Sunday was Father's Day, but whether that was responsible for the slow arrivals to the noon kickoff of Event #28, $3,000 No Limit Hold 'Em is anyone's guess. The tables eventually filled, however, with 827 entrants and a prize pool of $2,282,520, with first place worth $527,829.
Despite the slow arrival of some of the field, there were plenty of big name players that appeared to have no problem making the tournament's start. Getting a jump start on the day's action were Erik Seidel, Andy Black, Jamie Gold, Joe Awada, Erick Lindgren, Minh Ly, Vanessa Rousso, Bill Chen, Kristy Gazes, Johnny Chan, Greg Raymer, John Gale, Andy Bloch, and Jennifer Harman.
There were plenty of intriguing tables match-ups, with a so-dubbed 'Comedy' table that featured comedian Norm McDonald, Phil 'Unabomber' Laak, Dan Schmiech, and Sorel Mizzi, while this event's early 'Table of Death' offered Josh Arieh, Humberto Brenes, Andy Black, Mark Vos, and Evelyn Ng. Another tough table held Brandi Hawbaker, Jeff Madsen, Ben Roberts, and Doug Lee and yet another featured Steven Paul-Ambrose, T.J. Cloutier, Dan Alspach, Alex Jacob, and Victor Ramdin.
Several big-name players were eliminated in early action. Hitting the rail before the third round of play were J.J. Liu, John 'Johnny World' Hennigan, Harman, Tony G, Men 'The Master' Nguyen, Gale, Shannon Elizabeth and Ly. The tough table match-ups also evolved, as John Phan and Steven Dannenmann battled at one table, while Phil Gordon and Jamie Gold locked horns at another.
The biggest story of the day was Phil Hellmuth's run toward a possible 12th bracelet. Hellmuth made the money for the 60th time in WSOP tournament play, again extending his own record for the most career WSOP cashes and positioning himself to take down his next WSOP title. The 'Poker Brat' also reminded his tablemates that he is one of the greatest players alive and that there is a reason he makes "the big bucks." Hellmuth ended the night's play fourth in chips, behind leader Tsai Chen, with Ed Moncada in second. Here's the overnight Top Ten:
PLAYER — CHIPS
Tsai Chen 171,400
Edward Moncada 155,400
Mark Shiochet 134,700
Phil Hellmuth 129,900
Perry Friedman 127,100
Stephen O'Dwyer 125,600
Tim McCarthy 122,000
Luke Vrabel 117,500
Daniel Corbin 111,200
Maureen Feduniak 111,100
Other notables still alive among the 81 Day One survivors are Greg 'FBT' Mueller, Dannenmann, Taylor Caby, Ng, Nick Frangos, MacDonald, Schmiech, Tony Cousineau, Thomas Wahlroos and Laak.
Check in with Pokernews.com for Day Two 'Live Reporting' of Event #28, $3,000 No Limit Hold 'Em, beginning at 2pm PDT.