WSOP 2017: Sound the alarm -- Main Event turnout pushing past 7,000

The Day 1C dinner break is nearly here, and while that feeling of gnawing hunger motivates us to escape for some nourishment, the day moving past the midway point encourages us first to offer some variety of update on what's been happening in all of the ballrooms on this side of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

As if to spur us to action, a false alarm loudly rang through the rooms and hallways halfway through Level 3. In a way, this report is something of a false alarm, too, given how it is still only the first day of a poker tournament scheduled to last nearly two full weeks more.

We beg you to pay attention, nonetheless. After all, you never know whether one or more of these early, modest signals may herald something more important to come.

Mostly by chance, here on PokerStars Blog we've been tracking closely, level-by-level, the progress of the current chip leader -- Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal.

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Aditya Agarwal

Halfway through Level 3 the Indian pro with 11 cashes already this WSOP had nearly tripled his stack to close to 150,000, surging ahead of the field in the early going.

Meanwhile we've been watching a couple of other Team Pros -- Jason Mercier and Daniel Negreanu -- sitting side-by-side on the televised feature table.

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Jason Mercier

The pair just got involved in a decent-sized pot between each other, in fact, in which Mercier held pocket tens and Negreanu ace-king. The eight-high flop kept Mercier in front, but a king on the turn gave the lead to Kid Poker. The river eight paired the board, and after Negreanu bet less than half the pot Mercier paid him off, pushing Negreanu up close to 58,000 and dropping Mercier to 40,000.

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Daniel Negreanu

Meanwhile friend of the Blog Victor Saumont -- the player who has blogged for the French PokerStars blog, made a great documentary (Nosebleed), and cashed in the Main Event last year (finishing 257th) -- finds himself at that same feature table with Mercier and Negreanu. And just now he got involved in difficult hands against both after getting dealt pocket kings two hands in a row.

In the first Saumont got bluffed off his hand by Negreanu when two aces and two queens came on the board and Negreanu bet with only eight-six. Then Saumont was up against Mercier's pocket jacks, a jack flopped, and Saumont made a difficult fold on the river to preserve his stack of 52,000 -- a little more than Mercier now.

Meanwhile Mercier's better half, Natasha, is among the big stacks out in the field. Not long ago she joined Joseph Cheong, Shawn Buchanan, Phil Galfond, Brian Rast, Brandon Shack-Harris and two-time WSOP Main Event winner Johnny Chan as an early member of the 100,000-chip club.

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Natasha Mercier

How many runners are we watching today? A whole heckuva lot.

Late registration remains open until the end of dinner (and the start of Level 4), but we can already report more than 4,000 came out for today's final Day 1 flight, pushing the overall total for this year's Main Event well above 7,000 for certain. That will top last year's 6,737, and be the biggest field since 2010.

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As far as the eye can Day 1C

Watching that number of entrants increase -- and the prize pool -- people are getting excited. But we'll try not to sound any alarms too soon or without reason.

Stick around and we'll find out together what the real story is.

WSOP photos by