WSOP 2016: Biggest Day 1 flight in history yields to Day 2
If you say nothing of poker players, say this: they love a good deadline.
Just after 8pm tonight, registration on the 2016 World Series of Poker closed, and anyone who still wanted a seat in the Main Event realized they were going to have to wait until 2017. Day 1C was the last chance to get in on a $63 million prize pool, and the late-comers filled the Rio like never before.
By the time the last person bought in, the Day 1C flight was the biggest single-day heat of any WSOP in history. In total, 6,737 players signed up for the WSOP Main Event. Of that number, 4,240 showed up to play today. It was, by any measure, a madhouse.
According to the WSOP, this will mark the fifth-largest Main Event prize pool in history. More than 1,000 players will get paid, with the winner taking home $8 million.
Now there is just the matter of getting rid of all these people and finding a champion.
Main Event Flight C draws record 4,240. Main Event officially draws 6,737, highest in 5 years and 5th largest all-time. $63,327,800 pool— WSOP (@WSOP) July 12, 2016
In some cases, that very mission--the one to cull this crowd to a reasonable level--has resulted in some early and ugly exits. Randy Lew was the first member of Team PokerStars to go looking for his car, kicking himself as he went and wondering just where it all went wrong.
What Lew may not have known was that Daniel Negreanu was doing very little laughing. The most noticeable peril of the day came as last year's superhero suffered a series of unfortunate events that left him hobbling to the end of the day. He vowed strength, tweeting, "During last year's Main Event run I spent a long stretch with 20 blinds. Only difference this year is I'm there on Day One."
At the beginning of the very last level of the day, Negreanu's grind paid off. He managed to double up to near 40,000 with kings versus tens and secure himself a spot in Day 2.
Meanwhile, Negreanu's fellow Team Pros approached their first flight from different angles. Chris Moneymaker abandoned his stack to campaign for regulated online poker in America. Brazilians Felipe Ramos and Andre Akkari heard some of this WSOP action will be headed to their country. Jake Cody spent an entire day trying to figure out how to make second-best win. Meanwhile, Celina Lin was just happy to survive longer than she did last year.
She did better than that. In fact, her performance outshined most of her Team Pro family.
As play edges to finishing time tonight, the remaining PokerStars crew is left clinging to the hope they'll be able to join their teammates who already finished in the earlier heats. Tomorrow, those players from Day 1A & 1B will fight to make Day 3. Here's who we'll be looking for behind the PokerStars patches:
Vanessa Selbst: 133,900
Marc-Andre Ladouceur: 103,700
Jennifer Shahade: 62,800
Fatima Moreira de Melo: 60,000
Victor Ramdin: 60,000
Aditya Agarwal: 57,100
Jason Somerville: 45,600
Day 2AB play picks up at 11am Vegas time. We'll be back in time for it all with the hope of finding some history-making stories of our own.
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Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis. WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.