Saturday, November 08, 2014

Travel Report: Season XIII WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble, Day 1a -- Bountiful Action

Just gonna share a couple of quick thoughts about the first Day 1 flight of the World Poker Tour bestbet Bounty Scramble in Jacksonville that played out on Friday.

One is to remark on how big the field was for Day 1a, with 196 entries altogether. That was way more than what I was expecting to see, given that a year ago I was here for a $3,500 buy-in event that had 358 entries total. Didn’t really think a $5,000 buy-in event was going to exceed that for a turnout, but such looks likely now.

This one has a $1 million guarantee, which had suggested 200 players was a mark that would likely be met but didn’t necessarily indicate anything too far above that. But apparently they ran tons of satellites at the bestbet Jacksonville over recent days, with more than 100 winning seats that way. There are other cool things about the event -- besides the especially inviting atmosphere of the large poker room and the great staff -- that I think helped, too.

Those other cool things comprised the other remark I wanted to make, actually. I mentioned earlier this week the “bounties” in play for this event. More than 30 players are being designated as such, with $2,500 prizes going to the players who knock them out. That money is coming from the bestbet, not the prize pool, and is paid right there at the table in cash.

That added some extra fun to Day 1a, when 21 bounties were playing and I believe nine or so were knocked out by night’s end. It made following the action interesting right from the start -- which as a longtime tourney reporter I can say is unusual for a Day 1 -- while also creating some intriguing situations as far as decisions made in hands, both by the players seeking to collect bounties and the bounty players as well.

Also adding some interest at the end of the night was the “chip leader bonus” of $5,000 awarded to the player ending Day 1a with the lead. (The same bonus will be in play today for Day 1b.)

It was a tight race right up until the tourney clock was stopped with 10 minutes to go and the announcement made that seven more hands would be played. I went around and noted five players -- Jason Helder, Shannon Shorr Jonathan Little, Mohsin Charania, Jared Jaffee -- all sitting either a little over 200,000 or just below that mark. “It’s going to be close!” I wrote excitedly in the WPT blog.

Then came a massive hand in which Helder knocked out Sean Winter -- a bounty, in fact, earning him $2,500 -- that catapulted him way up over 350,000, and he ended up finishing with just over 400,000, well clear of everyone else and easily enough to earn him the $5K.

Like I say, these Day 1s usually aren’t so interesting, but the bounties, re-entries, and the “chip leader bonus” all helped make it more fun to follow. Will be back over there today, so check in at the WPT site to see what kind of numbers and/or drama Day 1b provides.

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