After starting the day with the nearly 3,000-player field spread all over the Rio, we are now completely inside the "Black" section of the Pavilion room. Just 405 players remain as players begin the last one-hour level of the night.
Meanwhile, we'll get back on the track and see who's leading the pack as Day 1 comes to a close.
With the flop reading , a player bet 2,500 from late position and Michael Hopkins three-bet for his last 9,075. His opponent decided to look Hopkins up and called with his for top pair and a strong kicker. Hopkins revealed the for top two-pair, however, and his opponent was in bad shape.
The turn came , providing the opponent with a glimmer of hope. He could now spike any king, queen or jack to claim the pot.
The brick on the river sealed the win for Hopkins and he doubled up to nearly 20,000.
Phil Hellmuth raised to 1,350 from middle position preflop and the player in the small blind called. The flop ran out . The player in the small blind checked and Hellmuth made it 900 to go. His opponent made the call.
The hit on the turn. The player in the small blind checked and Hellmuth bet out 1,800. He said "I take this one, you take the next one" as his opponent was thinking. His opponent made the call and checked in the dark for the river.
The river brought the and Hellmuth checked. His opponent turned over and Hellmuth folded his cards into the muck.
We came upon the hand that crippled David Singer as the river card was being dealt. The board showed and Singer's opponent -- whom it appears was checked to in middle position -- was pushing all in. Singer thought a while, then called from the small blind, showing for two pair. But his opponent had for a better two pair, and Singer was left with less than 1,000 chips.
He had the button the next hand, and folded as a player pushed all in ahead of him. The following hand not one but two players went all in ahead of him, and he folded again. In that one -- an vs. affair -- the dealer actually mistakenly pushed the winner's chips into Singer's tiny pile. Confusion may have ensued, if Singer didn't already know for certain what he had left.
"Five twenty-five," he said with a grim-looking grin. And all those chips were pushed back over to his neighbor.
Finally all in on the next hand, Singer was up against two opponents, one of whom bet into the dry side pot following the flop, forcing out the other. The bettor showed and Singer . Lots of outs for Singer, but the turn was the and the river the , and wishing his opponents good luck, Singer hit the rail.
Jay Tan got her last chips into the middle holding and was called by a player with the . They were off to the races and when the flop came , Tan was off to a big head start. The on the turn put extended her lead and with the on the river, the checkered flag was hers.
While she counted her newly replenished stack, Tan cheered "Ooh, the nuts too, what a way to win in style!"
With his French compatriots having already captured three gold bracelets in this year's WSOP, Laury Vanlerberghe looked to continue the Franco-revival, eliminating an opponent in the process.
Vanlerberghe raised to 4,000 before the flop and his opponent shoved over the top for his last 8,425. After asking for a count, Vanlerberghe made the call and showed down his , which put him in a dominating position over the other player's .
The final board rolled out and Vanlerberghe's ace-king high was the winner.
Down to about 3,000 and sitting under the gun, Bruno Politano pushed all in without looking at his cards, preferring to do so before the blinds reached him once more. There would be a reraise from middle position and another all-in push from late position, and soon Politano and his two opponents were tabling their cards.
The reraiser showed and the other all-in player had . Politano turned his hand over -- -- and all watched as the dealer burned a card and spread the flop...
"Ohhh!" cried Politano. The turn was the , and he quickly tried to estimate if the others were drawing dead (they were). The meaningless fell on the river, and Politano scooped the pot of a little over 10,000.
"Back in the game... nine thousand!" he said excitedly as he stacked his chips. "No, ten thousand!"
"Okay, Mr. Ten Thousand," said the dealer, momentarily interrupting him. "It's your big blind."