They began to enter the hallways of the Rio Convention Center in the morning hours. Despite a noon start time, those new to the Rio or Las Vegas itself took the opportunity to mill the corridors, familiarize themselves with the layout, pinpoint food and bathroom locations, and gear up for the biggest poker tournament of the year, possibly the biggest of their lives. Some of them looked lost, but all of them were clearly excited. The opportunity of a lifetime waited.
The 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event was underway. The $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Championship is the most prestigious tournament in all of the poker industry, as it has been for decades. And it is the largest live poker tournament, not to mention the most watched by poker fans all over the world.
Monday, July 5 marked the first of four starting days of the Series’ Main Event. And a few announcements regarding the structure of it all were made prior to the start of the day.
• Day 1A finishers will join Day 1C survivors to play Day 2A on July 9.
• Day 1B finishers will join Day 1D survivors to play Day 2B on July 10.
• Day 2A and 2B finishers will combine into one solid field on Monday, July 12.
• Late registrants on Day 1D may “limit your flexibility” including the chance to be “shut out of the tournament” altogether.
• The starting days would consist of 4.5 levels each, meaning those days should finish before midnight barring any complications.
Day 1A ran for hours before official numbers were given late in the afternoon. As it happened, there were 1,125 players in the field, which was a slight increase over last year’s Day 1A number of 1,116. Unofficially, it was noted that more than 4,400 players were registered for all starting days, but that was a figure from the mid-afternoon and would change by the hour as the Main Event progressed.
The players in Day 1A were predominantly housed in the Amazon Room, though approximately 18 tables were in the Pavilion Ballroom, only to have those tables broken first to consolidate everyone into the Amazon for the ease of reporting and handling the tournament from a staff and dealer perspective. Some of the tables were also ten-handed to start the day but were made nine-handed as players were eliminated and space was made available.
The early levels of the day consisted primarily of identifying big names in the field, as well as those associated with particular sponsorships and qualifiers that promoted online poker websites. Former champions Chris Moneymaker, Bobby Baldwin, and official Day 1A “shuffle up and deal” commander Greg Raymer were in the crowd, as were celebrities like Ray Romano, David Alan Grier, and NBA star Shawn Marion. Reigning WSOP Europe Main Event champion Barry Shulman was also in the first starting field.
As it was easy to spot players and name them as they took their seats, it was almost easier to report their eliminations as they stood up, stance missing confidence and faces without the previous excited smiles, to leave. Some of the notable Day 1A bustouts included the aforementioned Raymer, Romano, Marion and Shulman, along with Nick Schulman, David “Chino” Rheem, Victor Ramdin, Al “Sugar Bear” Barbieri, Jimmy Fricke, Mike Caro, Andy Black, Isaac Haxton, Kirill Gerasimov, Mike Matusow, and Erik Seidel.
When the day ended, some reports showed 819 players still holding chips, and that number changed several times, but the latest report indicated the correct number was 766 players who survived the day. The chip counts showed James Mitchell in the lead and the top ten chip counts as follows:
|James Mitchell ||241,075 |
|Corwin Cole ||228,200 |
|Dwyen Ringbauer||191,125 |
|Michael Mizrachi ||142,650 |
|Felix Bleiker ||136,300 |
|Heinz Kamutzki ||135,750 |
|Steven Chao ||126,500 |
|Ville Haavisto ||124,975 |
|Kevin McGowan ||120,900 |
|Jakob Karlsson ||119,925 |
Numbers were released over the holiday weekend for the first 55 events of the 2010 WSOP. With the first 55 tournaments tallied, the final number of entrants was 63,706, which surpassed the last year’s number of 60,875 and marked a 20 percent increase in attendance. And among the tens of thousands of players in the 2010 preliminary tournaments, there were 107 countries represented, though that number can rise as the participants in the Main Event are soon to be included in the numbers.
Out of the preliminary bracelet events in 2010, the largest was Event 3, the first $1K NLHE tournament, which attracted 4,345 players. And the largest prize pool of the season thus far was Event 2, the $50K Poker Players’ Championship, which accumulated $5,568,000 in prize money and awarded $1,559,046 in prize money. All in all, the first 55 events put together a cumulative prize pool of $113,948,265.
The final 2010 numbers will be released upon the completion of all four starting days of the Main Event.