WCOOP Event #6 $530 No-Limit Hold'em Day 1 in the books

Fifteen years ago, if you asked people to talk about their first experiences with poker, you would likely hear tales of stud or draw games of the limit variety. These days, an increasing number of people will describe a no-limit hold'em game. No-limit hold'em is often dubbed the "Cadillac of poker," but it has morphed into something that is much more accessible than a Cadillac. From top pros to average joes, you will always find a mix of skill level and experience in a no-limit hold'em tournament. But few will rise to the elite level of WCOOP bracelet winner. Fasten your seatbelts as we take you through a recap of Event #6 Day 1 of the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker.

The $530 buy-in no-limit hold'em event of the WCOOP has always been the most popular of the WCOOP tournaments. Last year, PokerStars guaranteed a $2,000,000 prize pool that attracted a field of 6,025 players. In anticipation of a rise in player participation this year, PokerStars offered a $3,000,000 guaranteed prize pool.

The result?

7,351 players registered to compete for a $3,675,500 prize pool, with 1,080 making the money. Final tablists will each earn at least $25,728.50, and first prize will net the champion $452,086.50 (assuming no deals are made).

Among the numerous Team PokerStars Pros who played in Event #6, Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown, Barry "barryg1" Greenstein, Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier, Lee "LeeNelson" Nelson, Hevad "RaiNKhaN" Khan and Vanessa "Lady Maverick" Rousso recently competed in the PokerStars APPT Macau Main Event. Time zone differences and jet lag were not going to stop these pros from playing in the largest WCOOP event to date.

Orel Hershiser made sure to join in on the action even though he was battling it out on another screen for the WCOOP Event #5 High-Roller No-Limit Hold'em bracelet. Hershiser fell just short of the money in Event #6, but you can read about his final table finish in the High-Roller tournament in the Event #5 recap.

After level two, Team PokerStars Pro Noah "Exclusive" Boeken was seventh on the leaderboard, but a tangle with jahwise knocked him out of the top ten. After calling Boeken's 900-chip raise in the big blind with blinds at 150/300, jahwise checked the Jc-Jd-Qd flop. Boeken followed through with a continuation bet of 900, which was met with a check-raise by jahwise to 3,167. Both players checked when Jh fell on the turn, and a bet of 4,867 on the river Ac by jahwise brought a call from Boeken. Jahwise flipped up Qh-Qs for a flopped boat of queens full of jacks and Boeken mucked. Boeken fell to 30,991 in chips while jahwise shot near the top of the leaderboard with 70,367.

Boeken took another major hit when his pocket aces fell to the turned two pair of iso_o.

Boeken was eliminated shortly thereafter in 2,930th place.

By level seven, almost two-thirds of the field had been eliminated. Andre "aakari" Akkari led all Team PokerStars Pros with 63,727 in chips, but that was nowhere near the 118,172-chip stack of NemoStars22 who was leading the field at the time.

As level 11 approached, attention started to turn to the number 1,080. Because only 1,195 players survived the first ten levels, the money bubble was fast approaching. Would some players tighten up, hoping to have some cash to show for outlasting over 6,000 opponents? Would others start to apply more pressure on the shorter stacks, hoping that those players will be more inclined to fold to the money?

Mlinderbt seemed to take the former view, and Andre "aakari" Akkari appeared to take the latter when both tangled in this hand:

The money bubble finally burst during level 12 in spectacular fashion. Five players busted out within seconds of each other, and forty players were out within a matter of two or three minutes. SindyJizz was the unlucky finisher whose exit in 1,081st place opened the flood gates for others who had been hanging on by their fingernails. By the start of level 13, only 749 players remained.

As some started to set their sights on the $452.086.50 first prize, others started to see their day coming to a close. If you followed the Event #6 Live Blog throughout the day, you would have noticed that Team PokerStars Pro William Thorson was having a rollercoaster day. After gaining some momentum after level 11, Thorson hit a rough patch when his flopped set was flushed away.

Meanwhile, shaamo was the first player to hit the million chip mark. Shaamo started this hand with 923,502 in chips and got the final boost when his As-Ks took down the Th-Tc of smellmuth.

Play paused for the day after the completion of level 22. From a starting field of 7,351, only 72 players remain.

Here is how the leaderboard looks going into Day 2:

Level 23
Blinds 12,500/25,000, antes 2,500
Average chip stack: 1,020,972
Players remaining: 72
First Prize: $452,086.50

Top Ten Chip Counts:

1. pokrates 4,571,526
2. shaamo 3,666,172
3. pawnUz 2,501,626
4. LYM333 2,395,878
5. bogjavul123 2,236,854
6. porkshitznel 2,132,541
7. SexSeen 1,866,713
8. kleath 1,699,480
9. kizza_om 1,689,202
10. Yo Burger 1,615,411

Team PokerStars Pro:

Andre "aakari" Akkari (1,051,706 in chips)

Alex "AJKHoosier1" Kamberis and Kenny Rap have also survived to Day 2. Kamberis has won more than $600,000 in PokerStars tournaments in the last three years, and Rap has earned nearly $400,000 in tournaments in the same time period. Both players are sitting in the top half of the leaderboard.

Play resumes at 4:30pm ET later today, and the PokerStars team will be providing updates via the Event #6 Live Blog. Want to hear how the pros rate the action? Tom McEvoy, Vanessa Rousso, Chris Moneymaker and Victor Ramdin will be providing expert commentary on Event #6 starting at 7:30pm on PokerStars.tv - WCOOP Live. Following the conclusion of Event #6, PokerStars.tv will also present a highlight show which will include analysis of key hands, with all cards shown face-up.

In 2004, the WCOOP was in its third year. PokerStars offered a $530 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament for the first time that year. 1,642 players registered to compete for a total prize pool of $821,000. The winner of Event #6 stands to win more than half of that in this year's tournament. Some say that poker growth has stagnated, but if participation in this year's WCOOP Event #6 is any indication, the naysayers are clearly in the wrong.

@PokerStars in WCOOP