WSOP 2014: More of the same, to be followed by more of the same
Things are now well under way in the Main Event. The familiarity has already returned, so too the routine, and the tension.
The day starts with more than a thousand people each trying to get into the same room. Amid the buzz players are welcomed by a voice on a loud speaker as they take a seat, all equally matched at this point, with the same chip count, at least until the first hand is dealt.
At breaks the players get up, dig out a phone to give an update to the folks back home. Or dash to the bathroom to work on their aim. Then, with nothing left to do they loiter around waiting for permission to return to their seat, which few wanted to leave in the first place.
At dinner the field, slashed in size by now, does the same thing again, disappearing for a meal that is picked at more than eaten as beats, both good and bad, take priority. Then, streaming back into the tournament room, the stories continue, loosened by the new familiarity of the people at your table.
Elsewhere there were the usual scenes that might be unfamiliar to those on a first trip to Las Vegas, like early morning drinking for example, which may or may not be an environmental protection measure.
Elsewhere close inspection of the field revealed an abundance of Dutch players, eager to free up their Wednesday afternoon to watch Holland play Argentina in the World Cup semi-final. There was also a familiar face, to EPT old-timers at least, that of Scott Bush, who played the EPT Grand Final in Season 1, before beating a hasty retreat back into the arms of real life. Still a recreational player he's on a trip back to Las Vegas ten years later, in a renewed bid to win $10 million.
But while poker is the main thing on people's minds, the motivation often comes from somewhere else, such as that which brought Vanessa Pacella and Nicole Rowe, to the Rio, here for reasons that go far beyond a simple card game.
We signed off with a salute to the old guy at the table, a regular feature who provides gentle reassurance that poker is not yet a game confined to the young.
In terms of the action some prospered, some simply managed, while others fell off the radar completely, among them the ranks of Team Online and Team PokerStars Pro.
While ElkY and Luca Pagano are the only confirmed bust-outs of the bunch, Bryan Huang, Marcin Horecki, Vanessa Selbst and George Danzer will return on Day 2, as will Lex Veldhuis and Liv Boeree.
Tomorrow the last opening flight will arrive and it's expected to be monster. Some 771 players started yesterday, joined today by a further 2,144. As Day 1B came to a close the line to register for Day 1C was already in a state of pandemonium, with anyone yet to play obliged to buy in tomorrow or not at all. It will determine the size of the field and the size of the prize.
That much will be decided tomorrow. Until then, it's goodnight from Las Vegas.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.