2008 World Series: Starting again in the main event

Time to start all over again. This is all part of the opening day déjà vu that will strike three times before next Tuesday heralds the start of the true day two. For today though over a thousand new players, most with little interest in what happened yesterday, or what will follow this weekend, will put their focus and energy into the next 13 hours of poker.

Yesterday 1,297 players did the same; their 20,000 chips and poker destiny laid out in front of them with all the power to change their world in their hands. It’s never that easy of course. The day was punctuated by the landscape of wall to wall players, tension, excitement and the telltale indicators of the sheer misery that a full five levels can inflict on a player. But who cares about that? This is the main event.


PokerStars qualifier Noble Simpson of Louisiana

Yesterday the legend that is Wayne Newton graced the Amazon Room to bark the command of ‘shuffle up and deal’; with a backdrop of Vegas majorettes and the chipper sound of a marching band behind him. ut with today being the 4th July the pre-tournament pomp and ceremony required a little more with country music star Andy Griggs belting out a top draw rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, raising a cheer from the sea of standing players. Last years’ champion Jerry Yang then gave today’s order to start dealing.


Country singer Andy Griggs

If you learn one thing fast here it’s that nothing is certain. As yesterday was quick to demonstrate, small stacks can quickly become big stacks, and the jovial look on the faces of the well off can quickly mutate into red-eyes and a walk toward the door, usually with a phone in hand as they make the decision of who to call first. Illusions are smashed pretty fast.

That trip was experienced by around 650 players yesterday, the kind of lingering ache that is partly responsible for bringing them back year on year to try again. Included in that were Team PokerStars Pros who sent eight players into the fray with all but two busted before the close after a rough day at the felt.

Last year’s main event third place finisher Raymond Rahme and former bracelet winner Katja Thater were among the first to go, to be followed soon after by Tuan Lam and Chad Brown. That wasn’t all. Despite early heroics from Luca Pagano - looking to cast aside his World Series priors in favour of something more akin to his European and online form - his tournament was over with the finishing line in sight. A set over set escapade late on that dealt a viscous end for the Italian.

The scene was far rosier for Team PokerStars Pro Noah Boeken. The Dutchman played a day of few grand gestures frequently found within the confines of the Amazon room – none of the whoops and hollers - ending the day with 30,775 and a well earned four day break before day two. He’ll be joined there by Barry Greenstein, less endowed with 21,500 chips, but if anyone has shown this year that stack size can be immaterial, it’s Barry.

Alongside the hundreds of players lining up today will be a new cast of Team PokerStars Pros, among them former World Champions Greg Raymer and Tom McEvoy, as well as Daniel Negreanu, EPT creator John Duthie, Vanessa Rousso, new addition to the team William Thorson, Humberto Brenes and Vicky Coren. That should give us something to chew on.

That’s all to come. There are, of course, some of the 2008 players who won their seat here on PokerStars, the thousands who have made the World Series into the event that it is today. We’ll bring the news of those players as well as Team PokerStars Pro as the day begins, breaks and ends.

Please feel free to e-mail us at blog@pokerstars.com if a friend or family member has qualified for the main event. Put "URGENT WSOP Main Event" in the subject line, and tell us something about the player so that we can introduce ourselves, pass on messages of support and, most importantly, keep you updated on their progress. The more colour you can give us concerning your friend, the more we can write: how did they qualify, what game do they usually play, who are they here with, what text messages are they sending you as they progress? With any luck, and a great deal of skill, we will be able to tell you all about their progress deep into the money.

Throughout the day you can also keep tabs on the latest chip counts, who’s in and who’s already on their way home by clicking here. And don’t forget the great coverage from the PokerStars video blog team with an archive you can browse at your will by visiting the website.

That’s it for introductions, time to play. In the meantime here's a wrap up of yesterday's action from the PokerStars video blog team...

Watch WSOP 08: July 3rd Day 1a Update on PokerStars.tv