Event #2 at the 2008 World Series of Poker will go into the history books as the largest WSOP preliminary event field ever, and the fourth largest tournament in history. The record was previously held by 2007 WSOP's Event #49, which had 3,151 players for the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament. "This is a great start," said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "The sound of chips chirping throughout the Rio is a welcome return for all of us who love poker." Event #2 Day 1A had a starting field of 2,048 players, with over 1,550 players already pre-registered for Day 1b.
When Day 1a was done, the hefty field had whittled down to 224 players, with David Robertson holding the chip lead with a stack of 109,100. Ryan D'Angelo, Frank Sinopoli and Shane "shaniac" Schleger weren't far behind, with 105,800, 103,900, and 89,000 respectively.
While professional players were the minority in this mammoth field, there were still plenty of notables vying for the estimated $750,000 first-place prize money. Jon "PearlJammer" Turner was one of the earlier exits, when his pocket aces ran into a set of queens. Pamela Brunson brought her father Doyle's lucky chip protector. Pamela cashed in last year's Main Event with "Casper" by her side, but this the team failed to make the money. Her brother Todd Brunson, however, survived to play Day Two as one of the relatively short stacks with 8,400 chips.
With a field this size, the bad beats were understandably plentiful. Bill Edler's dominated his opponent's until the A-9-3 flop. With no help on the remaining board, Edler was done for the day. Billy Baxter was in good shape with a flopped set of tens to his opponent's top pair. But the river delivered a fourth heart, giving his opponent the flush and sending Baxter to the rail. Vanessa Rousso had pocket sixes for an overpair and an open-ended straight draw on the flop. Her opponent, holding A-Q, caught a queen on the turn. When the river blanked, Rousso went home.
But not every pro left on a bad beat story. Jeff Madsen ran his short-stacked pocket deuces up against an opponent's pocket tens. And Antonio Esfandiari had the misfortune of taking his big slick against pocket aces. David Sklansky's departure came when his flush draw failed to complete. Phil Ivey's short-stack play with A-2 couldn't overcome his opponent's pocket fives. And former WSOP Champion Greg Raymer saw his A-K go down to pocket queens. Raymer did spike a king on the flop, but his opponent also caught a set-making queen.
Other pros that failed to navigate Day 1a's large field included Jeffrey Lisandro, Johnny Chan, Gavin Smith, Freddy Deeb, Hoyt Corkins, Daniel Negreanu, Hevad Khan, Jean-Robert Bellande, Ted Forrest, Jimmy "gobboboy" Fricke, J.C. Alvarado, David Grey, Bill Gazes, "Miami" John Cernuto, Amir Vahedi, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Erik Seidel, and Josh Arieh.
Other pros returning for Monday's Day 2 include Terrence Chan, Jon Friedberg, "Aussie Sarah" Bilney, Jay Greenspan, Dan Schmiech, Chris Bjorin, Minh Nguyen, Gavin Griffin, Dale Morrow, and Todd "Dan Druff" Witteles.
When the Day 1b players take their seats today, they will complete this record-breaking field. The event's final player count and prize pool will be made available on PokerNews' live reporting as soon as it is available. The Day 1b action starts at noon, local time.
The top ten in chips after Day 1a play:
David Robertson 109,100
Ryan D'Angelo 105,800
Frank Sinopoli 103,900
Shane Schleger 89,000
Henry Tran 80,300
John Carlson 80,200
Grant Hinkle 77,800
Scott Montgomery 76,800
Cameron Main 65,500
James Akenhead 65,100