Players bring a variety of approaches to the early levels of a large field tournament such as this. Some start tight, some start loose. Some play a more casual style when the blinds are low and stakes relatively less serious, while others play every hand with the same intensity as if it were the final table.
When Erik Cajelais arrived late to take his seat at a table in the Brasilia, a player piped up to give him an idea about how everyone was playing.
"I don't know if anyone told you," he said. "But we've just kind of been checking it down at this table to let everyone see the river." All chuckled, and the speaker immediately contradicted his statement with a postflop bet.
Meanwhile, when over in the Amazon we saw Bill Chen engaged in a strangely intense-seeming hand involving himself and two others. The pot was small — just 250 — and the flop had come . A player in the blinds checked, Chen fired 200, and the late position player folded.
The action back on the early position player, he sunk deep into the tank, sitting utterly motionless for more than a half-minute. Finally the dealer spoke up.
"Do you know it's your turn, sir?" he asked uncertainly. The player looked surprised, and the dealer repeated the question. "Yes, yes," the player confirmed, noting that he was thinking.
Chen sat with a bemused look, and when the player finally check-raised to 550, a laugh escaped from the two-time WSOP bracelet winner. "You took too long," Chen said, mucking his hand.
Back now from a trip down the hall to the Amazon Room, just to catch a glimpse at those seated there and perhaps help get an idea just how big our field is today. It is a bit of an excursion, requiring the turning of several corners, and your directionally-challenged as your humble reporter must confess a feeling of gladness at successfully finding the way back to the laptop.
Among those playing in the Amazon at present are Matt Affleck, Barry Shulman, Jesper Hougaard, Christina Lindley, and David "Doc" Sands. We expect those tables to break soon, and so probably won't be making that round trip again.
We took an excursion over to the Pavilion Room, just to say hello. Looks like something in the neighborhood of 100 tables full of players there for this event.
Among them are Michael Reed, Justin Bonomo, Nam Le, Jeff Madsen, Amanda Musumeci, Tim West, Faraz Jaka, David Singer, and a couple of WSOP Main Event champions — Carlos Mortensen (2000) and Greg Raymer (2004). Hopefully we'll be seeing some of them again later today should they survive to find new seats in the Brasilia.
Another big winner at the WSOP is here, too, although something tell us he'd prefer to be playing in a different event today, one with a somewhat larger buy-in. Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi is here, having been one of the 11 players of the original field of 48 who didn't make it through Day 1 of Event 55: $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, the second day of which began at noon as well.
So said James McManus, author of Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, with a grin when spotting your humble reporter scouting the other side of the Brasilia.
Others currently seated in that half of the room include Daniel Makowsky, Event 10: $5,000 Seven Card Stud winner John Monnette, Liina Vark, Jude Ainsworth, David Chiu, and Ylon Schwartz.
Players participating in today's event may want to know Blair Hinkle has joined the fray as well. Hinkle's results in these low buy-in, large-field events is remarkable. Since winning a bracelet in a 1,344-player $2,000 NLHE event in 2008, Hinkle has made deep runs repeatedly in these events ever since. In fact, this summer alone he finished fourth of 2,534 in Event 38: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em and 24th of 2,949 in Event 44: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em.
A quick pass through one half of the Brasilia room reveals a few familiar faces among those who have already arrived, including Shane "Shaniac" Schleger, Mickey Petersen, Adam "Roothlus" Levy, 2005 WSOP Main Event fifth-place finisher Andy Black, Tim Duckworth, and Jennifer "Jennicide" Leigh.
Leigh provides us a quick update on the still-increasing field as play begins:
Jennicide Jennifer LeighAlready over 2k people in the 1500. Starting up now! Let's go! :)July 02 2012
Players are still filing in, but many are seated already, taking the first hands of Event 56.
As expected, we're looking at a big, big field today, with players seated around tables in three different rooms — the Brasilia, Pavilion, and some in the Amazon, too. We'll be mostly Brasilia-based today as the plan is for tables to break from the other rooms to there.
Welcome to Day 1 of Event 56: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, the seventh of seven such events on the 2012 WSOP calendar.
Way back at the end of May, Brent Hanks took the first bracelet in a $1,500 NLHE full-ring event, topping a field of 2,101 players in Event 2 to earn a cool $517,725. Here's how the other six similarly structured $1,500 NLHE events have gone this year:
Winner (First Prize)
Brent Hanks ($517,725)
Clifford Goldkind ($559,514)
Carter Phillips ($664,130)
Dung Nguyen ($607,200)
Henry Lu ($654,380)
The still-in-progress Event 53: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em comes back for Day 3 today, with 28 players left gunning for that nearly three-quarter million-dollar first prize.
The fields have been huge for these $1,500 NLHE events, and they keep getting bigger as the Series progresses. Thus do we expect another big turnout today for the last of the seven.
The first hands will be dealt at 12 noon local time. Come back then as our coverage of Event 56 begins here at PokerNews.