Half-way into the opening round of the 41st World Series of Poker’s main event, registrations at 2,614 have been unimpressive, considering last year’s field was about 6,500.
But officials aren’t worried, yet; they said players to tend to wait until the very last minute to enter.
That leaves them today and Thursday, days 1C and 1D, the remaining dates to pony up $10,000 and play for a chance for millions of dollars and a world championship.
The Main Event on Day 1A (Monday) attracted only 1,125 players. Although the Rio Hotel’s Amazon Room was packed, and overflow expanded into the more expansive Pavilion Room, this was expected to be the smallest turnout of the four starting days.
The WSOP has utilized multiple starting days since 2004, necessitated by the huge field size. Players are given the option of choosing which starting day they prefer, designated as 1-A, 1-B, 1-C, or 1-D.
Among those who played on Day 1A were former world champions Bobby "the Owl" Baldwin (1978), Chris Moneymaker (2003) (pictured), and Greg "Fossilman" Raymer (2004). Multiple gold bracelet winners who entered on this day were Billy Baxter, T.J. Cloutier, Thor Hansen, Mike Matusow, Erik Seidel, Barry Shulman, David Sklansky and Dewey Tomko.
The Main Event also attracts celebrities who love the game. One famous name who played was actor and comedian Ray Romano ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), who is playing in the world championship for the fourth straight year.
One of the world’s top athletes also played on Monday. Two-time Olympic gold medalist skier Marcus Hellner from Sweden played in his first WSOP event. Shawn Marion, who plays for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, also participated for the first time. And Norway’s Petter Northug, a four-time medalist at the 2010 Winter Olympics (including two golds) also played.
On Tuesday 1,489 players registered for Day 1B, which was nearly 400 more than the Series had on Day 1A. Not only was the entire Amazon room occupied by Main Event entrants, but there were another 450 players who started their day off in the Pavilion.
Of those who started out today, it appears that just over 1,000 have been fortunate enough to make it through the day, about the same as on Monday.
As was to be expected, it was another day full of appearances by high-profile players. Those who had their Main Event dreams cut short include Ivan Demidov, Joe Sebok, Erick Lindgren, Justin Bonomo, Bertrand Grospellier, Liv Boeree, Jamie Gold and Arnaud Mattern.
On a more positive note, there were plenty of players gearing up for Day 2. The chip leader for the day appears to be James Danielson who will kick off his Day 2 with an impressive 201,050 chips. Trailing not far behind are Filippo Candio (167300), Robert Miller (155,225) and Jason DeWitt (149,850).
Some of the fortunate few to break the 100,000-chip mark include Alex Kostritsyn (106,000), Florian Langmann (100,000) and Kido Pham (114,000).
Other notables we can expect to see when they return on Day 2b include Gavin Griffin (97,200), Dan Kelly (74,000), Brandon Cantu (72,000), Johnny Lodden (62,500), Phil Laak (58,000), Jon Turner (63,825), Dan Harrington (45,000), George Lind (11,975), Gavin Smith (40,000) and on it goes...
Completing Day 1 is a goal for many in and of itself. It is, however, just the first necessary step on a long journey down the road to the final table in November.
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