Here We Go
After months of anticipation, controversy and desperate means to qualify, poker's greatest spectacle, the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, finally got underway. A day before US Independence Day, that’s July 3 people, Wayne "Mr. Vegas" Newton initiated the 39th annual event, along with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Marching Band, and then the chips and cards started to fly.
Day 1a—there are four rounds of day one, going up to Day 1d—saw a total of 1,297 players anxious to keep it cool and dig deeper into the two-week event. More have registered, but the grand total of entrants has yet to be determined. (The record was in 2006 when there were over 8,700.) But the rumours are flying in the Amazon Room (more like the Amazon Airplane Hanger) that the total could hover around the 6,500 mark.
By the end of the first day, lucky chip leaders grew their starting stacks from 20,000 to the 200,000-chip mark. Mark Garner, Kellen Hunter, Patrick Fortin, Stefan Mattsson, Jeff Frerichs, Todd Rebello, Brandon Adams, Mojgan Stringham, Bryan Colin, and Kido Pham ended the day among the top chip magnets.
About half who came out today made it through the first five levels and will be back to play on Day 2a. The other half was left to lick their wounds. Several notables saw their 2008 WSOP Main Event bracelet-hoisting dreams dashed before the day completed, including Josh Arieh, Dan Harrington, Joe Sebok, Freddy Deeb, David Benyamine, Eli Elezra, Lyle Berman, Erica Schoenberg, J.J. Liu, and 2007 Main Event runner-up Tuan Lam.