Event #51 at the 2008 World Series of Poker, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E., drew 803 entrants, making it possibly the largest live mixed-game event in history. The end of Day 1 eliminated more than three quarters of the field, and at night's end Phil Hellmuth stood atop the largest stack of chips in his quest for yet another record-setting WSOP cash and his twelfth World Series of Poker bracelet.
Among the notable players in the field were Daniel Negreanu, who showed his skill at the mixed-game format with his deep cash in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event earlier this week, Isaac Haxton, 2007 Player of the Year Tom Schneider, Justin Bonomo, Sabyl Landrum, Sam Simon, Phil Gordon, Mike Matusow and Berry Johnston.
The eliminations came quickly despite the limit format, with Katja Thater, Shannon Elizabeth, Steve Dannenmann and Max Pescatori all heading to the rail early on Day 1. John "The Razor" Phan got his last few chips in the middle in an Omaha hi/lo hand with three callers, including Joe Hachem and Dag Palovic. Phan's was no good on a board of as Palovic made a straight with for the high. Hachem took the low half of the pot with for an 8-7-4-3-2.
The steady pace of eliminations continued all through the evening, as Daniel Negreanu, Chris Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, Bryan Micon and Kenna James all headed to the rail on Day 1. James busted in stud hi when his opponent made a superfluous full house on seventh street to crack his trip threes. James got it all in on fourth street with a split pair of threes, and picked up another on sixth street for trips. His opponent started the hand with split tens, picked up a third ten on fifth street, and paired eights on seventh to send James to the rail late in the day.
Phil Hellmuth, whose eleven bracelets have all come in one form of hold'em or another, crushed a late hold'em round on Day 1 to secure his chip lead. On a flop of , Hellmuth called an early-position bet with . One other player came a long for the ride, and the turn brought the . An opponent bet, Hellmuth raised, and the third player called. The original better re-raised, and Hellmuth and the other player called. The original better fired again on the river, Hellmuth raised, and the third player folded. The original better called with top pair, and Hellmuth's set took down a huge pot. Hellmuth then claimed to have hit sets three times in that round of hold'em on his way to the chip lead.
The top ten chip stacks looked like this when the dust settled on Day 1:
Phil Hellmuth 46,400
Steven Diano 38,200
Joe Hachem 37,500
Todd Ickow 37,500
Chad Brown 36,700
Tommy Hang 36,000
Lonnie Heimowitz 33,200
Ken Zeng 32,500
Michelle Ankenman 32,100
David Gee 31,000
179 players remained after an action-packed Day 1, including Hellmuth, Joe Hachem, Chad Brown, Michael Craig, John Juanda, Mike Matusow and Jerry Buss.
Join PokerNews at 3PM PDT as the 179 remaining players attempt to play their way down to a final table of eight.