The main event action at the World Series of Poker continued to climb as Day 1B attracted a field of 1 545, with a possible 1 600 or more players planned for Day 1 C. And in Day 1A (see previous InfoPowa report) a 1 287 player turnout was disappointingly lower than the previous year's 3 000 registrations when play commenced, with 837 players eliminated by the early hours of the following morning after around 16 hours of tough poker action, leaving 450 hopefuls to go through to the next round.
Tinten Olivier has the top chip stack from Day 1A on 270 500, with his nearest rival John Dutchak on 209 600. It was a hard day for many celebrities, with poker pro Barry Greenstein one of the few poker stars to finish high on the list in Day 1A. Former World Champions Bobby Baldwin and Huck Seed also survived Day 1A, but with limited chips. Television celebrity Brad Garrett of "Everybody loves Raymond" fame also survived with a $70,000 chip stack, and movie Spiderman Tobey McGuire made it through as well.
Players have the option of four starting days – 1A through 1D – on registration, and many make the choice a strategic decision, says WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "It's a combination of strategy and choice," he says.
Day 1B is now in progress and the player list includes experienced hands like former World Champions Dan Harrington, Joe Hachem, Tom McEvoy and Scotty Nguyen. Also playing are celebrities Montel Williams, Norm MacDonald, Howard Lederer, Annie Duke, Kathy Liebert, Paul Wasicka, Robert Mizrachi, Patrik Antonius, Tony G, Bill Chen, Sam Farha and David Williams.
Day1B of the World Series of Poker main event in Las Vegas wound to a weary finale in the wee small hours after almost 15 hours of hard fought poker as a starting field of 1 545 players tried to survive for the next round. In a star-studded field were five former world champs and, for the first time, a blind competitor.
Those former champs – Joe Hachem, Scotty Nguyen, Tom McEvoy, Berry Johnston and Dan Harrington will all be going on to Day 2, having survived the first obstacle on their (hopeful) path to the final table and the millions that await the overall winner of the planet's biggest poker game. Other "names" that managed to stay in the hunt include motivational speaker Montel Williams, Robert Mizrachi, John Duthie, Richard Lee, Evelyn Ng, Matt Matros, David ‘The Dragon' Pham, Doug Kim, Cliff Josephy and Tony G.
And of course the ultimate winner, Dag Mikkelsen all the way from Norway.
On the negative side, the eliminations included Kathy Liebert, Erik Seidel, Jennifer Harman, Justin Bonomo, Isabelle Mercier, Jeffrey Lisandro, Howard Lederer, Annie Duke, Paul Nobles and Kevin Saul. One of the players headed for the rail, David Singer, did not go quietly or happily following a dispute over an opponent's cellphone ringing at a crucial point in a hand. Singer's protest was overuled by floor management and his elimination stood.
Blind player Jason Holbrook finally took his seat in this event after a long drawn out debate with the WSOP organisers, where they finally relented and allowed him to play with a sighted "whisperer" at his side. Unfortunately he was eliminated in Day 1B and will not appear again in the 2007 main event.
Dag Mikkelsen ended the day with the highest chip stack on 236 000, chased by Jeff Banghart (186 200) and Albert Strickland (180 700)
The Day 1 section is now halfway through, and Day 1C has commenced on time with the unofficial count for the starting field up at just over 1 700 players. Unofficial projections on the likely total of numbers of players for this main event now hover around 6 000, substantially down from the 8 773 registered for last year's event, when Internet sponsored players were welcomed.
Early eliminations in Day 1C included two celebrity players who share their private lives, too – Phil Laak and movie actress Jennifer Tilly.
Other poker and television, sports or movie celebrities taking their seats included Seinfeld's Jason Alexander, Phil Ivey, Greg Raymer, Chris Moneymaker, Mike Matusow, boxing champion Antonio Tarver, Chris Ferguson, T.J Cloutier, recording artist Nelly, Brad Daugherty, Phil Gordon, J.C. Tran, and Allen Cunningham.