Rajkumar, who holds the record for winning the fastest final table in WPT history after taking the Borgata title in less than three hours and just 48 hands, took the chip lead after pushing James Carroll off a huge pot late in the day.
The final 18 at Commerce Casino contains a bevvy of big names, including WSOP bracelet winner Jason Dewitt, 2001 WSOP Main Event and 2007 WPT Championship winner Carlos Mortensen, five-time WSOP bracelet winner Allen Cunningham, 2009 CardPlayer Online Player of the Year Steve "gboro780" Gross and 2010 WSOP $50,000 Player’s Championship finalist and WSOP bracelet winner David Baker.
Also there are two-time WPT final tablist Shannon Shorr, 2009 WSOP cashes leader Darryll Fish, 2010 Novemeber Niner Jason Senti, WSOP bracelet winner and six-time WPT final tablist Kathy Liebert and high-stakes online pro Matt Marafioti.
After winning two L.A. Poker Classic side events, Nikolay Evdakov finished 19th ending play Monday.
Rajkumar has a history of success at the L.A. Poker Classic having finished first and second in the $10k Heads-Up side event in 2009 and 2010, both times facing Chris Moore in the final.
The final 18 will return to Commerce Tuesday at 12 p.m. PT to play down to the televised final table of six.
The World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic drew 681 players creating a $6,537,600 prize pool with $1,654,120 reserved for first.
The event runs through March 3.