Event #45,$10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Hold’em, is the final $10,000 buy-in World Championship event before the Main Event begins. The tournament drew a field of 275 of poker's best and brightest, including Scotty Nguyen, Greg Raymer, Bill Edler, Josh Arieh, Roland de Wolfe, Marc Naalden, Isaac Baron, Gavin Smith, and Jason Mercier among many other familiar names. When Day 1 was called to a halt at the end of the tenth level, Dutch pro Michiel Brummelhuis closed out the day with a comfortable chip lead.
Professional poker players are known to take their time arriving to the tournament room, and this event was no exception. There was a 30-minute delay to the start of the tournament, as there were not enough players available at the noon start time to seat two players at each of the tables. The delay also brought an admonishment from tournament director Jack Effel to show up on time before giving the traditional “Shuffle up and deal” command to the seated players.
With the players starting at 30,000 in chips and blinds at 100-200, there were few early eliminations. Amit Makhija, James Mackey, Chau Giang, John Duthie, and Eric Froehlich were some of the notable players who left empty-handed within the first few hours. Barry Greenstein, Antonio Esfandiari, Vitaly Lunkin, and William Thorson soon followed them out the door. David Singer emerged as chip leader after he flopped a set of threes against his opponent's pocket jacks to take his stack up to 125,000. Then Toto Leonidas cracked pocket aces with , flopping trip nines, to move up the leaderboard to 83,000.
The remaining players returned from their 90-minute dinner break with the blinds at 500-1000. Darryll Fish soared into the chip lead when he got involved in a hand with Vivek Rajkumar. Over 30,000 was in the pot when Fish and Rajkumar saw the flop of . Fish led out with a bet of 24,600 as Rajkumar called. The on the turn brought a check to Fish, followed by Rajkumar moving in with the rest of his chips. Fish made the call with , while Rajkumar had for an open-ended straight draw. The on the river knocked Rajkumar out of the tournament, as Fish held 195,000 in chips to take the top spot.
Kirill Gerasimov also increased his stack after the dinner break, flopping a set of sixes against Bill Edler's flush draw, to dispose of Edler while Gerasimov chipped up to 140,000. The list of eliminations continued to grow as Joe Sebok, Adam Junglen, Ted Lawson, Jared Hamby, and Jason Mercier all saw their $10,000 investments yield nothing in a few hours.
David “The Dragon” Pham was the next player to take a turn at the top of the leaderboard, first doubling up to 127,000 when his pocket aces bested an opponent's pocket queens. A few hands later, Pham's won a race against Abe Mosseri's , taking The Dragon to 160,000. Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi attempted to double up with a pair of red queens against Michiel Brummelhuis' . However, an ace appeared right in the door as the flop came down , and no further help arrived for Mizrachi, sending him to the rail and catapulting Brummelhuis into the lead with 182,000 as the players were in the penultimate level of the night. David Singer had been the chip leader earlier in the day, but Singer hit a sour note when his ran into Michael Kamran's pocket aces. Singer made his exit from the tournament as Kamran now had 160,000.
The final level of play began with just 99 players remaining, as nearly two-thirds of the field had been eliminated. Brummelhuis continued to add to his chip lead, taking down a pot when he first flopped set of eights, then made the nut flush on the river. He finished the day with 330,200 in chips. That would be more than enough to top the rest of the field at the conclusion of Day 1.
Toto Leonidas (241,100) ended the day in second, with Kirill Gerasimov (213,200) in third. David Pham (187,500), Isaac Haxton (141,400), Erik Seidel (118,500), defending champion Nenad Medic (95,400), and Vanessa Rousso (76,2000) are among the 85 players returning to the Rio at 2pm (assuming they show up on time) Wednesday for Day 2, with only 27 making the money. PokerNews will be there to report all the double-ups, bust-outs, race situations and other exciting tournament action.