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Day 1 of a major tournament is generally the most dry day of the event with respect to major stories evolving.  In the case of the World Poker Tour stop at the Commerce Casino for the Los Angeles Poker Classic $10k Main Event, that homage held true as the starting stacks really shouldn’t have caused much danger to stack sizes in the earlier levels of play.  Aside from a few early coolers, play was very slow for the first few levels for everyone that wasn’t named Jason Mercier, who on the first couple of hands paid 600 chips to see a flop of Q-J-6.  His opponent decided to 4 bet shove that flop with pocket aces, and Mercier called him up with a set of sixes that held for an early double up.  Mercier would finish the day with a top 5 chip stack as one of the few players that completed the 5 levels of play with over 100k chips.

Outside of that story, there were very few notables that mixed it up early.   My day was comprised for the most part of snapping photos of the approximately 650 names that graced the ballroom doors to pony up the entry fee and compete for the WPT Title. That, and rounding up interviews for Poker News Daily, who had hired me for the day for that purpose.  I was able to wrangle up interviews with the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Eric Lindgren, Dwyte Pilgrim, and about a dozen other names.

Late arrivals included the likes of Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth and Joe Hachem, and even Johnny Chan put away the cash games downstairs to play a tournament for once.  But I was surprised at the large number of Full Tilt Pro’s that decided to not join in on the action.  I had heard that a message was sent out by the poker rooms asking players to not participate in a pseudo boycott of the Commerce Casino because of their vocal opposition of the Reid Online Poker Bill at the end of the last congressional session.  All of the Southern California Casino’s are opposed to a national program for online poker as the California Casino’s are looking more toward an intra-state piece of legislation which would provide greater benefit and residuals to the California Casino’s.  I can understand how they hold this opinion, but it doesn’t really speak very well for the game of poker on a global scale and is very short-sighted.  And being that it doesn’t really benefit the major online poker rooms, Full Tilt and PokerStars have encouraged players to join them in their stance against the L.A. Casino’s.  As such, a lot of the top brass of Full Tilt who is very pro-Poker Players Alliance, decided to skip the event altogether.

There were some casualties in the day including the likes of Phil Laak, who moved the rest of his stack in on the turn, and was immediately called by his opponent.  Laak said “Wow!  I’m drawing dead,” and mucked his hand, leaving the table and the room before the river card was even dealt.  We also lost Rob Mizrachi, and late in the day saw Joe Sebok go broke in a 3-way all in for the rest of his chips.

As play resumes today, we’ll wade through another Five 90-minute levels of play to further trim the field.  Registration will be open until the start of play today, so we’ll have final numbers of entries, prize pools, and places paid when that all happens.  For the rest information, just follow me live on my twitter feed of @coolwhipflea, as I’ll be sending out information live from the floor.  If you’re looking for a player and their information, let me know and I’ll be sure to look them up and get you information as quickly as I can.