2008 World Series: The field swells

And so, it begins again.

As we have for the past three days, we returned to the Rio Hotel and Casino at around noon today and were surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of poker players ready for their shot at the World Series main event. We started this thing with day 1A on Thursday, and day-on-day the field has grown until today, the final of the four starting days, there are players spilling out of the vast Amazon Room and into the Brasilia Room, the Tropical Room, the makeshift room beside the seafood restaurant and the main casino's poker room.


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PokerStars qualifier Becky Montague battles through the crowd to take her seat in the main event

As I type, the total number of entrants is posted as 6,810. Oops. Make that 6,811 as another player finds the last $10,000 chip in their pocket and exchanges it for a main event ticket. Sorry, make it 6,812.

Among those who bought in many months ago are [6,813] Team PokerStars Pros Victor Ramdin, Hevad Khan and Dario Minieri, the final three representatives of the Team to take their seats in the tournament. None of them will take issue if I describe them as primarily boom-or-bust players: each will either likely take an early walk or be sitting behind huge mountains of chips by the end of the day. Either way, you'll hear about it all here.

6,814, 6,815, 6,816.

Already through to day two are John Duthie, Vanessa Rousso, Bill Chen, Chris Moneymaker, ElkY, Joe Hachem, Noah Boeken, Isabele Mercier and Vicky Coren. PokerStars sponsored players Kathy Liebert and Kara Scott have also joined the esteemed day two players, and Kara in particular has reason to celebrate. She bagged up more than 110,000 chips last night.

6,817, 6818, 6,819 .... wow ... 6,828.

Today, of course, is another day. And another day means another sea of hopefuls with a starting stack of 20,000 in chips, and a long way to go before they see any real money again. Our PokerStars sponsored brood has swelled to include Germany's George Danzer, Australia's Grant Levy, Anton Allemann, from Switzerland, and the now-familiar PokerStars player Kirill Gerasimov, from Russia.

We also have a fighter and a bulldog on the team today.

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Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell is best known as one of the brawlers from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and today he finds himself on the feature table with self-styled poker brat Phil Hellmuth. There will be blood. Meanwhile David Wells, the former baseball pitcher, is also on the PokerStars sponsored mound. We'll be trying to dodge his fastballs all day.

Plenty of those also in with a great chance of taking home some hard cash are wearing the PokerStars colours as online satellite qualifiers.


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PokerStars qualifier Dan Fisher prepares for his shot at World Series glory

We have another two hundred or so representing PokerStars playing today, and my guess is that at least five of them will be in the top 20 in chips by the end of the day. We wait to find out their identities.

If you happen to know any qualifiers in the field today, feel free to shoot us an e-mail at blog@pokerstars.com 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.

After the regular introductions from tournament director Jack Effel, World Series commissioner Jeffrey Pollack and, making a guest appearance today, US Congressman Robert Wexler, he cards are now in the air. We'll be sweeping the room imminently to catch up with our players and learn about the early movers. Then there'll be five two-hour levels of intense competition until we bag up at the end of an exceptionally long day at the World Series.

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.

Yesterday's opening instalment of a three-part profile of Hevad Khan drew 20,000 views overnight. Here it is again, showing how last year's final table player and Team PokerStars Pro warms up for this year's main event. The next two parts will follow today, so stay tuned.


Watch WSOP: Hevad Khan's House (Part One) on PokerStars.tv

Oh, and it's up to 6,832 at last count, and still increasing.