WSOP Main Event: Day 1A Wrap-Up

[Note: Chip counts can be found below

by Brad "Otis" Willis

Fatigue is such a subjective thing. For the poker media, the next four days are an endless cycle of Day 1s. For the Day 1 players, fatigue is a 15-hour day of pure concentration. For the dealers, floor people, and cocktail servers, fatigue is a seemingly endless stream of shuffles, decisions, and Red Bulls.

But then think abut the firefighters who are working to put out a huge gas fire sparked by lightning on the other side of town. Or think about the guy in the lobby of the Amazon Ballroom. He's trying to set a record by playing more than 72 consecutive hours of heads-up poker.

Fatigue is a really subjective thing.

As Day 1A of the 2006 World Series of Poker main event draws to a close, we can look back on 15 hours of reports that tell the story of the first batch of PokerStars qualifiers who are vying for a huge $10 million first prize.


The Amazon Ballroom


The line to get into the WSOP tournament room


Pre-game

As we started the day, it was almost sure this event would exceed our expectations. Team PokerStars' Wil Wheaton worked to silence the voices of self doubt. In an interview with Team Blog's Dr. Pauly, Wil gave his fellow Team PokerStars' members a great chance this year.

"Mathematically we're in a very good position to put someone deep into this tournament," Wil said. "Some of the best players in the world are members of Team PokerStars so you can't count them out. From a strict odds point of view, we have a great shot this year." (Read the Wil Wheaton Interview)


Team Blog's Dr Pauly interviews Team PokerStars' (and Team Blogs') Wil Wheaton


While everyone waited for the doors to open, Team Blog's Craig Cunningham stalked the hallways and helped ease the players' anxiety. He wrote, "For those qualifying through PokerStars, these last couple hours were times to rest, relax, and chat with new friends. Michael Edens, David Daniel, and Hector Garza hail from Iowa, Tennessee, and Texas respectively. The only time they'd huddle together would be learning the game at PokerStars or sitting on a bench waiting for their dreams to become reality." (Read Craig Cunningham's report)

Over all, the beginning of Day 1A was just what we all expected: completely unable to predict and completely full of things we didn't expect. (Read Day 1A Begins)

PokerStars Qualifiers

Without question, the biggest story of the day was the absolute sea of PokerStars players in the field. (See the Day 1A photo gallery). It seemed there was no table in the room that didn't have at least one member of the PokerStars family in a seat. Team Blog's C.J. Hoyt took to the task of meeting as many of those folks as he could throughout the day. Early on, he found a table he couldn't help but appreciate. He dubbed half the players "The PokerStars Five."


The PokerStars Five


Outfitted with five PokerStars youngsters, the table quickly became Team Blog's favorite. At one point in the evening, C.J. heard Nate "Jimmytogni" Kelley say, "We don't want them to separate us."

Nate Kelley -- Photo Copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI
Nate Kelley


C.J. spent the day tracking as many PokerStars qualifiers as he could find. If you were playing in Day 1A, you shoud check out all of these reports he filed.

PokerStars: It's Everywhere
Don't get involved too early
Furious Action
The Hot Glare
Is the Luckbox Unlucky
Quad Queens for "toocharming"
Suited Aces for Nate Kelley

Team Blog's Mad Harper spent the day doing what she does best: using her ever-lovin' charm to chat up some of PokerStars players and get the real story on how they got here. Check out her reports on:

Marcus Bowers
Irishlust

As the day drew to a close, Team Blog checked out the late-runners. Craig Cunningham found a few players who had maintained their silence throughout the day, including one woman who refused to count her chips.

Perhaps the most successful PokerStars qualifier of the day was Peter "jaxtraw" Falk. Late in the evening, Falk had nearly octupled his stack and was telling jokes at the table. (Read about Peter "jaxtraw" Falk here)



PokerStars Players on the Featured Table

As Craig Cunningham wrote, "After players register, they receive a card that indicates their table and seat assignment. The tables have signage hanging overhead, all tables except for one. Table 67 has scaffolding and lighting above it, and it sits on a raised platform surrounded on two sides by bleachers and all sides by cameramen. Table 67, you see, is the ESPN Feature table."

