"There are not too many faces you don't know," said TJ Cloutier as he looked over the starting field for Event #8. Robert Williamson III quipped that if felt like a home game. Between the pricey $10,000 buy-in and the unique mixed-game format, the event predictably drew some of the biggest names in poker. Former WSOP Champions in attendance included Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Berry Johnston, Johnny Chan, Scotty Nguyen, Chris Ferguson, and Greg Raymer.
Ultimately, 192 players, representing an almost countless number of WSOP bracelets, took the field for this event's debut. The winner will receive $483,688 and a total of 24 players will make the money. The event features eight different games, each game cycling for one round at an eight-handed table.
1) Deuce-to-seven triple draw;
2) Fixed-limit hold'em;
3) Omaha-8 (hi/lo split);
5) Seven-card stud;
6) Seven-card stud 8 (hi/lo split);
7) No-limit hold'em;
8) Pot-limit Omaha;
At the end of Day One, 89 players remained with 2007 WSOP Player of the Year, Tom Schneider, claiming the chip lead with 142,300 chips. Gus Hansen (119,500), Frank Kassela (106,800), Johnny Chan (97,800), and Jeff Madsen (87,500) rounded out the top five chip leaders for the day.
Almost as many big names departed in Day One as remain for Day Two. David Benyamine, Andy Black, Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, Josh Arieh, Freddy Deeb, Steve Sung, John D'Agostino, Jennifer Harman, Patrik Antonius, Jon Turner, Chris Ferguson, Hoyt Corkins and Marcus Golser were among those eliminated on Day One.
It was a svelte Mike Matusow that showed up for the event, having shed 50 pounds since the last WSOP on a $100,000 bet with Ted Forrest. Mike didn't survive the day, but he still has $90,000 and a healthier lifestyle. Forrest was also eliminated on Day One.
Reporters for this event found themselves with an embarrassment of riches. Not only was the play superb, but the banter was unparalleled.
In one of the last hands of the night, Tom "durrrr" Dwan added appreciably to his stack with a PLO hand that even Gus Hansen shook his head at. After a player raised the pot and Gus Hansen called, Dwan moved all in for 8,650 more and was called by both players. Dwan ended up winning with his when the board came . Hansen had while the third player had .
Third player: "What the heck were you doing?"
Dwan: "I think my equity is good there."
Hansen: "Really?!?! You call that equity?"
Dwan: "Yeah, I think I even shove there online. If it's a PLO tournament online I shove."
Gus and the rest of the table looked confused as Dwan stacked his chips, which totaled 86,600 by the time he was done.
The list of those returning for Day Two reads like the "Who's Who" of poker and includes Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Sammy Farha, Brandon Adams, Erik Seidel, Greg Mueller, Phil Ivey, Marcel Luske, Barry Greenstein, Amnon Filippi, Minh Ly, Phil Galfond, Michael Mizrachi, Gavin Griffin, Todd Brunson, Chris Bell, Alex Kravchenko, James Mackey, Greg Raymer, Vanessa Rousso, Chad Brown, Andy Bloch, Mike Sexton – and unbelievably – so many more.