WSOP 2011: Same faces, new start
Each of the 2,031 players taking their seats today had to navigate one day's play for the right to do so. We, however, have worked through four Day 1s, so the prospect of moving up to the Day 2 stage brings some relief to these tired eyes and legs. That's not to say the Day 1s were a chore; far from it. It's just that no-one ever won a tournament on Day 1, no-one even runs away with a chip lead. Instead, it's an acclimatisation process for the players, one that really only necessitates the ability to survive with a stack that can be used to their advantage when they come back.
For those who got through their first day at the felt with the minimum, maybe only a sprinkling of chips, today's early stages should be decisive: the time will soon come when they must make a leap of faith, shoving those chips in the middle. Either they go out heroically chasing the double-up, or succeed and build a stack capable of keeping them in relative security.
Many have done it before, of course, and that is what will keep the shorties in high spirits. At least until that first all-in confrontation.
Team PokerStars Pros back at the felt today will not need to worry about that just yet. France's Arnaud Mattern is the lowest in chips from our stable with 15,125, but with blinds starting today at 250-500 with a 50 ante, he has plenty of breathing room for the first few levels at least.
Leading the whole pack is Day 1A chip leader Fred Berger on 209,500, while the highest-placed Team PokerStars Pro is Sebastian Ruthenberg, from Germany, with 117,000. Joining him from the PokerStars team will be Fatima Moreira de Melo (91,500), Lex Veldhuis (82,350), JP Kelly (80,525), Humberto Brenes (80,175), Juan Maceiras (79,850), Christophe de Meulder (65,700), Jason Alexander (63,150), Marcel Luske (62,250), Bryan Huang (61,150), Joe Cada (58,225), Julien Brecard (46,650), Tom McEvoy (45,000), Ville Wahlbeck (44,050), Daniel Negreanu (41,175), Jonathan Duhamel (41,150), Greg de Bora (40,450), George Danzer (38,500), Mathias de Meudler (33,850), Johnny Lodden (30,925), Bill Chen (30,825), Jason Mercier (28,650), Vicky Coren (27,150), Jan Heitmann (27,000), Pat Pezzin (24,600), Dennis Phillips (21,900), Arnaud Mattern (15,125).
Despite now being in Day 2, we're not expecting to reach the money stages until some time on Day 4. There is a long, long way to go.
Play is due to begin at noon, with Duhamel, the defending world champion, getting things under way with the shuffle-up-and-deal announcement.
While we wait for things to start, here's a pleasant way to pass a few minutes: it's Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree talking last night about her Day 1...