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WPT Invitational, Day One
by 2006 World Poker Tour Coverage   
Wednesday, 22 February 2006



Official Chip Counts For 98 Survivors by B.J. Nemeth



Thursday, Feb 23, 10:00 am -- "Official" Chip Counts

The Commerce Casino released the official chip counts last night, but there were quite a few misspellings, some more confusing than others. (Sometimes, the players' handwriting on their chip bags can be very hard to read, and the casino personnel don't know the out-of-town players as well as those of us in the poker media.) Play will resume at 6:30 pm on Thursday.

Here's the list of survivors, as best as we can tell: 

1.  Ugur Marangoz  -  $96,800
2.  Scott Fischman  -  $94,600
3.  John Gale  -  $92,700
4.  Shawn Buchanan  -  $80,000
5.  Joe Cassidy  -  $68,400
6.  An Lai Lu  -  $68,300
7.  Jason Alexander (actor)  -  $63,700
8.  Lee Watkinson  -  $62,100
9.  Coleman "Coley" Laffoon (actor)  -  $61,300
10.  Alan Goehring  -  $61,300
11.  Judson Swimner  -  $58,600
12.  Quinn Do  -  $55,000
13.  Dante Oliveto  -  $54,700
14.  Phil Hellmuth  -  $54,300
15.  Matt Corboy  -  $53,400
16.  Jeff Liebster  -  $53,100
17.  Bill Edler  -  $52,100
18.  Will Alaimo  -  $48,400
19.  Isabelle Mercier  -  $48,100
20.  Steve Lipscomb  -  $47,900
21.  Adriano Zimonyi  -  $47,300
22.  Chad Brown  -  $45,300
23.  Evelyn Ng  -  $42,700
24.  Craig Hartman  -  $42,200
25.  David Prat  -  $41,600
26.  Gus Hansen  -  $41,200
27.  David D. Norrie (ABC/ESPN football announcer)  -  $38,100
28.  Denny Williams  -  $36,200
29.  Amnon Filippi  -  $34,700
30.  Thomas Lock  -  $34,600
31.  Audrey Kania  -  $34,100
32.  Steve Dannenmann  -  $33,000
33.  Humberto Brenes  -  $32,700

AVERAGE  -  $32,346

34.  Barry Greenstein  -  $32,300
35.  Clonie Gowen  -  $32,000
36.  Johan Storakers (last year's champ)  -  $30,400
37.  John Esposito  -  $30,200
38.  Allen Kessler  -  $29,700
39.  Todd Brunson  -  $28,300
40.  Noli Francisco  -  $28,200
41.  Scott Jensen  -  $27,400
42.  Jesse Jones  -  $26,500
43.  Mimi Rogers (actor)  -  $26,500
44.  Jimmy Tran  -  $26,400
45.  Blair Rodman  -  $25,900
46.  Steve Dianatas  -  $25,600
47.  Davood Mehrmand  -  $24,700
48.  Matt "Money" Smith  -  $24,300
49.  Andy Goetsch  -  $24,300
50.  Matt Lefkowitz  -  $23,400
51.  Herman Zango  -  $23,200
52.  Louis Drogin  -  $22,900
53.  Tuan Le  -  $22,500
54.  Paul Darden  -  $22,400
55.  Tony Cousineau  -  $22,400
56.  Jared Smith  -  $22,300
57.  Jon Favreau (actor)  -  $22,000
58.  Hoyt Corkins  -  $21,700
59.  Lynette Chan  -  $21,200
60.  Al Sarneshik  -  $21,200
61.  Kevin Weisman (actor)  -  $21,100
62.  Gavin Smith  -  $20,400
63.  Casey Kastle  -  $19,300
64.  Alexander Stevic  -  $18,900
65.  Sam Simon (producer, "The Simpsons")  -  $18,400
66.  "Nick "TheTakeover" Schulman  -  $17,700
67.  Danny Masterson  -  $17,700
68.  Wil Wheaton (actor)  -  $17,500
69.  Rnuk Maniany  -  $16,200
70.  Bob Van Horne  -  $14,700
71.  Nam Le  -  $14,600
72.  Joe Viceroy  -  $14,600
73.  Al Ardebili  -  $14,300
74.  Marko Trapani  -  $13,400
75.  Kathy Griffin (actor)  -  $13,300
76.  Chuck Pacheco  -  $12,700
77.  Philippe Rouas  -  $12,600
78.  Tony Ma  -  $12,400
79.  Jeannette Crandall  -  $11,500
80.  Ben Roberts  -  $11,100
81.  Doug "Rico" Carli  -  $11,100
82.  David Welch  -  $10,900
83.  Farzad Bonyadi  -  $10,300
84.  Orlando Maldonado  -  $10,100
85.  Bart Hansa  -  $9,900
86.  David Cossio  -  $9,800
87.  Mark Tenner  -  $9,100
88.  Adrian de Carteret  -  $8,600
89.  Neil Wright  -  $8,500
90.  Marg Traniocg (Marco Traniello?)  -  $6,100
91.  Dick Van Patten (actor)  -  $5,800
92.  Karina Jett  -  $5,600
93.  Charlie Donaldson  -  $5,300
94.  Andy Simpson  -  $5,300
95.  Danny Smith  -  $4,600
96.  David Levi  -  $3,200
97.  Mike Matusow  -  $2,300
98.  Steve Mould  -  $2,100




