Van Der Spuy Leads, Martini a Close Second After Day 1b of $10,000 WSOP Main Event No-Limit Hold'em World Championship

Jean-Pierre van der Spuy

Excitement, fireworks, and drinking beers to cap off the night - three things that the Fourth of July has in common with the World Series of Poker Main Event. While many Americans were celebrating the festivities outside today, there was a gathering of around 1,118 players from all around the world inside the Horseshoe Casino Las Vegas for Event #76: $10,000 WSOP Main Event No-Limit Hold'em World Championship.

When all the dust settled after an exciting five two-hour levels, there were just over 800 players advancing to Day 2abc on Friday, July 7th at 12 p.m. noon. Leading the pack was online grinder Jean-Pierre van der Spuy, who jumped into the lead in the dying moments of Day 1b with a stack of 287,000. Van der Spuy is a well-known online poker pro but has yet to record a live tournament score. The South African will be looking to make his first one count in the 2023 WSOP Main Event. Following in his footsteps is four-time bracelet winner Julien Martini with 284,700 chips along with Yuze Ding with 284,500; Ding battled at the same table as Martini throughout proceedings.

Event #76: $10,000 WSOP Main Event World Championship Day 1b Top 10 Chip Counts

RankPlayerCountryChip CountBig Blinds
1Jean-Pierre van der SpuySouth Africa287,000359
2Julien MartiniFrance286,000358
3Yuze DingUnited States284,500356
4Gar CheungUnited States281,500352
5Andrew GrahamUnited States277,700347
6Scott NumotoUnited States268,200335
7Patrik AntoniusFinland263,500329
8Jevon LamUnited States243,000304
9Robert LofasoUnited States233,500292
10Anatoly FilatovRussia231,000289

There were only two former Main Event champions that jumped into the Day 1b field: Greg Raymer and Johnny Chan. For the 2004 champion, Raymer wasted little time getting to work by doubling his stack in the first few moments after sitting down. Raymer finished the day with 201,400 chips coming off his latest Senior's tournament victory at the Golden Nugget. As for Chan, he strolled into the tournament area a little later but also built up his stack over the next couple of levels. Chan went on to bag 218,000 chips, and both of them will join the four previous winners from Day 1a.

Johnny Chan
Two-time WSOP Main Event champion Johnny Chan

No Shortage of Table-Talk

There was no lack of chatter in the tournament area from the drop of the hat with Martin Kabrhel getting involved from the very first hand. Kabrhel was up to his usual tricks with his mouth, however, his chips did less talking. Kabrhel opted to run an ace-high bluff in the second level of the day but was bounced by a rivered pair from Michael Demarco.

Another player that doesn't shy away from some table talk was the ever-so-popular Steven "Cuz" Buckner. After taking a bad beat in the early going, Buckner attempted to rebuild his stack throughout the day but was unable to get things rolling his way. Buckner was also among those that failed to advance to the next day.

Joining Buckner on the sidelines were Haven Werner, Santiago Plante, Galen Hall, and Jacqueline Burkhart - who belted out the US national anthem during a short stint on the feature table.

Jimmy D'Ambrosio spent a level on the feature table showing his outgoing character and chatted away but returned to the outer tables as one of the shorter stacks. His attempt at spinning up a stack looked promising - going from 2,500 all the way up to 32,000 - but his luck ended in the final level of the night when his pocket queens ran into Todd Hovenden's pocket aces. If that wasn't bad enough, two more aces on the flop spelled the end to D'Ambrosio's Main Event.

Jimmy d'Ambrosio
Jimmy d'Ambrosio

The day belonged to the silent killers on Day 1b as many other big names managed to maneuver their way through the field en route to bagging up a stack for Day 2abc in just a few days. The likes of Patrik Antonius (263,500) and Daniel Rezaei (216,200) quietly battled for the chip lead in the later stages of the day but were forced to settle for positions inside the top 20 instead.

Other high-rollers and household names advancing from Day 1b included Chris Brewer, Isaac Haxton, Jason Koon, and Scott Seiver. They will be joined by a couple of the young guns sneaking their way into the scene. Cole Ferraro (179,000) already has one WSOP bracelet to his name at the young age of 22 and is widely regarded as one of the best up-and-coming players in his generation. Frederic Normand (95,900) will also move on to Day 2 and is coming off multiple deep runs this summer already.

With the excitement and fireworks out of the way, the night was capped off with the infamous 'Beer Level' as many players engaged in some alcoholic beverages in the final level of the night. "Cocktails!" was the most common exclamation in the last 60 minutes of the night as players rejoiced in making it one step further on their way to poker glory.

Beer O'Clock
Beer Level

There are still two more starting flights waiting to take place over the next couple of days, and they are expected to attract the most players. Day 1c will kick off at 12 p.m. noon local time on July 5 and will have the same structure as the previous flights with five two-hour levels and a 75-minute dinner break after Level 3.

The PokerNews live reporting team will be back on the tournament floor to bring you all of the exciting highlights and action from the day in what could be a historic WSOP Main Event.

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  • Another bumper crowd turned out for Day 1b of the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event.

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