The fourth and final Day 1 flight has come to a close. Today saw the largest field of all four flights -- 2,391 -- fill the Amazon and Pavilion Rooms. Added to our first three days, the overall total of 7,319 players means this year's Main Event is the second-largest tournament in live poker history (behind the 8,773-player 2006 Main Event).
That field together creates a $68,798,600 prize pool to be divided up between the top 747 finishers. And come November, the one player from this group who manages to accumulate every last chip will claim $8,944,138, the gold bracelet, and poker immortality.
A number of notables chose the last starting day, and for some their starting day was also their finishing day. Phil Gordon was an early exit, as were John Tabatabai, Justin Smith, Michael Craig, Jose "Nacho" Barbero, and the top two finishers from the 2005 Main Event, Steve Dannenmann and Joe Hachem. Others failing to survive to Day 2 included John Juanda, Allen Kessler, Cliff Josephy, Sorel Mizzi, and Wendeen Eolis.
Meanwhile, David Benyamine, Bill Chen, Phil Ivey, Kara Scott, and Jason Mercier all jumped out to good starts today, though they were soon overtaken by Khamsy Nuanmanee. She would be the first to six digits, then would spend much of the evening near or at the top of the leaderboard.
At night's end, though, it was Steve "MrSmokey1" Billirakis making a late charge to claim the lead, with Steven Tabb, Julian Foussard, Dan Springfield, and Lestor Martinez also ending the night filling their bags with extra chips. And a quick glance down the leaderboard shows other familiar names such as Archie Karas, Vanessa Rousso, Josh Arieh, and probable 2010 WSOP Player of the Year Frank Kassela having done especially well for themselves today, too.
Of the 2,391 who started today's Day 1d, about 1,700 made it through, meaning we're still looking at more than 5,000 players whose 2010 WSOP Main Event dreams remain alive. Tomorrow those who made it through Days 1a and 1c will come back for Day 2a, with the rest (from Day 1b and Day 1d) continuing their tourney journeys on Day 2b.
Thanks for following our coverage today! And be sure to come back tomorrow at noon Vegas time when the cards go back in the air once again.