Dozens of big-name pros gathered in the Caesars Palace poker room to kick off the World Series of Poker Las Vegas Championship, offering perhaps the most star-studded field of recent Circuit events. Among the 334 entrants were multiple WSOP bracelet winners Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Layne Flack, Men "The Master" Nguyen and Mark Seif.
The pro-heavy field created some threatening tables, including one "table of death" that offered Steve Billirakis, Sabyl Cohen, Roy Winston, Robert Mizrachi and Gavin Smith. This table led to early action, with Smith eliminated within the first two levels of play on Day 1. Other early eliminations included Men Nguyen, Anna Wroblewski, Scotty Nguyen and Jimmy Fricke, playing in one of his first US tournaments since turning 21 earlier in April.
Layne Flack suffered a brutal beat to end his tournament early when he got all his money in preflop with pocket aces. In a three-way pot, one opponent tabled and the other showed pocket kings. The king in the window left Flack drawing to one out, which never materialized, and the five-time WSOP bracelet winner was eliminated. Team PokerStars member Dario Minieri took out Mark Seif when all the chips went in on the flop. Minieri dominated preflop with to Seif's , and running diamonds on the turn and river gave additional insurance and sent Seif to the rail.
Minieri's Day 1 didn't last much longer than Seif's, as he was eliminated by Doug Lee. Lee flopped a set on a board of A-J-9, and busted Minieri, who had made two pair with A-J. Other late eliminations included Erick Lindgren, Jeff Madsen and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, who put the last of his chips in preflop with . He was called byn fellow Full Tilt pro Allen Cunningham, with pocket tens. The board ran out , and Ferguson was busted.
Motoyuki "Moto" Mabuchi ended the day with a big stack, courtesy of a big hand with Todd Brunson. All the chips went in on the flop, and Mabuchi's pocket aces were good against Brunson's kings to send Brunson to the rail and Mabuchi to the top of the leaderboard. Max Reele finished the day with the chip lead, atop a field of 54 remaining players. Notable survivors included Alan "BodogAri" Engel, Bill "The Stunning One" Edler, Cunningham and T6 Poker's Alex Kravchenko, who won two WSOP bracelets in 2007 and made the final table of the Main Event.
The top ten chip stacks looked like this at the end of Day 1:
Max Reele – 263,200
Giovanni Marcacci – 223,600
Elie Said – 158,400
Motoyuki Mabuchi – 157,800
Doug Lee – 123,000
Nenad Medic – 122,200
Mark Newhouse – 120,400
Alan Engel – 114,000
Ralph Perry – 105,800
John Theisen – 103,700