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WSOP 2014: Day 1 Report

The first day of the 2014 World Series of Poker is now behind us. Although we are at the very start, most of the familiar names are already in Vegas and they wasted no time getting their feet wet. But let’s do this in chronological order.

During the opening ceremony, Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the WSOP, made a short greeting speech, welcoming everyone to the 45th WSOP, finishing with a rather rhetorical question in a room full of poker players: Do you like money?

After these words, players were taken by surprise as cannons around the tournament room started blasting out $1 bills and it was free money for everyone in the room. Everyone attending the opening ceremony tried to get their hands on as much of it as possible and in the end, a total of $10,000 found its way to new owners. Quite a spectacle, but well-fitted for the biggest festival of poker anywhere on the planet.

After the festivities were over, it was time to get down to business. The series officially started with the first bracelet event, the $500 Casino Employees NLHE Tournament. There were 756 registered players to start, but by the time registration closed, this number climbed to 876, creating a total prize pool of $394,200. With 90 places guaranteed to receive money, the winner will be walking away with a $82,835 prize and, of course, the bracelet.

Action was really fast and furious and by the end of 11 levels of play, only 51 players still had a stack to return with today. Bagging the chip lead was Corey Emery, a poker dealer from California. He jumped into the lead near the end of the day and has a stack of 164,900. Jay Graunstadt will be chasing Emery, as he is second in chips with 125,000. Graunstadt is a 35-year-old casino host from Las Vegas. Other notable stacks belong to Aaron Henderson (115,700) and Peter Alba (105,000).

Not taking anything away from the first event, it was Event #2 that attracted much more attention. Starting a few hours after Event #1, the $25,000 Mixed-Max NLHE Event gathered some of the biggest names in the industry, the likes of Brian Rast, Phil Galfond, Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu, to mention a few.

When the registration closed, a total of 131 players signed up to put $25,000 on the line for a shot at their share of a $3,111,250 prize pool. Of this number, $871,000 is reserved for the winner, while the rest will be divided amongst the other top 15 finishers.

More than half the field has been eliminated so far, as only 60 remain. This means that there are quite a few who have already lost their chance to partake in prizes. The list includes Marvin Rettenmaeir, Chino Rheem, Joe Cada, Dan Smith and Jason Koon. A bit of a rough start for them, but if there is one thing WSOP doesn’t lack, it’s tournaments to play, so we are sure they will be back in action in no time.

The other side of the spectrum is made up of those who survived the first day and on top of that list is Vanesa Selbst. After raking in a huge pot with quads near the end of the day, Vanesa will be returning with 562,800. On her heels is Big One for One Drop finalist Brian Rast, who bagged 557,400. Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi is in the third chip position, although with some work to do if he is to catch up with these two, as his stack is 399,300.

Among the top ten stacks are also Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates and John Juanda. Quite a few other big names made it through the day, including both Phils (Ivey and Hellmuth), Justin Bonomo, Sam Trickett, Jason Mercier and Daniel Negreanu. The remaining 60 players will be taking their seats today at 6-handed tables, as this is a mixed-max event. After that, those still in will play 4-handed and, eventually, heads up for the winner.

As for today’s schedule, there is only one event planned to take place and that is Event #3 – $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha. WSOP officials have good projections for player numbers in Omaha events, so we will see what transpires today. PokerUpdate will be back with a report on today’s happenings on the green felt and we should bring you the news on the first awarded bracelet for Event #1 if everything goes as planned.

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Ivan Potocki

Ivan is an aspiring journalist writer from Bosnia and Herzegovina. With a degree in English Literature and a fiery work ethic, Ivan adds a dynamic and flexible element to the PokerUpdate writing staff.