2008 World Series: The second half of the first day
Hello one and all and welcome back to the Rio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, for the third day one of the 2008 championship event of the World Series of Poker. This is Day 1C, and by the end of it we will be three quarters through this opening day and three elevenths through this first stage of the richest tournament of the year. As we know, the last nine will return in November for the final table.
It's still a long time until we decide those nine but they'll have to survive today to have any chance. Significantly more than 600 players will fail to do that today: dreams will be busting all day long until we bag up at around 1am.
As ever, the field is stocked with professionals and amateurs alike; Team PokerStars Pro and PokerStars qualifiers, all well equipped to take a long and spectacular run into the heavy money. Two players with ample experience in either role are former World Champions Joe Hachem and Chris Moneymaker, both of whom are starting their new assault on the World Series today.
Hachem has finally be wrestled away from the opulence of his Champions Lounge in the Rio, where there's deep-pile carpet, sofas to swallow up anyone who sits upon them, board games, a pool table, fussball, video consoles and plenty of refreshment. It's been pretty tough to prise a pool cue out of Joe's hand for the past week, but he's been tempted away by the 20,000 in chips representing a $10,000 buy in into the big dance. The 2005 champion and Team PokerStars Pro ambassador is the star attraction on one of the two feature tables.
Moneymaker had enjoyed a light Series to date, sensibly preferring to ante up in just a handful of events, allowing him time to spend with his wife and young daughter back in Tennessee. He returned to Vegas last week, in time to meet up with his Team Moneymaker players for a boot camp yesterday afternoon. On the fifth anniversary of his spinning of a $39 PokerStars satellite win into $2.5million world title, PokerStars offered a batch of lucky $39 spin-up tickets and the holders received some last-minute words of advice from the main man, alongside Moneymaker's friend Donald Hobbs. Read all about it HERE.
Also wearing the Team colours today are a number of other highly notables in this monstrous field. Team PokerStars Pros Andre Akkari, Isabelle Mercier, ElkY, Bill Chen, Gavin Griffin and Steve Paul-Ambrose are staking their claim. We'll catch up with them all through the five two-hour levels of play today.
As ever, there'll also be a lot of colour provided by the PokerStars qualifiers. Another hefty chunk of the 2,008 who qualified at PokerStars are now seated before me in the Amazon Room. Stay tuned for updates. If you happen to know any qualifiers in the field today, feel free to shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us a bit about your friend. We can then catch up with them, pass on messages, take their photo and get them featured on the blog. Put "URGENT WSOP Main Event" in the subject line and and we'll follow it up as soon as we can.
Remember also that you can catch up on all the video footage from our video bloggers over at PokerStars.tv. You'll also find an archive of previous coverage and details of how to enter our PokerStars.tv daily freeroll tournament.
As ever, it's going to be a busy one. Stay tuned.