WSOP 2013: Where there's smoke, there's Day 1A
Sometimes the only thing that needs said is this: It was a Day 1A.
The first flight of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event was by all accounts the cautious, quiet toe in the water that precedes the devil-may-care plunge WSOP organizers expect before registration closes. A modest field filed in for the start of the summer's most prestigious tournament. In all, 943 players sat down today, a number that can be interpreted in any number of ways, but is best left alone until we see what happens tomorrow and Monday in the other two flights.
It began with a fire, as many good stories do. The high peaks that divide Sin City from a vast expanse of nothing were ablaze, a sight that had nothing to do with the beginning of the 2013 WSOP Main Event, but captured the attention of anyone who turned his eyes north.
And if you were looking for a metaphor, there it was. No one could see the fire from the Rio, but they could see the smoke. Everyone knew what was underneath. Today's smaller field was the WSOP smoke. Harrahs' brass say we'll see the fire in over the next two days.
For now, again, it must be said: It was a Day 1A. It was a day with no weirdoes. It was a day where the breaks offered more to watch than the poker. No matter what happened on the edge of town, there was poker to be played here at the Rio, and TD Jack Effel made sure they knew it.
Players were promised a 13-hour day, and they got one. Among the 943 starters was a small but determined crowd under the flag of the big red spade. Eight members of Team PokerStars Pro and Team Online played low-key poker. Their progress was as muted as the field itself. Tatiana Barausova and Joe Cada spent most of their day (ahem) entertaining the feature table crowd, while George Lind, Vicky Coren, Ivan Demidov, Luca Pagano, and Toni Judet worked to keep a foothold.
The Teams' fortunes were mostly the same...a quiet, steady climb to earn enough chips to come back on Day 2A Tuesday. Most were successful. PokerStars' friend Jason Alexander was not. Alas, he didn't make it to sundown.
In the days ahead, the number of red spades in the field will start to stand out. There are dozens more Team Pros and members of Team Online limbering up their raising fingers. When they come will be determined by a lot of factors, not the least of which is whether they are still alive in the remaining preliminary events. The remaining field of the $10,000 PLO event has an admirable Team Pro presence and could turn out the Team's first bracelet of the 2013 WSOP (something several Team members have already come very close to achieving).
We will keep an eye on all of that, but for now it's time to call it a night. We, of course, will be back for the start of play on Day 1B, noon local time Sunday. Join us then, or kill some time reading back over our coverage from Day 1A.
Until then, goodnight from Las Vegas.