Thursday, Feb 23, 12:35 am -- Play Ends with Fewer Than 100 Players

Play ends for the night with 11 tables still in play, which equals about 100 players. The situation was too chaotic for us to accumulate official chip counts on our own, so we'll have to wait for the casino to release the numbers sometime later tonight or tomorrow.

There are more fun photos to be uploaded tonight. Check back with PokerPages.com tomorrow (Thursday).

John Gale appears to be the chip leader with about $88,000 in chips late in the day. Alan Goehring, who just won $2.4 million in the WPT Commerce yesterday, had about $85,000.

Other big names left in the field:  Scott Fischman, Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, Hoyt Corkins, Steve Lipscomb, Isabelle Mercier, Kevin Weisman (actor), Joe Cassidy, Steve Dannenmann, Clonie Gowen, Todd Brunson, Gavin Smith, Evelyn Ng, Humberto Brenes, Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, Jon Favreau (actor), Johan Storakers (last year's winner), Al Ardebili, Chad Brown, Paul Darden, Jason Alexander (actor), Kenna James, Wil Wheaton (actor), Casey Kastle, Kathy Griffin (actor), Danny Masterson (actor), Karina Jett, and Mimi Rogers.



Thursday, Feb 23, 12:20 am -- About 125 Players Left

There are 14 tables left in play, with about 125 players left. The blinds have increased to $500-$1,000, with a $200 ante.

Things continue to happen very fast out on the floor. Isabelle Mercier took a bunch of chips away from actor David Sutcliffe, and then Sutcliffe was busted shortly after by Davood Mehrmand. Isabelle is up to about $50,000, and still feeling great.

Lou Diamond Phillips was involved in a three-way all-in with pocket jacks. A short stack was all in preflop with pocket eights, and then Phillips and the other player got it all in after a ten-high flop. The other player had pocket aces, which held up. Two players were eliminated, including Lou Diamond Phillips.

Linda Johnson was short-stacked, and moved all in with A-5. Barry Greenstein had an ace with a higher kicker, and Johnson didn't catch any miracles. Linda Johnson is out of the tournament.

Willie Garson just walked by media row, calling this the "Walk of Shame." He wasn't giving us details, exactly, but he was loudly grumbling about "Worst Call Ever," and his pronoun usage indicated he was busted by a woman. The moral of the story -- Willie Garson is out of the tournament. He seems less happy than most of the people who have busted.

