The field in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament is annually the deepest and most storied in all of poker, and the 148 players who took the field for this year's Event #45 were no exception. With more than 40 bracelet winners, dozens of internet superstars, several past WSOP Players of the Year and all the denizens of the legendary "Big Game" in the field, the players vying for the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy were indeed the biggest names in poker. 148 players put down $50,000 each for a shot at the custom bracelet, the trophy in memory of one of the greatest to ever play the game, and the unofficial title of "World's Greatest Poker Player."
Every table was tough, but several stood out as particularly brutal. Annie Duke, Doyle Brunson, Huck Seed, Kirill Gerasimov, David Grey and Katja Thater made up one tough draw, as Perry Friedman, Ralph Perry, Daniel Negreanu, Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond and Phil Ivey all started off at another table. Other legends of the game in the field included Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, Chris Ferguson, Layne Flack, Barry Greenstein and T.J. Cloutier.
One of the more anticipated matchups once the seating assignments were announced was Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu, who started off at the same table. Dwan, the 21-year-old internet superstar, entered his first WSOP this year. Negreanu, at one time the youngest player to win a bracelet, picked up his fourth WSOP title this year. With "Kid Poker" sharing a table with "durrrr" there was sure to be excitement, and the competitors did not disappoint. Early in the day, Dwan and Negreanu got into a big pot in a round of Omaha Hi/Lo where Dwan led out on every street. Negreanu called, and the board ran out , and Dwan tabled for the nut low and aces for the high. Negreanu's was also the nut low, but Dwan's aces held up for the high and Negreanu found himself quartered.
Negreanu took some of his chips back late in the evening in an action-packed razz hand that saw betting on every street and raises on most. When the final action was completed, Negreanu had 10-6-5-3 showing to Dwan's J-6-10-2 up. Negreanu showed 7-6-A in the hole for a 7-6-5-3-A, and Dwan mucked. Dwan and Negreanu both finished Day 1 in the middle of the pack.
Negreanu was one of three players entered into the event with a chance to take over the #1 spot on the all-time money list with a win. He shared that distinction with Phil Hellmuth and Allen Cunningham. All three players had a shot at claiming the top spot from Jamie Gold, but Hellmuth's shot at the title ended as Day 1 drew to a close.
Hellmuth, playing a short stack late in the day, remarked, a few hands prior to his elimination, "Well, I didn't think it was possible to go out of this (tournament) on Day One... I like to do things that are tough to do." He got the last of his chips in the middle in a stud hi/lo hand with Rafi Amit and Bruno Fitoussi. Fitoussi tabled   for two pair, and Hellmuth's [6-9] [x] was no good.
Joining Hellmuth as eliminated on Day 1 were David Williams, Amnon Filippi and Shunjiro Uchida, who busted just before the end of play. With the deepest stacks of any WSOP event, and a limit structure, only eight players headed to the rail on the first day. James "mig.com" Mackey took the chip lead at the end of Day 1, slipping past Chris Reslock, but with the structure of this event, heading to the bracelet will be a marathon more than a sprint. The top ten chip stacks looked like this at the end of day:
James Mackey 214,000
Chris Reslock 210,200
Pat Pezzin 200,400
Joe Cassidy 198,700
Ralph Perry 195,300
Stephen Wolff 192,700
Fu Wong 188,100
Douglas Ganger 183,200
Bill Chen 182,500
Tad Jurgens 172,700
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