NAPT Mohegan Sun: David Williams leads Day 1
"It's possible to get really lost in here," said a member of our team today.
That was a wide-eyed way to say Mohegan Sun is gigantic. It's like a small city. Inside, you can see the stars on the ceiling, a giant waterfall against a back wall, and enough space ahead of you that you can't help but consider infinity. The spa here is 10 times bigger than my house. The gaming floor alone could fit more than five football fields.
It is also home to one of the most-attended poker main events in America. Today, 716 players sat down for the third stop of the North American Poker Tour. At $5,000 a head, the prize pool swelled to more than $3.2 million. When it's all said and done, the winner will pocket three quarters of a million dollars. It's no wonder titans like Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey traveled from far and wide to this little hamlet in southeastern Connecticut.
The journey to and through this awe-inspiring casino, however, was just the first step on what will be a five-day quest for riches and fame. By the end of Day 1, fewer than 470 players remained and knew they still had four more days to play before seeing the final river. They were the lucky ones. Today saw the end of Team PokerStars Pros Barry Greenstein, Victor Ramdin, Chad Brown, Anh Van Nguyen, and Pat Pezzin, not to mention hundreds of other unfortunate souls.
At the other end of the spectrum and sitting with the Day 1 chip lead is none other than David Williams. The 2004 WSOP runner-up downloaded the original "V" miniseries and watched it as he played today. It must have been inspiring. After starting the day with 30,000, he ended with 230,900.
While Williams held the lead at the end of the day, Vanessa Selbst pushed hard and ended up in the apparent second place with 214,700.
For a time we were hoping for a heads-up rematch of the 2004 WSOP. The 2004 World Series champ and Team PokersStars Pro Greg Raymer remained in the hunt here at Mohegan Sun until the last few hands when he went bust. This is like his home turf. Raymer lived just down the street for many years and actually won a satellite to the 2003 WSOP at Mohegan Sun seven years ago. Today, however, it was not to be.
Several other Team PokerStars Pros will see if they can take some of Raymer's old magic and make it work here under the Mohegan Sun. Among the other Team Pros headed into Day 2: Gavin Griffin (67,600), Vanessa Rousso (83,200), Daniel Negreanu (33,600), Dennis Phillips (28,100), Angel Guillen (50,200) and Jason Mercier (38,600). They will be joined by the newest Team Pros from Canada Marcello Del Grosso, and Greg Debora.
We have some selected chip counts on our NAPT Mohegan Sun chip counts page. We'll be updating that overnight after the tournament staff finishes the laborious task of compiling all the counts.
For a complete look at what these folks are playing for, see our NAPT Mohegan Sun Prizes and Winners page. If you'd like to look back on how it all happened, check out any of the following links:
We'll be back here at noon ET on Thursday for all the Day 2 action. Join us then.
All photographs © Joe Giron