Jon Favreau just tripled up with pocket fours against Barry Greenstein's pocket aces and Jon Kelley's A-Q. The board came 10-9-7-2-4. That's right, Favreau hit a set on the river. Greenstein had the biggest stack (doesn't he always?), and he picked up the side pot while eliminating Jon Kelley. Favreau's triple up didn't last long, as he lost a pot a few minutes later when he was all in with A-K against some guy's K-10. There was a king on the flop and a ten on the turn, and Favreau took another hit.

David Williams had J-2 against another player's J-10. The money went all in on the flop, and the ten kicker held up to bust Williams.

Recent Eliminations: David Williams, Willie Garson, David Sutcliffe, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Linda Johnson, David Sutcliffe, Jon Kelley, Louis Gossett Jr., and Lou Diamond Phillips.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 11:35 pm -- About 170 Players Left

A table count shows 19 tables still in action, with nine players per table. That gives us roughly 170 players left at the most recent break. The blinds just increased to $400-$800, with a $100 ante, and there was a lot of milling around by the players while the $25 chips were raced off the tables.

Allyn Shulman was busted by Scott Fischman when her A-Q offsuit failed to improve against his pocket eights. Scott Fischman is near the top of the pack with about $85,000 in chips.

Bill Nuss stopped by to ask why his pocket sixes can't crack aces the way that Alan Goehring's pocket fives cracked aces last night. (Goehring won $2.39 million at last night's final table.) Nuss is out of the tournament.

Carlos Bernard (who plays Tony on "24") is short-stacked and moves all in for about $3,000 from the small blind. Shannon Elizabeth calls from the big blind with 8d-5d, and Bernard shows Kd-Jc. Shannon asks for diamonds, and pretty ladies get what pretty ladies want. The flop comes 4d-3d-3c, and she gets the flush draw. The 2d on the turn fills her flush and busts Bernard. No word on whether or not his character survives on the TV show.

Kathy Liebert was just crippled by pocket aces, and she's down to about $3,000 in chips.

I forgot to post it earlier, but I saw Kathy Griffin double through David Levi. She was all in with Ad-Jd against his pocket jacks (Jc-Jh), and they were both taking turns waving the "All In" flag the dealers have to call over the cameras. They revealed their cards at the last possible minute, and as the flop was going out, she asked, "Quick, somebody tell me the odds!" Levi replied, "We're fifty-fifty!" The flop came As-7s-4s, and she was much higher than 50-50. Levi pointed to his jack of clubs as if it were a spade, joking like he had a flush draw. But the turn card was the 5d, and the river card was -- the Kc. The whole table reacted as if Griffin had just been bad beat, and she had to do a double-take to make sure she was still alive. She doubled up in chips.

The Grinder (Michael Mizrachi) refuses to die after being severely short stacked. He's even busting players again.

Here are some interesting chip counts from the break --

Scott Fischman  -  $85,000
Danny Masterson  -  $48,000
Steve Lipscomb  -  $38,000
Isabelle Mercier  -  $27,000
Willie Garson  -  $20,000
Jason Alexander  -  $17,000
Wil Wheaton  -  $16,000
Jon Favreau  -  $15,000
Bill Edler  -  $12,900
Linda Johnson  -  $11,500

Recent Eliminations:  Tom McEvoy, Camryn Manheim, Allyn Shulman, Carlos Bernard, Anne Heche, Daniel Quach, John Phan, Chau Giang, Erick Lindgren, Mark Seif, Antonio Esfandiari, and Nenad Medic.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 11:10 pm -- Grinder's Roller Coaster Chip Count

Alan Goehring cripples Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi. They were all in preflop, with pocket queens for Goehring against Grinder's A-J. Grinder caught a jack on the turn, but couldn't improve beyond that, and he was crippled down to about $200 in chips. A few minutes later, Grinder was all in with 5-4, and managed to triple himself up. But that's still a mighty short stack.

