The day began twelve hours ago with high expectations as more than 2,300 players crowded into the Rio to hear Joe Cada announce, "Shuffle up and deal!" For some, it was all downhill from there while others ended the day atop a chip mountain. Mathiu Sauriol bagged up more chips than any of the other 1,600+ players who made it through the day. He'll return with 168,900, which makes him the third biggest stack in the room to start Day 2a. (Day 1a's chip leader, Corwin Cole, has 228,200.)
Former Main Event Champion Johnny Chan ended the night right behind Sauriol with 163,700. Lauren Kling crushed the later levels, finishing with 149,650. Barny Boatman, Michael Reed, and Robert Mizrachi also accumulated field-leading stacks.
David Williams jetted to an early lead, crossing the 100,000-chip mark shortly after the first break. He lost a little momentum in the middle levels, but ended the day strong with 112,225. Lex Veldhuis, Todd Terry, Jennifer Leigh, Dan Smith, Billy Kopp, and Hoyt Corkins will also return with large stacks. Joe Cada, Patrik Antonius, and Daniel Negreanu finished in the middle of the pack, and Dennis Phillips and James Van Alstyne have their work cut out for them when the come back among the shortest stacks.
Alex Outhred jumped to a the top of the counts in the middle of the day, then crashed and burned just as quickly, not making it to bag-and-tag. Outhred wasn't alone, of course. Nearly 700 of the players who began the day found their Main Event dreams sidelined before the end of the night. Huck Seed, fresh from winning the Tournament of Champions a few days ago, barely stuck around for an hour, and Dario Minieri didn't last much longer. Former Main Event Champions Phil Hellmuth and Jerry Yang won't be repeating, nor will November Niner Steven Begleiter. Ayaz Mahmood, Men Nguyen, and Ryan Welch all picked up WSOP hardware earlier this year, but they won't be capping off successful summers with deep Main Event runs. Tom Dwan, Chad Brown, Bill Gazes, Neil Channing, Chau Giang, and Jeff Madsen won't be back either. Non-poker celebs Scott Ian, Shanna Moakler, and Anthony Rapp also ended their brief start turns in the poker world.
For now, the players who survived the day are off to rest for their return to the Rio on Friday. While they take it easy, the Rio is gearing up for the biggest day of the summer. Day 1d's massive field will join the 4,625 who already played to make this the second largest Main Event on record. Tune in tomorrow to follow all of the Main Event insanity as it happens.
Alex Gomes got the rest of his chips in the middle with , but could not improve against Billy Kopp's . Gomes hit the rail and Kopp is up to 114,000.
Joe Cada open-raised, and a short-stacked player three-bet to commit most of his stack. Cada went ahead and put him in, and his opponent called his last 6,600 with . The news was not friendly; Cada turned up and was poised for the knockout.
The board came , and that's just fine with Cada. He's eliminated a player, and the defending champ is at about 55,000 near night's end.
On a flop, Dennis Phillips checked, the button bet 1,600 and Phillips raised to 4,000. Not backing down in the least, the button moved all-in and Phillips decided to wait for a better spot, folding his pocket tens. The button showed and raked in the pot.
Tom Dwan's quest to destroy the poker economy is over for now. Two last hands did him in. First, he opened to 1,025 pre-flop from under the gun and was called in three spots. On a , Dwan tried a continuation-bet for another 1,025. One player called. From there, the two checked it down to showdown, and . Dwan's opponent turned over , to which Dwan could only stare at the ceiling and muck.
The very next hand Dwan, sitting in the big blind, called a late-position player's raise to 1,100. The rest of Dwan's stack, about 2,000 in total, went into the middle on a flop of . Dwan turned up for top two pair, jacks and tens. He was up against , a six-outer draw. The turn was a blank , but the river ended Dwan's tournament by giving his opponent a straight.
Dwan stood up and started to walk away from the table. Then he turned back, ripped the button with a picture of Peter Jetten hugging a koala off of his chest and threw it down on his chair before exiting the floor.
Wow. Alex Outhred was in the top five heading to dinner, but it didn't take him long to drop from 105,000 to zero. First he was two-outed on the river in an ugly pot to fall back into the middle of the pack, but he was still above average. In his final hand, Outhred raised to 1,100 preflop and got one caller. It came , and Outhred bet out. His opponent raised, and Outhred shoved. His opponent snapped with a set, and Outhred was suddenly hanging by a top-pair thread.
The turn and river failed to come to his rescue, and when the stacks were counted, Outhred was just covered. He headed out into the night in a much different mood than he would have predicted a level ago.