WSOP Main Event: Short Day 1A kicks off poker's biggest event

wsop2009_thn.gifAs far as we know, it is not written in any poker bible that every tournament Day 1 must be a blistering marathon that leaves the players a blubbering mess at the end.

That understood, never before at the World Series have we left a Day 1 and thought, "Well, that went fast."

Until today.

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For an as-yet unexplained reason, the WSOP tournament staff decided to cut a level out of all four Day 1 flights. That meant all 1,116 players came in, played two levels, went to an early dinner, and came back for two more levels. Easy-bodeezy.

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Peter Kaemmerlen. a Pokerstars qualifier, stretches for the sprint

As always the Amazon Room was a sea of PokerStars qualifiers and Team Pros. Most survived the afternoon and evening. Though a shortened day, there were casualties to report.

St. Louis rapper Nelly and former major league pitcher Orel Hershiser drew the cameras and railbirds like flies, but couldn't manage to attract any chips. They were both eliminated shortly after the dinner break. German stars Jan Heitmann and George Danzer hit the rail early, too.

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The survivors came through the day in greater number, with some of PokerStars most prolific and successful tourney players still in the mix going to Day 2. Steve Paul-Ambrose (6,900), Lex Veldhuis (75,000), Raymond Rahme (57,000), Katja Thater (37,500), Jason Mercier (38,000), John Duthie (25,000), Johannes Strassmann (20,000), Juan Manuel Pastor (48,000), Sandra Naujoks (16,500) all made it through.

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If there is a take away story of the day though, it is this: This very well could be the Summer of George. Friend of PokerStars Jason Alexander went on a massive tear in the last level of the night to move his chip stack to the 75,000.

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Day 1 begins again with the B flight Saturday at noon. No word yet on the number of runners, but due to the holiday, we expect another light day before the two big flights on Sunday and Monday.

If you would like to check out coverage in a different language, we'd welcome you over at the PokerStars Swedish, Dutch, German, and Spanish blogs.

As always, we have a treasure trove full of great interviews and stories over at, like this one from Alexander, who suggests it may be time for movie stars to rule the world.

Watch WSOP 2009: Jason Alexander says let movie stars run the world! on

If you missed any of the coverage of the day, take a look back at any of the links below.

Ready to play
It's getting hot in here, I'm sitting with T-Bone
The new European force
Marcier on course and Spindler spun
PokerStars' movie star
Rahme rolls on

Until tomorrow, adieu.