Recent Eliminations:  Tony G, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Hung La, Jan Fisher, Vince Van Patten, John Smith, Mark Gregorich, Robert Varkonyi, Steve Brecher, Jerry Buss, James Woods, Miami John Cernuto, David Chiu, Captain Tom Franklin, Phil "Unabomber" Laak, and Louis Asmo.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 10:55 pm -- Miscellaneous

The players are all having a ball. Isabelle Mercier is up to about $20,000 in chips, but she was more excited about meeting Kevin Weisman (from "Alias") and getting her photo taken with him. (I'm sure he enjoyed it too.)

This tournament has a vibe unlike any other. It's a big, multi-day event, and the top players are all present. And many of these Hollywood players know how to play, even if it's not at a championship level. So the poker is fairly serious, but in a very fun way. It feels almost like a home game, if your home game includes everyone from Jennifer Tilly and Jason Alexander to Martin de Knijff and Chau Giang. Everyone (and I mean everyone) seems to be having a great time.

I watched as Hoyt Corkins doubled up with Ah-7h against Chad Brown's Ac-Qc. Hoyt flopped a flush draw, and hit it on the river with the Qh. A few hands later, he busted John Melendez (sidekick on "The Tonight Show") with pocket jacks against pocket deuces. Hoyt flopped a set of jacks to seal the deal.

I stopped by Wil Wheaton's table, and he was doing well and feeling fine. A short while later, he busted John Juanda with pocket aces. (Juanda was on a short stack with K-Q.) How'd we find out about that hand? Wil Wheaton called a friend in Media Row with the details. It's that kind of tournament.

Gavin Smith doubled through Amnon Filippi. Meatloaf was out before the last break with jacks against aces.

David Sutcliffe had a straight on the turn with 8-7, but David "The Dragon" Pham had a higher gut-shot straight draw and a flush draw with 10x-9d. The last card was a blank, and Pham is out of the tournament.

Allen Kessler busted Mike Sexton with pocket kings against A-10 offsuit. I think this is the only WPT event that Mike Sexton gets to play in each year. WPT Announcer Extraordinaire Linda Johnson and Steve Lipscomb are also playing, but they are both still alive.

Recent Eliminations:  James Garner, Meatloaf, David Plastik, David "The Dragon" Pham, John Juanda, Amir Vahedia, Richard Kind, Huckleberry Seed, and Ricki Lake.

We've got about two hours to go. There is still a lot of fun to be had.

Side note:  The media area is outside of the tournament room, in a side hallway. And we're stuck listening to the music that you can normally only hear in the bathrooms (because it's too loud in the casino). And it's a horrible loop of cheesy 80s and 90s soft rock and love songs. It's enough to make the poker media go insane.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 10:12 pm -- Lou Diamond Phillips Still Alive

Lou Diamond Phillips just strolled past media row (yes, we're on the way to the restroom), and said he is still alive with chips. He didn't sound too proud, but he didn't sound too ashamed. Probably around the $10,000 in chips he started with, or maybe a little less.

The players are on another break. Joanne "J.J." Liu appears to be the chip leader with about $40,000 in chips.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 10:05 pm -- Matthew "Shaggy" Lillard Eliminated

Matthew Lillard just walked by media row, and told us he had been eliminated. Lillard has been in a lot of movies, but may be best known for the first "Scream" movie and playing Shaggy in the "Scooby Doo" films. (Could anyone else have played that role?)



Wednesday, Feb 22, 9:59 pm -- Tom Everett Scott Eliminated

Tom Everett Scott was the highest-finishing celebrity last year, making it all the way to the WPT Final Table. But he won't be repeating the feat this year. He moved all in with K-8, but was called by Allen Kessler's A-K. No eights for Scott, and he's out of the tournament.

