PCA 2014: Shankar Pillai leads on Day 1B as field pushes past 1,000 players

Poker players are made of sturdy stuff, and if the PCA 2014 Main Event has proven anything it's that not even a polar vortex can stop them hunting for a seven-figure pay day. As wind and rain slap North America, causing travel pains for many hoping to join the action this week, 710 players still crammed themselves into the Imperial Ballroom for Day 1B. Such brave efforts deserve reward. How does $10 million in prize money sound? The field has pushed past the 1,000 mark, meaning this year's PCA has grown since last year -- a rarity for $10,000 events in today's poker economy -- and the number could keep rising...

"We're expecting more players tomorrow," said David Carrion, PCA & Latam Director of Live Poker Operations. "Given the circumstances, to see a $10,000 Main Event growing, is amazing. We're happy and so, too, are the players."

From the 710 starters, 445 remain and happiest of all will be Shankar Pillai, after he bagged up 173,900 to claim the day's number one spot. Pillai will be looking to add a first EPT first to the World Series bracelet he won back in 2007, and in the battle of Day 1 chip leaders, he edges out yesterday's front-runner, Dylan Hortin, by about 10,000 chips.

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Day 1B chip leader, Shankar Pillai.

Others who can be proud of their day's work include Rens Feenstra (148,400), Kunal Patel (122,700), Noah Boeken (122,200) and 2009 SCOOP Main Event winner Jude Ainsworth (116,000). Current PCA Super High Roller champ Fabian Quoss could still add to the $1.6 million he won yesterday after finishing the day on 65,800, and for Team PokerStars, it was Marcel Luske leading the pack with 106,100.

Luske and the likes of Vanessa Selbst (76,700) and Leo Margets (52,700) will join Day 1A survivors Eugene Katchalov, Liv Boeree and the rest of the PokerStars gang when play starts again tomorrow. But for some, inclduing Barry Greenstein and ElkY, EPT Deauville later this month will be their next chance to win a Main Event after colliding with today's rail.

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It's packed in the Ballroom, but no one's dancing. Yet.

As those making the journey home cross their fingers for clean skies, the rest of today's hangers-on will be getting some much needed rest tonight. If you've got a spare $10,000 lying about, you, too, can join them before play resumes tomorrow. But if not, we've got plenty more stories from a busy day in paradise to keep you entertained.

Why not start with a trip behind the scenes (and the bars) of PokerStars latest TV show, The Shark Cage?. Or find out how Raymond "Aznxray" Chen proved that getting to the PCA through a vortex is just about running good? Vanessa Selbst talked Super High Rollers, overblown egos and demonic possession, while Ike Haxton and David Williams weighed in to chat staking, selling and swapping.

Tales from an engaging Table 15 include that of a free-rolling George Ritchot and his bucket list, and we found out what The Sopranos and this year's PCA have in common with help from actor, Paul Johansson.

Elsewhere, Kevin Lensen and his dad provided a contender for this year's feel-good story of the PCA. Oh, and Andre Akkari was on hand to chat weight-loss and dog hotels. And don't forget your cut-out-and-keep PCA guide.

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Andre Akkari: lover of animals or just barking mad?

Click through for all the rest of our coverage from Day 1B here and we'll see you tomorrow.

Keir Mackay is a copywriter for PokerStars.