Day 1 WPT Festa al Lago
October 22, 2021

The 15,000 buy-in World Poker Tour Festa al Lago Championship began yesterday with 140 players signing up to... no wait 174 players, hold it 222, okay 244, lets go with 244.  In an unusual switch, organizers of this year's WPT Festa al Lago Championship- in lieu of offering two starting days- chose instead to have a single Day 1 but keep registration open for eight levels, conceivably allowing players to register as late as mid-Day 2. 

Given the ever escalating blinds in tournament poker, most players would probably never consider entering an event so late after the official start (with the possible exception of Phil Hellmuth) however, as this year's Festa al Lago starts players off with immense, 60,000 chip deep starting stacks, entering this event late may not be that poor of a choice and could potentially offer a slight tactical advantage.

With Day 1 completed many top players not only already chose to begin their tournaments but have also already been eliminated including Michael Mizrachi, Amit Makhija, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, J.C. Tran and PokerRoad's Joe Sebok, who will apparently have to wait till next year to surpass his ninth place Festa al Lago 2008 finish.

Players who fared better during the Day- evident in that they still have chips to play with- include Jennifer Tilly, Christian Harder, Josh Arieh, Barry Shulman, Haralabos Voulgaris, Justin Bonomo, Phil Laak and Mike "the Mouth" Matusow, who ended the day as chip leader of the group with 224,200 in tournament chips, according to live updates provided by the World Poker Tour.

For more from the Bellagio Festa al Lago including photos, updates and videos starring our own Amanda Leatherman visit

Story by Mark Anderson

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