Chip Jett just walked by, and was re-entering the tournament room through a side door. "Hi, Chip. Going back to your table?" "Nah, I'm out." Joe Sebok is also out of the tournament, after being involved in a three-way all-in pot with Mel Judah. Sebok was one of the losers in that pot, but survived for a little while longer before busting.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 9:55 pm -- Shannon Elizabeth Has Left the Building

The whole room just took a bad beat, as Shannon Elizabeth was eliminated from the tournament.

Update:  The whole room just sucked out on the river! Apparently, Ms. Elizabeth was just taking an unscheduled break.

In other news, Jeff Rine was just eliminated by Chau Giang. Giang's pocket queens made a flush against Rine's A-8.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 9:45 pm -- This and That

Facts about the tournament are hard to come by. But it sounds like we'll continue playing until about 1:00 am PST. So that gives us about three more hours.

Chris Masterson was all in with pocket queens against Amnon Filippi's pocket aces. An ace on the flop put Filippi way ahead, but Masterson picked up a gut-shot straight draw on the turn. The river card was a blank, and Chris Masterson (from "Malcolm in the Middle") is out of the tournament.

Daniel Negreanu just walked by media row on his way to the restroom, jokingly saying, "Aw, shut up!" (He knew that we reported his bustout.) He then said, "I can't make a straight flush to save my life. Pair and a straight-flush draw -- two hands in a row." He still looks like he's having a great time.

He stopped by again on the way back to give us more specifics. Yes, twice in a row he had a ton of outs and never hit any of them. Daniel's having a good time taunting us in media row, and he's jokingly describing his hands like they were the worst beats in history.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 9:36 pm -- Daniel Negreanu Eliminated

Three clubs on the ace-high flop, and Daniel Negreanu has a straight flush draw with pocket fours in his hand. He moves all in, and his opponent calls with Ah-Kh (pair of aces). The last two cards were blanks, and Daniel Negreanu is out of action.

Jean-Robert Bellande was all in preflop with A-K against pocket queens. He caught a king on the river to pair up, but a queen on the flop had him looking for a jack (for a straight) at that point. Bellande is out of the tournament.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 9:25 pm -- Lots of Updates

Here are some updates from the past 45 minutes or so. Once you get a WPT rep to "escort" you inside the ropes, you don't want to lose the privilege. The blinds have gone up a few times, and they are now at $100-$200, with a $25 ante. Here's some of what happened: 

James "KrazyKanuck" Worth was all in after the flop with pocket kings, but he ran into pocket aces. Two blanks later, he was out of the tournament. But he was in good spirits.

John Stolzmann (last year's WPT Tunica champ) was all in with pocket jacks against another player's K-9 suited. The other player turned a flush, and Stolzmann was eliminated. But he was still smiling, and said he had a great time playing.

Alan Goehring was very shortstacked and all in after a flop of 2-2-2. Goehring was pot-commited with 7-6, and his opponent had an overpair -- pocket threes. The turn was a blank, but a 6 on the river put Goehring back in action. Goehring just won $2.4 million at last night's final table, so he is freewheeling and having a great time.

Cindy Margolis, the "Most Downloaded Woman on the Internet" was smiling but bummed after she was busted. She flopped a pair of kings with K-Q, but her opponent flopped a pair of aces.

Robert Mizrachi was busted by John Gale.


And here's some information shared by other media reps: 

They tell me Jennifer Tilly was eliminated ten minutes ago, but I swear I just saw her seated at a table. Thinking back, it may have been one of the tables that recently broke, and she may have just been chatting with friends.

Allen Cunningham has been eliminated.

Daniel Negreanu busted Carlos Mortensen with pocket aces against pocket nines.

David "The Dragon" Pham doubled through David Singer.

The always-chatty Tony G doubled through Daniel Negreanu. They were all in after the flop, but this time Negreanu had 4h-3h, and it was Tony G with the aces. Still, Negreanu had a flush draw and a gut-shot straight draw. But the last two cards were blanks, and Tony G doubled through.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 8:45 pm -- "Boston" Rob Mariano is Out

It turns out that "Boston" Rob Mariano (from "Survivor All-Stars") was in the field. Of course, those of us in the media only realized this as he was eliminated. He's out of the tournament.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 8:27 pm -- The First Break

The players take their first break before the blinds increase to $75-$150.

