Ex-ice hockey pro Cloutier leads WSOP opening day


Former professional hockey player Eric Cloutier emerged as the chip leader from the main event's opening day at the 40th World Series of Poker at the Rio.

Cloutier, who briefly played for the Boston Bruins, held 150,750 chips, a 16,475 chip lead over Redmond Lee from London.

He is among the 821 remaining players from Friday's 1,116 entries who will return Tuesday at noon to continue play. More "first day" tables for the $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold'em event will continue to be seated today, Sunday and Monday. After Monday, the number of tables will begin to be cut back for the remaining players. Play will continue until July 15 when a final table of nine players will be determined. Those players will return Nov. 7 to play until a final player remains. Seth Palansky, the series' communication director, said the majority of entries will come Sunday and Monday.

Last year's main event drew 6,844 entries with $64,431,779 in prize money. Student Peter Eastgate won the gold bracelet and the $9.2 million prize pool.

Cloutier has four career cashes for $53,000 at the World Series of Poker, but none this year.

The Mont-Laurier, Quebec resident's best showing was a 25th place finish in the $5,000 buy-in mixed hold'em event last year at the Rio.

Three former main event winners played Friday with Berry Johnston (1986) and Johnny Chan (1987, 1988) advancing to day two.

Jerry Yang, who won in 2007, was eliminated.

The highest-ranking series' gold bracelet winner is Phi Nguyen in 36th place.

Actor Jason Alexander from the show "Seinfeld" finished the day in 31st place. Actress Jennifer Tilly and actor Brad Garrett, best known as the brother Robert in "Everybody Loves Raymond," also advanced.

Former baseball player Orel Hershiser and singer Nelly were two celebrities who were eliminated.

Hector Contreras, the truck driver from Hollywood, Calif., featured in today's Review-Journal, survived the first day.

The 26-year-old poker amateur finished tied for 379th with 39,575 in chips.