WSOP 2017: It's Day 1B and the "B" stands for bigger

Our planet -- the "big blue marble," a phrase some of a certain age might recall from an old children's television show -- has a radius of 3,959 miles. It has a mass of 13 septillion, one hundred and seventy sextillion pounds. It has an area of 196.9 million square miles.

And for oh, about four-and-a-half billion years or so, the world has stayed more or less that same size the whole way.

By contrast, during its almost half-century of existence, the World Series of Poker generally just keeps getting bigger. You could say constant growth is the WSOP's natural state. Just as chip stacks start small and necessarily grow larger over the course of a tournament, the series itself just keeps on expanding.

A record 74 events crowded the schedule this year, culminating in the true "Big One," the tournament for which all caps are needed -- THE MAIN EVENT.

Brasilia Tournament Area_2017 WSOP_Main Event_Day 1A_Giron_7JG3957.jpg

The big time

Yesterday's Day 1A flight of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event drew 795 players, up from last year's opening Day 1 flight and the most since 2013.

Chip count watchers collectively raised their eyebrows yesterday when Englishman Barny Boatman managed the feat of tripling his 50,000-chip starting stack within the first two-hour level. He then managed another feat of sorts by ending the night with exactly 150,000 chips -- a very healthy, above-average stack.

Boatman's fellow countryman Sam Grafton then was the one during the final hours earning notice after building his stack over 200,000 to assume the Day 1A lead. But on the night's final hand Morten Mortensen of Denmark surged ahead of Grafton after making a straight to bust another's pocket kings and finish the best of the 576 survivors with a stack of 276,000.

Morten Mortensen_2017 WSOP_EV73_Day1A_Thomson_T1_0327.JPG

Mortensen ended the evening on the ascent

Behind Mortensen and Grafton, Griffin Abel, Jonathan Little, and David Eldridge rounded out last night's top five. The lone member of the Red Spade brigade to play yesterday Jennifer Shahade survived, too. So did Phil Laak, looking a little like an astronaut gazing upon the felt as though looking back at the earth.

Phil Laak_EV73_DAY1A__Abrego__AA09937.jpg

"You raise? Ahh... planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do..."

If you're curious, click here and take a look at the counts for all of those making it through Day 1A yesterday to play Day 2 on Tuesday.

It was an impressive start, kicking off the proceedings in a big way. But it'll get bigger today. Because, well, getting bigger is what the WSOP does.

When we signed off yesterday we noted how in recent years (when there have been three Day 1 flights), Day 1B has tended to draw at least twice as many players as Day 1A, typically more than that. Then Day 1C draws more than the first two flights combined, and by a lot.

So while Morten Mortensen was the story yesterday, today it'll be more, more, more, including many more Team PokerStars Pros and Team Online members whom we already know will be part of the larger Day 1B field.

Day 1B begins at 11 a.m. Stick around as we continue to report on this year's installment of the ever-expanding World Series of Poker Main Event, a tournament which last year attracted players from 79 different countries -- in other words, from all over the big blue marble.

And they're coming again today. Stay tuned as big becomes bigger.

Phil Laak_EV73_DAY1A__Abrego__AA09926.jpg

Commencing countdown, engines on...

WSOP photos by