Kathy Griffin doubled through Allen Cunningham during the last level. She moved all in with As-Kc (top pair, top kicker), and he called with a flush draw. He missed, and Griffin doubled up.

Isabelle Mercier is down to $7,000. She was up to about $15,000, but lost a bunch when someone hit a flush against her.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 8:22 pm -- Liz Lieu Eliminated

Liz Lieu was just eliminated when her A K made the nut straight on the river, but her opponent's A 5 made the nut flush on the same card.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 8:10 pm -- Notable Players

We've just received word that Norm McDonald is out of the tournament.

Here's a list of the notable players who started: 

Poker Pros:  Amir Vahedi, Alan Goehring, Antonio Esfandiari, Bill Edler, Bill Gazes, Bradley Berman, Captain Tom Franklin, Carmel Petresco, Clonie Gowen, Cyndy Violette, Dan Alspach, Daniel Negreanu, David Levi, David Sutcliffe, Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Evelyn Ng, Gavin Smith, Gus Hansen, Isabelle Mercier, J.C. Tran, Jean-Robert Bellande, Joanne "J.J." Liu, John Juanda, John Phan, Jon Kelley, Kenna James, Kristy Gazes, Liz Lieu, Lyle Berman, Maria Ho, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Mike Sexton, Mike Wattel, Minh "Poker Host" Nguyen, Nenad Medic, Phil "Unabomber" Laak, Robert Mizrachi, Scotty Nguyen, Shannon Elizabeth, Steve Brecher, Todd Brunson, Josh Arieh, Scott Lazar, Jeff Rine, Humberto Brenes, Mark Gregorich, Mike Matusow, Patrik Antonius, David Chiu, Casey Kastle, Farzad Bonyadi, Blair Rodman, Matt Lefkowitz, Per Ummer, James Van Alstyne, Quinn Do, Karina Jett, Allen Kessler, Harry Demetriou, Jim "KrazyKanuck" Worth, Tuan Le, Barry Greenstein, Al Ardebili, Scott Fischman, Johan Storakers (last year's winner), Chip Jett, Ben Roberts, Rodeen Talebi, Jim Miller, Steve Zolotow, Carlos Mortensen, Tony G., Louis Asmo, Kathy Liebert, Allen Cunningham, Steve Dannenmann, David Levi, Lee Watkinson, Tony Ma, Hoyt Corkins, Chad Brown, Miami John Cernuto, David Plastik, Marco Traniello, Alan Smurfit, Martin de Knijff, David "The Dragon" Pham, John Smith, David Singer, Davood Mehrmand, Allyn Shulman, Chau Giang, Layne Flack, Mark Seif, Phil Hellmuth, Noli Francisco, Linda Johnson, Anthony Cousineau, Joe Sebok, Mel Judah, Hung La, Matt Matros, Daniel Quach, Joe Cassidy, Huckleberry Seed, David Williams, Tom McEvoy, Barry Shulman, Nam Le, Alexandria Vuong, Max Pescatori, John Esposito, Tex Barch, Nick Schulman, and Alex Brenes.

