The next big NLHE event drew a whopping 1,919 with a prize pool of $3,492,580. That number was reduced to 124 after ten levels of play, and many of the top pros excelled through the day including a Main Event Champion on a hot streak.
Juan Carlos Mortensen, fresh off a final table in Event #2, started right where he left off; architecting a new building design with all the chips he was accumulating. Event #2’s construction paid homage to the Eiffel Tower, while this event’s chips seem to be a more conservative office building construction. When you have the chips Mortensen has, there are many options for what to do with them.
It was a day of tough beats as always in Day 1 of a NLHE event. Allen Cunningham’s pocket kings cracked by fives, Sam Farha’s aces cracked by K-5, even this author’s aces were brutally cracked in my first WSOP event. With blinds at $100/200 and sitting on $1725, the player under the gun limped, and I moved in - $1700 to go - saving the single chip as a comfort toy. The button, a player who had been scrapping with Paul Darden, made the call. Everyone folded, and he showed to my . One queen on the flop and one on the river moved my chips across the table. I’ll have an article later in the week recapping the entire experience.
Big names traded the chip lead throughout the day. Two-time WSOP Main Event champion, Johnny Chan, held the lead early in play, while David Benyamine and Toto Leonidas led at different times during the day. John D’Agostino had a very strong run at one of the first tables available to railbirds. Dags is a proven young gun, but he ran out of bullets late in the evening, cashing in the event but not starting Day 2. Surviving the day, hovering around average chips, include Cyndy Violette, Humberto Brenes, Johnny Chan, and Tony Ma. Jean-Robert Bellande, who had a sizable stack late in the day now has the dubious distinction of being the short stack with $2100 remaining in chips.
Thirteen tables will drop down to one by Sunday night, all chasing the top prize of over $800k and a World Series bracelet. Tune into PokerWorks for a recap of Sunday’s action.