The Main Event of the 2008 World Series of Poker – the $10 000 buy-in World Championship No-Limit Hold'em – has started with Day 1A at the Rio in Las Vegas, and there have already been some notable eliminations.
To recap on the format for the world's richest and greatest poker event, the Main Event will feature play over four Day 1's, then take a day off before starting again on two Day 2 flights, taking another five days to reach a final table of nine survivors. This year there is a radical departure from the usual format in that final table play will not take place until November, when the final table action will be over a two day period to accommodate ESPN television scheduling requirements.
The numbers for this year are not yet available, but speculation is that last year's Day 1A turnout of 1 258 players has been overtaken and overall registrations appear to be up.
A total of 6 358 players registered for last year's WSOP Main Event, a substantial drop from the 2006 field of 8 773. In last year's Main Event the prize-pool of $ 59 784 954 meant that 621 players made the cash bubble, with winner Jerry Yang taking home a main prize check for $8 250 000.
Top WSOP money winners on the record books are Jamie Gold ($12 014 078); Jerry Yang ($8 250 000) and Joseph Hachem ($7 927 291), and the record holders for WSOP event bracelets are Phil Hellmuth (11 bracelets and total winnings of $9 584 819) with three other aces holding 10 bracelets each: Johnny Chan ($5 936 191); Doyle Brunson ($5 100 282) and Johnny Moss ($1 157 495)
This year's Main Event Day 1A features a stellar list of big names who have entered that includes Freddy Deeb, Eli Elezra, Josh Arieh, J.J. Liu, Svetlana Gromenkova, Thomas Wahlroos, Kido Pham, Tuan Lam, Jon Turner, Raymond Rahme, Noah Boeken, Mark Vos, Joe Beevers, Joe Sebok, Vince Van Patten, Paul Wasicka, Toto Leonidas, Matt Stout, Young Phan, Shannon Shorr, Billy Baxter and Susie Isaacs. On the celebrity front, Ray Romano and Jason Alexander are again giving it their best shot.
Surprise eliminations in Day 1A as we went to press included Internet stars Tom Durr and James Mackey, David Benyamine, John Gale, David Pham and David "Devilfish" Ulliott.