The 43rd Annual World Series of Poker is underway at the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, sounding the clarion call for poker players around the world to make their pilgrimage to the desert oasis for fame and, most of all, fortune. One event will determine a champion today, while a second tournament will get underway.
Event #1 – $500 Casino Employees No Limit Hold’em – Day One
Saluting the mostly unappreciated members of the gaming community that provide us with endless fun in casinos around the world, the traditional starting event of the WSOP, the $500 Casino Employees No Limit Hold’em event, kicked off right on time on Sunday. The tournament drew in a nice field of 732 players – down from last year’s 850 runners – with defending champion Sean Drake back to defend his crown.
The tournament had some familiar faces that earned the privilege of being eligible for the event due to their work in the industry. Poker pro Karina Jett, who is the host of the MGM’s mixed game tournament during the week, was on the felt and was successful in the early going. She would double her stack in the early going but, after six hours of play, saw those chips disappear and was eliminated.
World Poker Tour tournament director Matt Savage was also on hand and he, unfortunately, found the same fate as Jett. After getting his final chips in with A-J against a measly J-5, Savage saw his opponent hit runner-runner to make a straight and knock him out of the tournament. Also joining him on the rail for Monday’s play will be Marie-Lizette Acoba, Brett Collson and defending champion Drake.
WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart decided to demonstrate his prowess on the felt for Event #1 and his efforts didn’t disappoint. He steadily increased his chip stack and will enter into Day Two of the tournament with 69,900 in chips, good for tenth place on the leaderboard.
There are 46 players who will join Stewart in Monday’s action and the leaderboard is dominated by U. S. players. Only Switzerland’s Andre Rauch, the short stack with 11,400 in chips, looks to be from outside America. Everyone is looking up to California’s Chiab Saechao, who heads the table with his 150,600 chip stack. The players will determine a champion today to award the first bracelet of the 2012 WSOP, with the winner also taking home $70,859.
Event #2 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em – STARTING TODAY
While the Casino Employees tournament is the traditional starter for the WSOP, many look to Event #2 as the “official” opening of the WSOP schedule. This year, a $1500 No Limit Hold’em tournament has the honor of being the first “open” event to be played at the WSOP and everyone is watching it to get a determination of how popular this year’s WSOP will be.
There were six of these buy in events in last year’s schedule, with Ontario’s Kirk Caldwell earning one of those WSOP bracelets and Toronto’s Simon Charette coming up just short of taking one himself in finishing second. The fields were large – ranging from slightly less than 2200 players to a whopping 3,389 for the largest tournament – and this year’s events should see similar numbers as they offer the opportunity for poker immortality (in the form of a WSOP bracelet) for a small expenditure.
Monday’s play will mark the first time this year at the WSOP that there will be multiple events in action. The schedule ramps up in the next few days, with a unique $3000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha tournament set to begin on Tuesday, the $5000 “Mixed-Max” event on Thursday and the $5000 Seven Card Stud event on Sunday. Buckle yourselves in…the rollercoaster that is the 2012 World Series of Poker is about to head off the rails!