The final Day One of the 2012 World Series of Poker Championship Event finally hit the felt yesterday, with a throng of players storming through the Rio to take their shot at the biggest prize in tournament poker. By the time the dust settled, the final numbers for the 2012 WSOP Championship Event became the fifth largest in the 43-year history of the tournament.
Following the call to action by Howard “Tahoe” Andrew, who stepped to the felt yesterday for the 39th consecutive year in the Championship Event, and poker rights activist Dean Heller, the players got to the serious business of…well, working their way through Day 1C. Both the Amazon and Brasilia Rooms were packed from the start – this being the final Day One of the Championship Event – and the next potential World Champion(s) continued to stream through the doors of the Rio as the afternoon wore on.
While you might think that some players would want to spend just a few moments in the Championship Event (and get their $10,000 worth), that would prove not to be the case for some. Within moments of the opening bell, noted online pro Gabriel ‘verve.oasis’ Goffi and an opponent would get their chips to the center of the table with Goffi holding pocket Kings to the Jacks of his opponent following a 4-J-5 flop. After a Queen on the turn, Goffi hit his King on the river to save him but crush his opponent down to only 250 chips a half hour into the Day 1C proceedings.
The Canadian contingent for Day 1C was highlighted by the appearance of former World Champion Jonathan Duhamel, joined by Daniel Idema, Mike Leah and Terrence Chan (among others). Chan was particularly surprising in his appearance as he Tweeted before the start of the day’s play, “Concussion update: had a much better day, still trouble with focus, bright lights and noises.” Apparently Chan suffered his injury during a MMA training session and, while he was uncomfortable through much of the day, he would survive through the grind to head to Day 2B with 68,500 in chips.
Another surprising arrival at the WSOP battlegrounds was that of another former World Champion. As the Day 1C action got underway, poker legend Doyle Brunson – who had previously stated he wasn’t going to participate in this year’s event – seemed to reconsider his intentions as the clarion call of the WSOP Championship Event sounded. “I’m having second thoughts about playing the Main Event,” Brunson Tweeted to his followers. “I’m pretty tired after all this playing but it’s such a great event!” After further thought, Brunson would late register for the tournament and finish off the day with 81,400 in chips to move onto Day 2B.
When the final players had worked their way through the late registration process, the final numbers would be satisfying to most in the poker world. 3418 runners came to the line on Day 1C to blast the total WSOP Championship Event count up to 6598. While not more than the 6865 that hit the felt in 2011, the number is better than most believed this year’s Championship Event would bring in. That 6598 player field will pay out 666 players (the same number as 2008, ironically) and the eventual champion of the “October Nine” (remember, this year’s final table will be played a week earlier than in the past) will take down a $8,527,982 first place prize.
By the time the day had come to a close, there were several Canadian players who had posted their name in the upper echelons of the rankings. We’d love to tell you who the top ranking Canadian player was, but he (or she) did not write their name on their chip bag at the end of the night! What we do know is that player hails from Winnipeg and is sitting with 148,625 in chips, just off the Top Ten.
Joining “The Unknown Canadian” in the upper reaches of the table is a familiar name to many poker fans. Vancouver’s Brad Booth was able to bag up 146,025 in chips by the end of the night (good for fifteenth place), with Gloucester’s Roger Lamia right behind him with 145,000. On down the Top 100 are Winnipeg’s Phillip MacDonald (48th, 116,825) and Toronto’s Sorel Mizzi (71st, 110,975), while Duhamel will not return for Day 2B play.
These men will all be chasing these players when the 2300 survivors return on Wednesday for action:
1. Jason Laso, 240,350
2. Randy Haddox, 188,275
3. Erik Hellman, 175,950
4. Marco Bognanni, 169,600
5. Daniel Morgan, 160,025
6. Mathias Maasberg, 159,150
7. Anthony Guetti, 158,775
8. Joon Hee Yea, 157,175
9. Max Ovseyevitz, 156,300
10. Dag Martin Mikkelsen, 155,900
Also making it to Day 2B will be several former World Champions – Joe Cada (117,375), Jamie Gold (24,800), Johnny Chan (82.300) and Tom McEvoy (24,125) – alongside Phil Ivey (11,525) and “The Big One For One Drop” champion Antonio Esfandiari (78,925).
When you add in the players from Day 1C to the first two days, here’s the overall leaderboard as the survivors head to the first of three Day Twos:
1. William John, 266,700 (Day 1A chip leader)
2. Jason Laso, 240,350
3. Randy Haddox, 188,275
4. John Hoang, 180,000 (Day 1B chip leader)
5. Erik Hellman, 175,950
6. James Schafer, 171,250 (Day 1B)
7. Marco Bognanni, 169,600
8. Vanessa Selbst, 168,350 (Day 1B)
9. Gerardo Lubas, 165,825 (Day 1A)
10. Daniel Strelitz, 164,125 (Day 1A)
Today’s action will bring both Day 1A and 1B together for action, but not with each other. The 657 players who survived Day 1A will be playing separate from the 1387 players from Day 1B, but they will both be in action at the same time (hence their separate Day 2A and 2B designations). The Day 1C forces will not be back in play until tomorrow, when the 2300 hopefuls will return to take on Day 2C. On Thursday, the field will join together for the first time as the pursuit of the next World Champion of poker continues at the 2012 World Series of Poker Championship Event.