WSOP 2011: Day one ends on a high as play enters next phase
We may not know the detail about how this year's Main Event is likely to evolve, but we do know this: a grand total of 6,865 players have now played their opening day. All now have their first day story and some may even be home already. All of them have received a free pair of slippers and most are now used to queuing for the bathroom.
We also know that the eventual winner has probably walked passed us in the hallway, might even have been in the line ahead of us for coffee this morning, or in the next booth at dinner. We also know that while we don't know their exact identity, whoever it is will walk away from the Rio with $8,711,956 in November, and that's the third biggest prize in poker history.
With the opening day now complete there's a whole lot of unclenching going on. The media, the players and the organisers had braced themselves for an unwelcomed dip in numbers in 2011. Instead, we stand poised for the third biggest main event in WSOP history.
The crowds in the Pavilion Room
Whatever the legalities, it's now time to cancel all further appointments with doom and gloom. Poker stays, and what's more events in the Amazon Room are about to ratchet up a notch, with four days' of survivors about to take a step, albeit a small one, towards poker's ultimate prize.
Those that took that step today survived one the largest day one fields (if not the biggest) in history, a day that started with nervous energy and ended in quiet relief.
After first discounting suggestions of poker's gradual demise, news broke that Holly Madison, a former Playboy Playmate no less, was in the Amazon Room to get things warmed up for Day 1D, much to the delight of thousands of players and blogger Simon Young who's had a spring in his step until dinner, after which he continued to walk like his normal self.
Holly Madison welcomed players to Day 1D
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier busts out of the main event
What part does lady luck play in an event like this? Eugene Castro found out the hard way as play rattled on, often in front of diehard fans with little or no chance of seeing any action. Did they care - no, but we suggested a heroic, if unlikely suggestion, to broadcast tournament poker across the airwaves to fans all over the world. SuperNova Elite Spencer Cossette got the in-depth treatment
before the official numbers came through on the wire to reassure the world that poker was indeed here to stay. Profiles of Team PokerStars Pros Theo Jorgensen and Noah Boeken, as well as Million Dollar Challenge winner Mike Kosowski, each of whom played and survived today, brought the day's coverage to a close.
Just a few hands of play remain tonight before this crowd takes the day off tomorrow, replaced by another crowd - the combined fields of days 1A and 1C; some 2,031 players in total, returning for a 12pm start.
Our coverage will continue then with all the scores from tonight. Until 12pm tomorrow, it's good night from Las Vegas.