The World Poker Tour kicked off their second $15,000 Tournament of Champions at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Friday. Only players in the WPT Champions Club are eligible for the event, 66 former champions entered the event with Michael Mizrachi leading the 30 survivors to Day 2.

“Everything turned out well, I had a few bluffs that got away and a few big hands that got paid off, so it turned out well for me,” said Mizrachi.

“I play really good against good players, I know most of the guys and I know how they play,” Mizrachi continued. “It’s a little tougher playing against bad players, because you don’t know what they’re going to do, they make some plays that you’ve never seen before. It’s like, ‘What do you do here?’”

Mizrachi grabbed the chip lead in the last hand of the night, until that point James Romero held the lead since they returned from dinner. Romero declined interview requests, apologizing that he was too tired to think.

Romero comes in as a wild card with just one WPT cash to his credit –  a win in the $10,000 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. He’s one of the least known players in the field with only eight tournament cashes and possibly isn’t accustomed to 12-hour days.

Poker legends Mike Sexton and Erik Seidel were seated side-by-side for most of the day, until Sexton three-bet shoved on a jack-high board. Seidel called holding pocket threes for a set and Sexton rolled over pocket kings. He never improved and fell short of his TOC quest, but he did sit and talk about his time with the World Poker Tour.

Scott Seiver bagged up just outside the top ten, with Jonathan Little, Dylan Wilkerson and Sam Panzica. Harrison Gimbel, Anthony Zinno and Ryan Riess will have work to do as they advanced, but finished near the bottom of the counts.

Registration closed after the first two levels with the prize pool of $990,000 for the final nine players. The min-cash comes in at $38,150, a seat at the TV final table locks up at least $57,225 and first place is $381,500.

Monster products, one of the major sponsors of the WPT, added an additional $100,000 to the prize pool. The champion also wins a 2018 Audi S5 Coupe, a Hublot King Power Unico watch, a custom poker table from BBO, a seat in Tiger’s Night presented by WPT and a one week stay at a Wyndham resort. In addition, players were treated to WPT swag bags and a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses.

Play resumes at noon local time and they’re scheduled to play down to a TV final table of six players. Then return on Sunday at 4 pm to crown a winner.

Top Ten Chip Counts

1. Michael Mizrachi – 287,600
2. James Romero – 276,000
3. Griffin Paul – 214,300
4. Tyler Patterson – 199,300
5. Erik Seidel – 179,200
6. Justin Young – 177,800
7. David Ormsby – 173,000
8. Jonathan Jaffe – 152,000
9. Jesse Sylvia – 148,000
10. Daniel Weinman – 137,900