WSOP Main Event Day 1A: Moments away from the start of history
Good afternoon all and welcome to the Rio Hotel and Casino Las Vegas for the start of the World Series Main Event. As ever, this is the big one. It's poker's richest tournament, its biggest field, its most prestigious prize.
It's also typically the tournament that launches poker's newest stars: just ask Joe Cada, Peter Eastgate, Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker, who have all gathered every chip available at this monstrous event over the years.
As ever, an army of players have arrived to the Rio fresh from the PokerStars tables, qualifying for the $10,000 event often for no more than a handful of FPPs or less money than you might spend on a couple of beers. The online qualification route to the big dance is still the most efficient path to the millionaire status enjoyed by the most successful.
It could be you. And if it's not you, we'll do our best over the coming couple of weeks to introduce to you some of the people who it really could be.
Day one lasts for four days. We have day 1A today, day 1B tomorrow, day 1C on Wednesday and day 1D on Thursday. We then move on to day two, which lasts two days - day 2A on Friday and day 2B on Saturday. And on the seventh day we rest. (And go watch Snoop Dogg at Rain at the Palms.)
Play is due to start at noon in the vast Amazon Room at the Rio, although there is usually a brief delay as more than 2,000 eager players flit around looking for their seats. The tournament officials also like to big this one up - and why not? - and the very process of saying "Shuffle up and deal!" can often take about 15 minutes.
Most likely, play will get started at around 12.15pm and the plan for the day is to play four two-hour levels. And then a bonus half-level. There will also be a 90 minute dinner break tucked in there somewhere, so the day will likely last until around about 11.30pm.
Media restrictions permit us to post one update per hour to PokerStars Blog. And we'll do precisely that. We'll be focusing on Team PokerStars Pro, plus the array of PokerStars qualifiers. If you hear any stories, or want us to track anyone in particular, then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we wait for the Main Event action to begin, it's time to take another look...
AROUND THE TABLES
There's no doubt that the Main Event is, well, the Main Event, but it's by no means the only event that has been going on over the past couple of days. Yesterday, the Tournament of Champions played down from 17 to a winner, with Team Pokerstars Pro well represented.
Joe Hachem, Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu took fourth, fifth and six, for $25,000 each, in a tournament won by Huck Seed. You'll be able to see the action on a television near you soon.
The $10,000 pot limit Omaha Championship reached its conclusion, with Daniel Alaei winning his third bracelet. The Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko finished in eighth place, winning $85,180 for his third final table appearance of the Series.
Meanwhile the final two "preliminary" events also played down to a final table and will be concluded today. All Italian eyes will be fixed on the $2,500 no limit hold 'em event, where Salvatore Bonavena, playing his first World Series wearing the PokerStars logo, is chip leader going into the final table.
Bonavena can complete a unique Triple Crown today. He is already a champion on the EPT and the IPT and adding a WSOP bracelet would be a crowning achievement. We'll keep one eye on that event this afternoon.
QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"Can you use your connections to get me on the feature table?" -- anonymous PokerStars qualifier overestimates the influence of PokerStars Blog.
PHOTO OP OF THE HOUR
Several hundred eager players crowding against the Rio hallway ropes waiting to run to their seats in the Amazon Room.
PROMISE OF THE HOUR
"When they tell me I can let you in, I will let you in." --Security guard to aforementioned hundreds of people crowding against the ropes.
DESCRIPTION OF THE HOUR
"One of the key activists working to protect the rights of poker players everywhere who play our great game." Jack Effel introduces Greg Raymer.