Well, that's three starting days of the Main Event down, one to go.
This Day 1c is in the books after five levels, a relatively easy day as far as the Series is concerned. Our Day 1a (897) and Day 1b (985) fields tallied up to 1,882, and that overall number was more than doubled today. An impressive 2,181 players chose this day as their starting day, a much bigger turnout than many of the players and media were guessing. After three days, 4,056 players have put up the $10,000 required to play, and we're going to have another full house of players tomorrow. Reaching the 6,000 mark is a lock (in fact, we're told that many are already registered), and hitting that magical 7,000 number is within the realm of possibility, at least. Unlikely, but possible.
We had Chris McClung as our chip leader with 162,375 at night's end, but there are some murmurs that Kevin Song bagged up 163,325. We can't confirm the latter for sure, but we can tell you that both men still trail the 209,500 chips that Day 1a that big stack Fred Berger bagged up a couple nights ago.
One of the greatest features of the Main Event is that it brings together a far-reaching group of players, some of whom are much better known away from the felt. The WSOP welcomed a champion from the hardwood today as Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics came out with guns blazing. It took just a couple levels for him to climb close to 100,000 and near the top of our counts, but a late-day cool-off set him back to a still-quite-healthy 63,750 at night's end. Also in the field was Australian cricketing legend Shane Warne, former Olympic boxer Audley Harrison, the TV funnyman duo of Brad Garrett and Ray Romano, Hungarian model Krisztina Polgar, and a 91-year-old woman, Ms. Ellen Deeb. Of that list, only Brad Garrett and Audley Harrison survived long enough to bag up chips.
2011 bracelet winners go at the top of the list of notables, and we had several of them in this third flight, too. Allen Bari, Jason Somerville, and Fabrice Soulier all came and went very quickly, though, all coming up several thousand places short in their bids to snag another bracelet for the other arm this summer.
Former Main Event champions? We had a whole gaggle of them! Seven, in fact. Chris Moneymaker got a special introduction over the speaker system as he sat down to play, but he was run out of the room within the first levels when he got his money in with pocket threes against pocket tens on a jack-ten-nine flop. That was all she wrote, and Moneymaker is still looking for his first Main Event cash since he won the thing eight years ago. The other WSOP kings joining the field all survived including Bobby Baldwin (27,500), Scotty Nguyen (48,325), Dan Harrington (42,300), Joe Cada (58,225), Jonathan Duhamel (41,150), and the Brat himself (and Player of the Year leader), Phil Hellmuth. The antics of Hellmuth's entry were tuned down a bit this year, but he still made quite a scene in the corridor as he walked through with cameras leading and a crowd of fans trailing. It was mostly a bad day for Hellmuth, though, and he could only save 11,800 chips to come back to on Day 2. There's good news for Hellmuth on Day 2, though. He's drawn Table 99 (lucky for Hellmuth) Seat 7 (lucky for everyone!).
Other notable survivors today include Daniel "jungleman12" Cates, Adam Junglen, Ted Forrest, Humberto Brenes, Mark Newhouse (who was near the top of the chip counts most of the day), and the 2002 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, Praytush Buddiga. Big stacks? Junglen is one of them with 127,025 chips, and he's in the mix with Giuseppe Zarbo (159,400), Daniel Skolovys (151,475), Don Nguyen (136,000), and Sean Picquelle (120,275).
All of those guys (and about 1,300 others) should consider themselves both lucky and skilled to have successfully navigated through the minefield that is Day 1 of the Main Event. Well, lucky, at least. The lucky survivors will play Day 2a on Tuesday at high noon.
That's just about all we have for tonight from the Rio. Tomorrow, we'll get another couple thousand grinders in here to fill out the field, and it's always an exciting time when that first-place prize is announced to the masses. We'll be among those masses on Sunday, and we hope you'll join us back here as we finalize this Main Event field and begin to build the excitement through the play-down days and onward to the final table.
For now we will leave you with Lynn Gilmartin's video update, and until tomorrow, then, all that's left is goodnight!