The first of the high-dollar no-limit events at this year's WSOP arrived with the start of Event #22, $5,000 No Limit Hold'em. No-limit events always draw the largest fields, but the high buy-in and big field (640 players) had players ready for the day's action.
The $5,000 buy-in brought out the expected heavy hitters. A small sampling of those present: Erik Seidel, T.J. Cloutier. Marco Traniello, Jennifer Tilly, Barry Greenstein, Billy Baxter, Scotty Ngyuen, Vanessa Selbst, Lee Watkinson, Men 'The Master' Nguyen, Joe Awada, Layne Flack, Mike Matusow, Johnny Chan, Andy Black, Joe Sebok, Cyndy Violette, Clonie Gowen, Scott Fischman, Dutch Boyd, and Davidson Matthew. Early tough tables included one with Greenstein, Baxter, and Scotty Nugyen, while Marc Goodwin, Layne Flack, and John D'Agostino were trying to be table captain at another. Unfortunately for Baxter, he fell victim to Greenstein early in battle of made full houses.
Other players eliminated included Sebok, Matusow, Mark Seif, Violette, Flack, Black, Sam Farha, Sean McCabe, Patrik Antonius, Todd Brunson, Greenstein, John Juanda, Gavin Smith, Freddy Deeb, Paul Wasicka, Roland De Wolfe, Boyd, Lee Watkinson, Erica Schoenberg, J.C. Tran, and Chan.
One of the day's big stories came via a little package, as the small-in-stature Anna Wroblewski made a big early move. A winner at this year's Five Star World Poker Classic (Event #9), Wroblewski charged to the top early before busting out short of Day Two. Jennifer Tilly also made an impressive run early after seeing several hands hold up, giving her a sizeable chip stack and plenty of ammunition to do battle with the male-dominated field on Day Two, as did Kathy Liebert, who sits just outside the overnight Top Ten.
Allen Cunningham and T.J. Cloutier also had great first days, with Cunningham seeking his second bracelet of the 2007 WSOP. Another huge mover on the day was Tex Barch, perched in second place with 240,000 chips, with Dustin 'Neverwin' Woolf in third at 191,300. The biggest Day One mover of all, though, was online star Dustin Dirksen, who opened up a commanding early margin at 379,100 chips.
In total, 87 players moved on to Day Two play, with the Top Ten as follows:
PLAYER — CHIPS
Dustin Dirksen — 379,000
Tex Barch — 240,000
Dustin Woolf — 191,300
Chris Martin — 182,200
William McMahan — 177,900
Feming Chan — 170,900
Nick Schulman — 148,000
Bill Durrant — 134,000
Sirous Jamshidi — 125,600
Paul Zalewski — 118,900
Other players high on the board include Liebert, Cloutier, Michael Binger, Kyle 'kwob20' Bowker, Mike Gracz, Alex Jacob, Cunningham, Tilly, Max Pescatori, Team PokerNews Captain Tony G, Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy, Ross Boatman and Jan Von Halle. Most of these players will survive through to the 63-player money bubble, but to find out who does and who doesn't, check in with PokerNews.com's 'Live Reporting' of Event #23, $5,000 No Limit Hold 'Em, with coverage beginning today at approximately 2pm PDT.