There's an outside chance it will increase somewhere close to 400. --HS


1pm: So great
This table was eye-catching enough already, with Ryan "golfa" D'Angelo sitting beside Ryan "HITTHEPANDA" Franklin and the pair of them opposite Victor "VictorRamdin" Ramdin. And then Ramdin and D'Angelo got involved in a pot.

They were two of three players who went to a flop of A♥4♣3♠ and D'Angelo bet 750. The other player called, but then Ramdin raised to 2,500. D'Angelo called and we lost our third player - all this in less than about 25 seconds.

Victor Ramdin_Mohegan Sun 2011_Main Event_Joe Giron_JGP4287.jpg

Victor Ramdin involved early in a pot with Ryan D'Angelo

The turn was Q♣ and D'Angelo checked. Ramdin bet 4,500 and D'Angelo called. The river was 8♠, which D'Angelo checked. All this in less than about 10 seconds.

However then things slowed down remarkably. Ramdin thought and thought and thought, then bet 12,000 (which is close to half a starting stack). D'Angelo thought and thought and thought. And then thought some more.


Ryan D'Angelo

"This is what's so great about poker," said D'Angelo, without offering much proof in his voice that he really thought it was great. "Either he has it or he doesn't."

After thinking some more, D'Angelo folded. This is what's so great about poker reporting. Sometimes you don't even figure out what they had.

Either way, Ramdin now has about 40,000. -- HS

12:57pm: What's on Barry's mind?
If you're wondering what Barry Greenstein is thinking while playing today's event, here's what he just posted to his Twitter feed:

"I just bet tiger over mcilroy even in the masters. I've got the worst of it, but it should be a good sweat."

I'm currently headed over to see if he'll take more action, because I want in. --BW


12:52pm: Schedule change
The day's schedule has changed. Instead of playing ten levels with a dinner break, they'll be playing eight one-hour levels with no dinner break. --BW

12:49pm: Super high-rolling table
There aren't many tables in this room without a famous face. One in particular is worth noting. The PCA's $100,000 Super High Roller champion, Eugene Katchalov, and runner-up, Daniel Negreanu, are seated together today. Negreanu, who calls Katachalov a "tough cookie" is taking pictures of his opponent with his cell phone to pass the time. --BW

12.35pm: In the house
Unless you happen to notice a World Champion doubling up (see 12.23pm post), these early stages tend to be concerned mainly with simply writing down names of people you've noticed in the field. There are a lot of big names here already, most of whom you can now see on the chip-count page. A sample? Well let's start with a few more World Champions, such as Joe Cada, Chris Moneymaker, Carlos Mortensen as well as the aforementioned Jonathan Duhamel and Vanessa Rosso. -- HS


12:31pm: Looking to repeat?
Players are still filtering in, but we've already spotted a good percentage of last year's final table. Defending champion Vanessa Selbst is in the house, as is 2010 NAPT Mohegan Sun runner-up Mike Beasley. Also attempting a repeat run at a final table are fourth-place finisher Scott Seiver, seventh-place finisher Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy and eighth-place finisher Jonathan Aguiar. --KB

12:23pm: Duhamel doubles to start the day
Barely fifteen minutes into play, reigning WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel has already managed to double his stack. On a 6♦2♦2♣ flop, Duhamel checked to his lone opponent, who massively overbet all-in for 24,600.

"Really?" said Duhamel with a raise of his brow before making the call.

Duhamel's pocket kings had his opponent's T♦T♣ crushed, the turn and river falling the 5♥ and the 9♥ to double him up to nearly 60,000. --KB

12.10pm: Off
We're off. Currently 332 players are registered and in their seats. Players can still buy in for the first two levels, so there will likely be more. -- HS

12.05pm: Filtering in
Play was due to start at noon. It's 12.05pm. Play has not started.

Afternoon all and welcome to Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut.

This is the second time the North American Poker Tour (NAPT) has breezed onto the reservation, and it will be a belter if it is in any way close to last year's success.

The Team PokerStars Pro duo of Vanessa Selbst and Jason Mercier won the $5,000 Main Event and the $25,000 High Roller Bounty Shootout, respectively, and Mohegan Sun became an instant hit among players, staff and observers alike.

More of the same is expected this year and the Main Event will get under way imminently. It's a noon start, we will play ten one-hour levels, and have one dinner break.

All told, we'll be here until about midnight. Get ready. -- HS


PokerStars Blog reporting team: Kristin Bihr, Howard Swains and Brad Willis. Photography: Joe Giron.

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