The World Series of Poker Main Event kicked off with a bang today as 1, 125 players took their seats in the Day 1A field to take their shot at becoming poker’s next big superstar. Greg Raymer, Main Event Champion from 2005, got play underway by calling out the, “Shuffle up and deal,” but the Fossilman didn’t get to enjoy the event for very long. He was one of the day’s first eliminations, along with Jimmy Fricke and Victor Ramdin.
As players filed into the Amazon Room, we couldn’t help but notice that there was a large contingent of popular poker gals taking to the felt today, including Fatima de Melo, Beth Shak, Lacey Jones, Sara Underwood, and The Amazing Race duo of Tiffany Michelle and Maria Ho. Those two ladies couldn’t take part in last year’s Main Event because they were off filming the reality program. This year they are back to work though. While both survived the day, Michelle is grinding a short stack while Ho is well above average with over 90,000 chips.
It wouldn’t be a day at the Rio without a little controversy. Many players in the field complained about playing at 10-handed tables, especially considering all the unused tables sitting in the Pavilion area, unoccupied. Tournament staff started progressing towards 9-handed play early in the day though and it was not long at all before the entire field was seated at 9-handed tables.
It wasn’t too hard to pull a seat from every table as only 775 or so of the field stayed alive to the end of the day. A number of notables hit the rail on Day 1 including Billy Baxter, Ray Romano, Shawn Marion, Nick Schulman, Beth Shak, Nikolay Evdakov and Isaac Haxton, and Mike Matusow, who was the headline pro at the ESPN feature table for most of the afternoon.
When the dust settled on the day, we found one player who appears to be the chip leader from this first day of Main Event play. Cardrunners instructor Corwin Cole is the only player we spotted who bagged and tagged more than 200,000 chips and he beat that benchmark by a margin, ending with 228,200 chips to his credit.
There are several other big names that had productive days as well, including former Main Event winner Chris Moneymaker, who packed up 107,000 chips. Moneymaker is not getting ahead of himself when it comes to predicting a second Main Event victory though.
“It’s only Day 1, and we’ve got 10 more days and a lot more work to do,” he explained to BLUFF. “We’re very deep, so I’m going to be playing a little conservative to start. I’ll be picking my spots pretty carefully.”
Another familiar face near the top of the chip counts is Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, who started the day off on the wrong foot, but quickly righted the ship, more than doubling the 30,000 chip starting stack by the second level of play.
“It’s definitely a great start in a field like this. You’ve got plenty of players without a lot of experience and it’s a dream to have a great start in the World Series Main Event. It’s the first good start I’ve ever really had,” Mizrachi admitted. “Last year I made it to Day 2, but I took a few beats. Now I can take some beats in Day 2 and recover. I’m going to try to make as much as I can of each hand and minimize my losses. I’m just going to try to play the best poker I can.”
Mizrachi is also using his extended break between Day 1 and Day 2 to devote a little time to the family. “I’m actually taking my kids to Disneyland. I’ve got some interviews and stuff to do tomorrow, but then we’re packing up the kids and leaving,” he said. Visiting Mickey Mouse may be top priority, but the man wouldn’t have the nickname “Grinder” unless he at least considered getting in some time at the tables.
“Maybe, I’ll play some at the Commerce and hit up some of the cash games,” Mizrachi admitted.
Mizrachi, Moneymaker, Cole, and the other survivors from Day 1A have until Friday before they are due back at the Rio. In the meantime, they get to sit back and see how many players show up for each of the other Day 1s. Registration for Day 1C and Day 1D is currently closed, but Tournament Director Jack Effel Tweeted that they would be opening the registration back upfor Day 1C at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after Day 1B registration closes and then opening up Day 1D registration at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
There are no exact numbers for how many players have registered for the Main Event so far, but the rumors around the Rio suggest that, once again, Day 1D has been far and away the most popular day of play, though today’s Day 1A field did see a tiny increase in size over 2009.
BLUFF Magazine will be back on the sidelines to see if Day 1B can match the turnout of this premier day of Main Event play. Start checking in for hourly updates starting at 12 p.m. and be sure to follow us on Twitter (@bluffmagazine) to get instant updates from the floor as well.
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