Celebrities: Adrian Young (drummer, No Doubt), Anne Heche (actor), Billy Burke (actor), Bill Nuss (writer/producer), Boyd Coddington (American Hot Rod), Camryn Manheim (actor), Carlos Bernard (actor), Cheryl Hines (actor), Chris Masterson (actor), Christopher Rich (actor), Cindy Margolis (actor), Coleman Laffoon (actor), Danny Masterson (actor), David Norrie (college football announcer), David Sutcliffe (actor), Erik Palladino (actor), Gavin Maloof (owner of Sacramento Kings), Jack Black (actor), James Woods (actor), Jason Alexander (actor), Jean Smart (actor), Jennifer Tilly (actor), Jon Favreau (actor), Josh Morrow (actor), Kathy Griffin (actor), Kevin Weisman (actor), Kyle Glass (Tenacious D.), Laura Prepon (actor), Lou Gossett Jr. (actor), Lou Diamond Phillips (actor), Marissa Jaret Winokur (actor), Matthew Lillard (actor), Meatloaf (singer/songwriter), Mimi Rogers (actor), Morris Chestnut (actor), Norm McDonald (actor/comedian), Patrick Labyorteaux (actor), Richard Kind (actor), Ricki Lake (talk show host), Rossi Morreale (actor), Sam Simon (producer of "The Simpsons"), Shannon Elizabeth (actor), Stephen Collins (actor), Tom Everett Scott (actor), Wil Wheaton (actor), Willie Garson (actor), Vince Van Patten (WPT Host), Jerry Buss (owner of L.A. Lakers),



Wednesday, Feb 22, 8:05 pm -- Early Information; Blinds at $50-$100

Information in the early levels is hard to come by, but here's what we got so far. We don't have official numbers yet, but those of us in the media approximate the field at about 315 players. We've already broken down two tables in the first hour (two levels of blinds). The blinds have already increased to $25-$50, and again to $50-$100.

We've already lost Steve Zolotow among the poker pros, but the most dramatic hand of the day involved Cheryl Hines (from "Curb Your Enthusiasm"). With the board showing J 4 4 J on the turn, Hines pushed all in against David Tuchman, who called with pocket queens (Q Q). But Hines showed A J, for top full house. Tuchman had a two-outer -- which he hit on the river when the Q fell. Tuchman made a higher full house to send Cheryl Hines home.

Update:  We have confirmation from the World Poker Tour that the field started with 317 players.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 7:30 pm -- Time for Photos!

Media access is going to be tight until they start breaking down some tables, but the action is already going quick. But here are some photos from the red carpet to hold you over until we get to the serious action.


 
 
Courtney Friel tapes the intro for this episode of the World Poker Tour, flanked by celebrities (from left to right), Willie Garson, Matthew Lillard, Danny Masterson, and Chris Masterson.



 
 
Tom Everett Scott, who made the final table here last year



 
 
Camryn Manheim and Antonio Esfandiari arrive together for their red carpet entrance.



 
 
View From the Red Carpet



 
 
Liz Lieu and Isabelle Mercier stop for a photo just a few minutes before play begins.



Wednesday, Feb 22, 7:05 pm -- Shuffle Up & Deal!

Welcome to the Annual World Poker Tour Invitational Tournament, where Hollywood celebrities and big-name poker players are all invited to play for a coveted seat on the World Poker Tour.

The evening started with a red carpet arrival for some of the biggest stars, followed by a cocktail party where everyone could renew friendships and make new ones.

Some of the biggest celebs present: Anne Heche, Camryn Manheim, Cheryl Hines, Chris Masterson, Danny Masterson, Cindy Margolis, Dick Van Patten, Jack Black, James Garner, James Woods, Jason Alexander, Jean Smart, Jennifer Tilly, Jon Favreau, Kathy Griffin, Louis Gossett Jr., Lou Diamond Phillips, Matthew Lillard, Meatloaf, Mimi Rogers, Norm McDonald, Richard Kind, Sam Simon, Shannon Elizabeth, Stephen Collins, Wil Wheaton, Willie Garson, and last year's final tablist, Tom Everett Scott. We've already spotted many of these stars on the red carpet and/or at the cocktail party.

Blinds are starting at $25-$25, and the players all start with $10,000 in chips. Levels will last 30 minutes, as this is just a three-day event. Media access is somewhat restricted, so we'll do our best to provide as much information as possible about who's playing with whom (with photos), chip counts, and big hands.

Steve Lipscomb takes the mic to welcome everyone to the event, go over the ground rules, and wish everyone good luck. Then it's time to shuffle up and deal!




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