Poker is hard enough without all the lights and pressure of the hole card cams. At the same time, sitting at the Feature Table is a ticket to instant fame. No doubt, these were players we were going to keep an eye on. Cunningham made it a point to keep his eyes peeled (so much so that he figured out the table was playing the wrong blind levels even before the floor man did).

Check out Cunningham's reports:

Where's Table 67? Oh, yeah! Under the lights.
Sometimes Survival's Enough
Feature Table Becomes Must Move

Team PokerStars

While PokerStars qualifiers received a lot of attention today, there was still a great necessity in keeping track of PokerStars big names in the field. Team PokerStars has high hopes for this WSOP and we're not about to ignore them. Wil Wheaton had a disappointing early day and was out before the dinner break. Bill Chen never really could get his day going. Luca Pagano suffered much the same fate. Barry Greenstein had a rollercoaster day and survived late into the night. Katja Thater doubled her stack early and then turned very quiet as the night drew late. Team Blog was on the case all day. Check out these stories on Team PokerStars:

Wil Wheaton Pre-Game Interview (Dr. Pauly)
Keep Cool With Luca Pagano (Howard Swains)
Zen Patience and Barry Greenstein (Team PokerStars update) (Dr. Pauly)
Late night Team PokerStars update (Dr Pauly)

Luca Pagano -- Photo Copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI
Luca Pagano

Photo Copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI
Bill Chen


Covering the Aussies

With Joe Hachem reigning as the world champion, there's a lot of attention being paid to the Aussies today. Our Aussie on the case is Ali Lightman. She spent the day keeping tabs on Emmad Tahtouh, the man who inspired Joe Hachem to enter the WSOP last year. At one point, Ali found Tahtouh in quite a pickle. She wrote:

Emad Tahtouh seems less worried about his short stack he has to play this afternoon, than about the razzing he's going to get from Joe Hachem, when the World Champion finds out about the bluff that has decimated his, earlier, very healthy stack.

"I made a crazy move", he said "Joe is going to kick my arse".


Photo Copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI
Emad Tahtouh


Check out all of Ali's Aussie reports from Day 1:

Emad Tahtouh Update
Emad's Crazy Bluff
If a butterfly flaps its wings (a goodbye to Emad)
Gary Benson exits early

What's amazing about everything you just read is that it is only 25% of the action we'll see before we actually get to the official Day 2. It will be Tuesday of next week before any of the today's Day 1A players will play in the WSOP again. In the meantime, we'll turn our attention to the Day 1B, 1C, and 1D players. With 8610 players registered (and apparently more coming in every hour), there is no telling how big this tournament will be before the end of the weekend.

See the whole PokerStars 2006 WSOP Day 1A Index

Day 1A Chip Counts:

(please note, omissions or additions may have been made due different name spellings on WSOP lists)

