Well today was one of the most exciting days on the poker calendar, as the biggest poker tournament in the world kicked off at Day 1a of the 2012 Main Event! 1066 players stormed the Rio this morning with $10,000 and a dream, and after five action packed levels. William John is looking down at everyone else, as he sits on a whopping 266,700 chips, which covers the rest of the field by 100,000. Trailing John are Gerardo Lubas (165,800), Daniel Strelitz (164,125), Dane Lomas (157,600), and Chance Kornuth (141,775), who round out the top five.
Plenty of famous faces were here at the Rio today, including our defending champion Pius Heinz. Heinz spent most of his day on the main stage in the mothership, and he grinded a shortish stack for much of the day. However, Heinz found a key double up in the last level and his stack grew to 39,275 by the end of the night.
We were also surprised to see the one, the only, Phil Hellmuth, who unlike in past years, made a quiet, subdued entrance to this event. Hellmuth originally had registered for Day 1C of this event, but tweeted that after getting 14.5 hours of sleep, he was ready to play the day. Unfortunately for Hellmuth, it might not have been his best decision, as he was eliminated in the last level of the night when his top pair ran into the bottom set of Michael Tureniec.
While Hellmuth won’t be coming back for Day 2, there are a ton of notable names that still have a shot at the dream of the Main Event Final Table. That list of names includes Eric Baldwin (123,150), Faraz Jaka (115,775), Filippo Candio (85,000), JJ Liu (78,800), Mike Sexton (15,200), and David Williams (9,100).
Of course, not everyone could make it to the end of the day. We lost a handful of famous faces, including Ray Romano, Greg “FBT” Mueller, Allen Bari, Kathy Liebert, Eric Froehlich, Matt Glantz, Lee Markholt,Frank Kassela, Pokernews Hostess Kristy Arnett, former main event final table finishers Raymond Rahme and Soi Nguyen, and three former Main Event Champions: 1993 Champ Jim Bechtel, 2005 Champ Joe Hachem, and the aforementioned Hellmuth.
The players who have advanced to make it to Day 2 will now have two days off before they return on Tuesday at noon to play five more levels. Tomorrow will be Day 1b, where we will see a fresh batch of players try to match the accomplishment of today’s survivors. Play for Day 1b will start at noon tomorrow, so we hope that you come back to Pokernews to check out all the action. Until then, good night from the desert!