Day 1 of the 2011 World Poker Tour Championship , the largest buy-in poker tournament on US soil since the events of Black Friday, saw 188 players turn out on Saturday, setting the pace to surpass last year’s total of 195, as players can still register up until about 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.The host of the WPT ’s The Raw Deal , Tony Dunst , who was also playing the event, weighed in on why online poker shutting down in the country has had little effect on the $25,000 WPT Championship , which only saw six players hit the rail on day 1. “I don’t think the guys that were really affected by Black Friday were the kind of people who were trying to decide whether or not they were going to play a $25,000 event,” Dunst said. “Most of the professionals, who were going to be able to come up with the money or sell pieces of themselves, were not going to be greatly affected by money being wiped out online.”One of the players in the field who still has a massive amount locked up on Full Tilt Poker, but made the trip to play in the WPT ’s premier event, is Blair Hinkle , who ended the day with 121,775 in chips. Hinkle has $1 million still tied up on Full Tilt thanks to a massive score in the February FTOPS main event that largely remained in his account when disaster struck in April.Hinkle told Card Player shortly after play wrapped up for the evening that he is OK for playing in big buy-in events through the end of the summer, but it could eventually be an issue. “I’m looking to buy a place in Kansas City after the summer, so if the money doesn’t get out by then it would be a problem. I should have gotten a wire transfer earlier in the first place, and then I would only have a couple hundred thousand on Full Tilt instead of a million.”Despite a large chunk of money stuck on the federally indicted poker site, Hinkle said he is confident that he will eventually get it back. “Full Tilt made so much money in the last ten years, and on top of that, just the fact that it is the players’ money, and I would hope that they weren’t spending the money from these accounts. I am hoping they had segregated accounts. I feel like this is the situation, and the delay is just that Full Tilt is a little bit slow with everything compared to PokerStars, so it will just take a little bit longer for them to figure out how to give funds back.”The differences between Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars were also apparent in the form of logo appearances on Saturday. Full Tilt Pros came out in full force, wearing their patches and site gear, while PokerStars sponsored players, such as Daniel Negreanu and Vanessa Rousso , didn’t have any apparel sporting the site logo.According to Negreanu, who survived to continue the fight on day 2 with 122,975 in chips, PokerStars’ players will no longer be wearing patches in the United States. Thus, the poker community can expect to see the upcoming World Series of Poker void of any PokerStars representation unless something changes. “We will wear them in every other free country,” Negreanu said.Full Tilt pros Mike Matusow and John Juanda were some of the site’s marque names in attendance on Saturday, and each had no comment on why they still had patches, or any other issue related to their site’s present predicaments.Other news from the day included Doyle Brunson refusing to comment on the DoylesRoom rumors , while Steve Gross , one of the site’s pros, confirmed to Card Player that the 10-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner “wants out.”Alleged Partouche Poker Tour cheater Ali Tekintamgac , was also at the Bellagio on Saturday, and he talked with Card Player during a break to discuss his pending lawsuit against the French tour, as well as what it has been like to compete at the poker table with rumors and accusations still swirling from the fateful tournament this past fall.Former poker pro and the 2004 champion of the event, Martin DeKnijff , made his annual appearance at the WPT Championship , and survived with a chip stack of 55,700. “This is the only event I play,” said Vegas-based DeKnijff, who won $2.7 million for his victory seven years ago. “I have a wife and three kids, and do my sports handicapping, and play some golf, and that’s basically what I do. No more poker, but it’s tough not to play this event with my history in it.”Card Player also had the opportunity to speak with Dan “jungleman12” Cates during a break, and the former online pro talked about adjusting to tournament play, as well as what he’s been doing since Black Friday. Cates mentioned that he will likely move to a different country to resume his online play, as April 15 ended a $7.5 million upswing over the past 16 months.Check out the video below :Stay tuned to Card Player for the rest of the week for more coverage from the $25,000 WPT Championship!
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