MATTHEW MAROON $83,150
AARON CLARK $78,925
ERIK FRIBERG $77,675
CUONG VAN DO $73,125
PETER FALK $67,575
ERIK GOMEZ $57,775
ANDREW BROKOS $57,300
PAUL HARKLEROAD $55,675
ANDREAS VILLAND $52,600
JESSE MARTIN $52,450
ARTURO MORALES $52,200
RYAN YOUNG $50,575
JOHN MAGILL $50,275
BRIAN KOOPERMAN $46,625
SIDNEY HASSON $45,625
WILLIAM NORTH $45,250
ABOUAF DAN $43,625
JON NAKATANI $43,575
MARK HANDLEY $43,500
ALBERT SROUR $42,875
CRAIG SCHEWE $41,250
YARON WASSERMAN $40,000
IAN BAKER $39,050
MATTHEW RUNDELL $38,875
DEREK SCHWERZLER $38,800
JAY LEWMAN $38,450
DANNY WALKER $38,150
DARRYL DARE $37,975
GORDON CROSS $37,625
ALAN FIDELO $37,350
SETH COHEN $37,350
ALEX BRIGANTE $37,075
MARK OWENS $36,675
VIET TRAN $35,700
CHRIS GEORGE $35,125
MOE PARVAN $35,050
BRUCE S. COPELAND $34,225
PAUL SMITH $33,775
STEVEN BOYLE $33,400
DOUGLAS KIM $32,800
JAMES MCLEOD $32,400
SCOTT DEPPE $32,300
MATT BALTZ $31,350
SUPOT CHAIMUNGKLA $31,325
RICHARD GOODING $30,300
SCOTT MIGHTON $30,000
CHRIS DOW $29,900
BRIAN GASS $29,300
ROBERT SANDERS $29,025
VINCENT IANNUZZI $29,025
DARREN BRANDES $28,850
NICK EGIDE $27,800
KELLY CONTRERAS $26,875
PATRICK GRIFFIN $26,750
JOHN COITO $25,650
MICHAEL EDENS $25,300
GREGORY T. SPENCE $25,250
DEAN JOHNSON $25,050
KEVIN MANLEY $24,850
KIRK FELLOWS $24,850
KATJA THATER $24,550
GARY JONES $24,525
JIM MORRIS $23,375
MANUEL LABANDEIRA $22,950
QASIM TIWANA $22,725
RICK MOMBOURQUETTE $22,250
GREG GIANNOKOSTAS $22,025
SAM HIATT $21,700,
RAY UY $21,550,
JONATHAN REGO $21,150,
PAUL COLES $21,075,
JOHN EILERMANN $20,650,
JOSHUA BIRD $20,500,
JOSH BRENNER $20,225
C. SHAWN STEWART $19,925
JAMES GOODMAN $19,450
RONALD NIXON $19,450
BLAKE BUFFINGTON $19,275
RAY RYDER $19,100
CHRISTIAN FOSTER $19,000
JOHN PIRES $18,975
KENNETH J. RALSTON $18,725
GARY RINGHOFER $18,425
NORMAN BRYAN $18,400
SOL BERGREN $17,875
JONATHAN GREENHALGH $17,750
NOAH BOEKEN $16,850
DAN FINKLEMAN $16,750
SUNIL PADIYAR $16,425
THOMAS J. ADAMS $16,350
GARY BROADDUS $15,700
WADE GRAHAM $15,625
MARK HANNA $15,575
JOHNNY L WOOD $15,300
SHAWN GLINES $15,225
SUMIT KUMAR $15,150
EUGENE TODD $15,100
JACK WOODEN $14,675
JOHN DUTHIE $14,675
JOSEPH CORDI $14,675
DAVID GALLELLO $14,250
TESTUD PAUL $14,250
RODNEY JENNINGS $14,075
TAMMY ROCCO $13,875
TONY PETRUZZI $12,775
JON TURNER $12,725
ED LATIF $12,625
JARED LISSAUER $12,175
REUBEN PETERS $11,800
THOMAS BOHMER $11,625
< MAXIM DOLINSKY $10,950
DAVID PENLY $10,450
ERIC MILLER $9,750
JOHN WOOTON $8,675
BILGER RAPHAEL $8,625
CHRIS MADRID $8,600
ADRIENNE ROWSOME $8,250
MICHAEL A KINGSBURY $7,750
JOE EBANKS $6,950
JOHN MICHAEL $6,650
HARINAM KHALSA $6,525
DAVID SANBONMATSU $6,225
CAMERON WARREN $5,700
CHARLES PRICE $5,175
JAMES OLSON $3,990
HECTOR GARZA $3,650
DAVID ATRUBIN $1,125

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker