Event 1B: Chip Race

$490 + $45 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 9: 400/800/100 ante

Dinosaur Chip ProtectorChip-a-saurus

Players are back from their second break of the time as the green (25) chips have been removed from play.

Currently 70 players remain with an average stack of 28k (35 bb).

The big stacks are approaching 80k (100 bb) and the most coveted chip is the gray 5k chip which Chris McKean (Geneseo, IL) has well guarded. His chip-a-saurus card protector keeps an eye on both his 55k stack and his pocket pairs.

Event 1B: Flying High with Set of Kings

$490 + $45 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 8: 300/600/75 ante

Richard CalledareCalledare Takes Out Two

For a man who’s jumped out of an airplane more than 8,000 times, you’d think poker would be no big deal. But for Richard Calledare (Derry, NH), until he’s pushed the pot, he’s terrified.

“You don’t know what he just did to me,” says Calledare, a professional skydiver, who knocked out two players with pocket Kings. One of them had just doubled through Calledare with running straight cards.

The three players are all in preflop (KK vs 88 vs 66) and when Calledare flops a set, you’d think he’d relax. “What were you afraid of,” he’s asked after breathing a sigh of relief.

“Running diamonds,” laughs another player while pointing to the 8.

“You never know,” says Calledare who takes his stack to 30k.  After the hand he tells a few skydiving stories, including the time he spent on the movie set of Drop Zone with Wesley Snipes.

“It’s hard to make a living,” says Calledare, “but it’s great, I’ve been all over the world.”

sky divers w Richard Calledare skyleague.comCalledare (second from right), The National Skydiving League
photo courtesy skyleague.com

Event 1B: Trash Talker

$490 + $45 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 7:  Blinds 250/500/50 ante

John FordCali-Ford-a John

Trash talking is usually a bad thing at the poker table, but not when it comes from John Ford (Vallejo, CA).

“I talk trash, but I’m no garbage man,” quips Ford, who’s quick with his wit while enjoying  his first trip to Seminole Hard Rock Tampa.

After making the cross country trip as part of his bucket list, the 30 year poker dealer veteran says he’s seen it all and is a machine gun of entertainment. “I’ve got more lines than Bell telephone,” he says.

And what about the ladies?

“I tell them, ‘I’d rob a bank for you, fight a tank for you’.”

While Ford has a modest chip stack he’s making the most of his time here saying, “the service is excellent, the people are nice. And I’ve been around the block a few times.”

He says his stay in Tampa is open-ended, but if Ford “gets lucky” and wins a few dollars he may stick around for the Winter Tampa Bay Open Championship Event (Dec. 13-15).

“Just trying to add some color for you,” he says while posting another round of antes.

Event 1B: Unofficial Numbers

$490 + $45 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 6:  200/400/50 ante

The entries for the third and final flight comes in at 131 and puts the unofficial total entries at 322.  That’s more than enough for the $150,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool and puts first place in the $41,000 range.

The top 32 players will make the money as the 1B field is now focused on making it to Sunday’s Day 2 and getting a piece of the pie.

Event 1B: Charles in Charge of Big Blind

$490 + $45 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 5: Blinds 150/300/25

Charles FawcettFawcett Finds Trips with 9-5 Sooooted

He doesn’t remember the raise amount, but Charles Fawcett (Lakeland) knows he was holding 9 5 when he defended his big blind.

After a flop of Q 9 9, the preflop raiser moves all in for ~12k and Fawcett snap calls with trip 9s.

“I got ’em all,” says Fawcett of his opponent’s chips after cracking aces.

On the first break of the day, Fawcett is one of the big stacks with 35k (117 bb).

“And then on the last hand (of Level 4), this guys (player on his left) goes all in and wants me to call. I said, ‘I just got ’em, let me keep ’em for awhile.’ I’ll give them away later.”

Re-entry is now closed and with 125+ entries for the flight, the $150,000 Guarantee has been met with 316+ total entries over the three flights.

Once the cage verifies the final numbers, we’ll post the payouts for the kickoff event of the series.

Event 1B: Last Level for Entry, Guaranteed!

$490 + $45 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 4: 100/200/25 ante

The last level of entry for the inaugural event of the Winter Tampa Bay Open is underway and the $150,000 Guarantee is nearly in the bank.

The third and final flight of 110+ entries puts the the three flight total at more than 300 total entries.  The magic number is 307 players, and with registration/re-entry open until ~1:15 pm the prize pool is looking good.

Event 1B: Snow Way Staying in Cleveland

$490 + $45 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 2: 75/150

John BennettBennett, One of the Early Birds

John Bennett (Cleveland, OH) is the smartest poker player in the field, simply because he got out of the Midwest and is here in sunny F-L-A.

“Staying out of the snow,” says Bennett who is more than happy to trade in 26 degrees and snow showers for a high of near 80 in Tampa. Just another great reason to attend the WPT Winter Tampa Bay Open.

While the early birds continue to grind, late arrivals are pushing the entries for this flight past 100.

Cleveland Tampa Wx textSaturday’s Forecast

Event 1 Chip Counts Through Flight 1A

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open
Event 1: $555 No Limit Hold’em

Flight 1 & 1A Entries:  191

CHIP COUNT LEADERS THROUGH END OF FLIGHT 1A

PLACENAMEFROMCHIP COUNT
1DAVIS ADAMSTALLAHASSEE, FL206,100
2JIMMY DOWDAGROVELAND, FL177,300
3ALAN KORPILUTZ, FL149,800
4ALEXANDRU IVANPALM HARBOR, FL147,400
5JEFFREY COUTROULISTAMPA, FL145,000
6MARTIN WELCHZEPHYRHILLS, FL129,600
7JOHN PAPPASTAMPA, FL116,400
8MANELIC MINAYATAMPA, FL116,400
9ROBERT SEAYGULFPORT, FL113,800
10SCOTTSWORTH GERTISERNOKOMIS, FL113,500
11WALID MADDAHTAMPA, FL105,300
12STERLING SAVILLDOVER, FL101,500
13MICHAEL MASELLADAYTONA BEACH, FL90,600
14RICKY CARTERWESLEY CHAPEL, FL90,200
15ALAN FINKSAINT CLOUD, FL84,900
16MATTHEW PERRINSUNRISE, FL81,300
17MICHAEL FERNEMANDAVENPORT, FL79,000
18JOHN FAUCETTEAPOPKA, FL78,000
19HERBERT WOODBERYWINTER GARDEN, FL74,300
20JOHN DOBSONBAYONET POINT, FL66,900
21LUQMAN ALGHANIMTAMPA, FL65,500
22MICHAEL IMPERIALELAKELAND, FL62,100
23ROY YOUNGDUNNELLON, FL61,800
24TOM NGUYENTAMPA, FL60,200
25REBECCA FURLONGPALM HARBOR, FL54,800
26MEIR BARACKNORTHDALE, FL53,100
27DEBRA DORCYOAK HILL, FL50,000
28MICHAEL WAKEFIELDKISSIMMEE, FL47,000
29STEPHEN DIAMANTASTAMPA, FL46,000
30SHAWN DEUFELTAMPA, FL39,300
31THOMAS POWERSNEW MARKET, AL37,200
32JAMES DARCANGELISVENICE, FL16,000

Event 1B: Bullets Flying

$490 + $45 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Eddie Torres & Julio NovoTorros & Novo

On back-to-back hands we see Eddie Torros (Bartow) and Julio Novo (Tampa) raise preflop with no callers and both turn over pocket Aces.

“They’re going around the table,” says one player, as the two are side-by-side.

While they only pick up the blinds, Torros and Novo will certainly take that over having their bullets cracked.