On Sunday, the last of the three starting flights for the WinStar World Casino and Resort River Poker Series Main Event came to a close.
The final flight saw a grand total of 502 entries, bringing the total number of entries to 1,323. At the end of the day, Darrell Hopkins bagged not only the Day 1c chip lead, but the overall lead heading into Day 2. Hopkins' stack of 956,000 makes him the player closest to one million chips and the player best positioned to charge onward to the $1,000,000 first-place prize.
When the day began, it was a virtual certainty that the Main Event would make its $2,500,000 guaranteed prize pool. By the end of the day, it surpassed that figure by a great deal. The total prize pool amounted to $3,175,200 with the eventual champion being guaranteed $1,000,000. Since each of the starting flights played down to the top 10 percent of the field, each of the 133 returning players are guaranteed a payday. A min-cash is worth $4,415, while a final table appearance guarantees players at least $42,891.
Hopkins blossomed late in the day, catching the eyes of our PokerNews Live Reporting team just after the start of Level 17. Hopkins seemingly trended upward consistently as the evening progressed. We caught Hopkins taking down a fair-sized pot against Rodeen Talebi where the former correctly called a river bet with pocket tens to move his stack to around 800,000.
While Hopkins bagged the largest stack in the room, he's just one of the 51 progressing players from Day 1c. Other notable players to advance onto Day 2 included Sean Rice (318,00), Brandon Steven (308,000), Darren Rabinowitz (269,00), David "ODB" Baker (262,000), Noah Vaillancourt (233,000), and Justin "Choctaw" Kruger (82,000).
Hopes were dashed for several notable players who made their last effort to progress onto Day 2. Some of those who fired their final bullet on Day 1c include 2012 River Poker Series Main Event champion Aaron Massey, Allen Kessler, Tom Marchese, Grant Hinkle, David Tuthill, Jacob Bazeley, Chris Tryba, Kevin Saul, Zal Irani, and WinStar poker ambassador Maria Ho.
After busting both Day 1a and Day 1b, Ho returned for a third bullet on Day 1c. Unfortunately for her, she was only able to make it to the second break of the day. On the first hand back, she was eliminated.
Play will resume at 2 p.m. local time in the Global Event Center where the remaining 133 players will attempt to play down to a final table. As always, PokerNews will be on hand to provide live updates from the tournament floor, so stay tuned in.