WSOP Main Event Day 1D: End of the beginning - the sequel


For poker players days like today are days to dream. Excitement was turned up when, after two levels, registration was closed on this year's main event, sending officials back to their calculators to work out what that would mean financially. The outcome was enough to make your drop your bags and call this place home.

The reason? After four days of the Main Event's entry level the numbers have been locked in. Totals for players, prize pool and the size of cheque the winner will walk away with sometime in November, have all been settled, and it's all worth sticking around for.

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The main stage in the Amazon Room

This incarnation of the world's greatest poker tournament is now officially the second biggest live poker tournament ever staged, behind only to its 2006 cousin. The effect on prize money, and the lives of those who win it, is colossal.

With 7,319 players paying the $10,000 buy-in, either from their own pocket or via the discount fast track system that comes with online qualification, the prize pool was unveiled as measuring 68,798,600 dollars high, guaranteeing that this year's winner will be $8,944,138 richer. It's enough to make any poker player worth their buffet coupon feel warm inside, particularly those who still have chips to come back to.

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And after four flights of day one we now know who does and who doesn't have a shot at poker's richest prize. Don't misunderstand, the field of more than 2,000 that arrived today remains largely unrecognisable, but for a few faces that pop out of the scenery like meerkats as you scan the Amazon Room horizon. But there's a new World Champion of Poker out there somewhere, we just have to find them.

We're still days away from the money and the several thousand players still in the running this year would be wise to remember the old adage that the Main Event is a marathon not a sprint.

But those hard to catch today, who finish towards the top of the class, include the Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier and Anh van Nguyen, each of who exploded towards the front of the pack, finishing on (and these are approximate) 120,000 and 128,000 respectively.

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Jason Mercier

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Anh van Nguyen

They'll be joined on day two by the following:

Amanda de Cesare - 55,000
Vanessa Selbst - 43,000
Humberto Brenes - 63,000
Barry Greenstein - 53,625

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Vanessa Rousso -- 125,000

Johannes Steindl - 9,000
George Danzer - 21,000
Jason Alexander -- 37,825
Alex Kravchenko - 26,000
Bill Chen -- 72,600

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William Thorson - 58,000

Hevad Khan - 15,000
Steve Paul - 48,000

Sadly, they'll be no repeat of the 2005 classic for Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem who busted, although causalities in the Team Pro department were light today with just Nacho Barbero and Noah Boeken joining Hachem on the rail.

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Former World Champion Joe Hachem

Make that Hachems, brother Tony was also a day one faller.

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Tony Hachem

Proof, if ever was actually needed, that qualifying on PokerStars is still the cheapest route to a day of fame and fortune came thanks to the PokerStars qualifiers Michiel Sijpkens (170,000), Aaron Gustavson (145,000) and Matt Reed (130,000) who each bagged up useful stacks which they'll return to on Saturday.

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Aaron Gustavson

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Matt Reed

So to tomorrow when a new day dawns in the World Series Main Event. We call it day two, and they'll be two of them, the first a combination of fields from days 1A and 1C amounting to 2,412 players, before the B's and D's return on Saturday.

In times of quiet reflection I imagine that whatever has gone on today, be it Emmitt Smith's introduction or the latest from Vanessa Selbst, will be read again by someone somewhere, perhaps even you, hence the practical links I've included below.

The end of the beginning
Superbowl shuffle up and deal
Best but worst seat in the house
The fall and rise of Peter Traply
The Selbst way
Second biggest WSOP in the making
Amanda de Cesare, Poker Star
Jason Mercier and the East Coast entourage
World Series of Kravchenko

That takes us into tomorrow, and while the younger clientele of the Palms hotel 'Ditch Friday,' mixing it with bronzed kids in swimsuits, partying under parasols and the influence from 9am, the rest of us will return to the Amazon Room wearing elasticised waistbands and comfortable shoes for another day at the World Series. We'll be joined by the German, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish bloggers, all different shades of pale, each of whom provide coverage in their native tongue.

Also, we want to hear your stories, so send your e-mails to telling us about yourself and your journey here. We'll do our best to tell the world about it. And if you're still begging for more check out the videos on

Till tomorrow then.

All photography from Las Vegas on PokerStars Blog is (c) Joe Giron/
Joe Giron Photography.