WSOP 2011: Stars Shine on Subdued Day 1A
No one ever won the World Series of Poker main event having led on Day 1A. That much is certain, or at least it will remain so until someone can tell me otherwise. It's not just done. Those superstitious statistically would do well to hang back a little, leave the lead to someone else to squander on Day 2.
The opening day of any tournament serves only a preamble, never more so than at the World Series with nine more days of play to steer through before anyone can begin to think of getting hold of a winner's bracelet. Even if we were able to discover who leads tonight, from a field that started with close to 900 players, their status would be notional at best.
Such are the main event logistics that those figures will not be known until shortly before a new crowd arrives to live their version of today in a little less than 12 hours. To this new wave of hopefuls it will be a brand new start. For those attempting to record events it will hopefully prove to be better than its occasionally lifeless predecessor.
Not that the level of play was in any way substandard, quite the contrary, with a handful of top pros, such as Johnny Lodden, Fatima Moreira de Melo and Lex Veldhuis making progress. But there was no denying that the low turnout, down 20 per cent on last year's opening day figure, stripped the day not only of atmosphere but of its usual good cheer.
Once crowded hallways -- the literal rite of passage for players new to the WSOP -- was strangely empty. There were no queues for the bathroom, no sign of the mass of humanity that usually walks together to the smoking area at the break, with just a scattering of loved ones left beyond the rope line waiting for their husbands/ wives and or sweethearts to bust out so they can finally head to the dinner buffet.
There's plenty of time for disappointment to be rectified. If today marked some kind of subtle period of mourning, with the problems of the poker world still raw, then Day 1B might just provide the spark that gets everyone up and running again. Once you steer through the four opening flights the tournament takes care of itself in terms of narrative and excitement, and nobody came all this way to see anything different.
So while tournament staff begin the long process of logging the final scores from today we will return tomorrow for coverage of Day 1B. If you missed any of today's action check back through today's posts for a recap.
The now familiar hallway that separates the Amazon Room to the Rio gaming floor, as well as the distractions along it, still plays an important role at the WSOP, while the effects that the drop in numbers has had was examined with much reference to elephants.
The welcome return of Jason Alexander provided a ray of light as we asked the question of whether typecasting could predict who could be the main event winner. We also dispelled the myth that reaching the dinner break unscathed marked some kind of achievement while keeping the negative waves at bay with an examination of the economic realities facing a place like Las Vegas.
With the progress of a PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo lifted spirits the day was wrapped up with a well-earned hat tip to Doyle Brunson and a look at one of Team PokerStars Pro's best prospects for Main Event success, Lex Veldhuis.
That was today, we'll see you tomorrow at noon.