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World Poker Tour Invades Bellagio

By Scott Carlson, Rakeback.com Senior Writer

WTP Royal Flush Girls

The WPT Five Diamond World Poker classic kicked off at Bellagio in Las Vegas Friday. After registration was closed an impressive field of 438 players would vie for the $870,124 first place prize. This year the buy-in was reduced from $15k to $10k. Attendance was up this year from the 329 runners one year ago.

Jack McClelland (Tournament Director) run tournaments are not without a bit of controversy it seems. Similar to other Bellagio WPT events, registration was open until the end of level eight, which was at 5pm on day two. A total of 48 players would take advantage of the late registration and buy into the tournament on day two.

The other often heard gripe on the tournament floor was the number of players paid. The top 100 or 22.8% of the field cashes. It actually took well into day three to reach the money bubble. Ali Eslami was the bubble boy when his A-K did not catch up against the pocket 10's of his opponent and he was eliminated.

After day three 54 players remain. The chip leader is Antonio Esfandiari with over one million chips or 200 big blinds. Other players rounding out the top five are Doug 'Toolbox' Lee (702k), Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso (697k), Freddy Deeb (694k), and Nick Phillips (559k). Other notables still in the field include DoylesRoom namesake Doyle Brunson (446k), Michael Gracz (252k) and Alan 'Chainsaw' Kessler (91k).

The final table will take place on Wednesday.

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