WSOP MAIN EVENT SEES 31% ATTENDANCE INCREASE

July 07, 2010 - 01:26:14 PM EST  | 

WSOP MAIN EVENT SEES 31% ATTENDANCE INCREASE
Day 1B Done

2010 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship Continues

James Danielson is the Chip Leader at End of Day 1-B

1,489 Players Enter Day 1-B (Two Starting Days Still to Go)

1,018 Players Survive the Day – 68% of field

Tuesday’s Survivors Return on Saturday, July 10 to Play Day 2B

Note:  For the tournament portal page for this event, including the day’s chip counts, click HERE.

THE MAIN EVENT BEGINS (DAY 1-B)

The Main Event began with opening festivities for Day 1-B.  WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel recited the customary instructions and rules to all players.  Effel also thanked players, fans, and the entire staff at the WSOP.  Next, Effel took a moment to praise the hard working dealers at this year’s WSOP.  All dealers were asked to stand and took a bow while the large crowd applauded.  Nearly 1,000 dealers worked this year’s WSOP.

On this day the WSOP “Dealer of the Year” was awarded to Ashley McCoach.  She recently moved to Las Vegas from Denver, CO.  McCoach was graded based on her skills and professionalism and came out on top of a very competitive list of finalists.  She received a fine dining certificate at the VooDoo Lounge at the Rio plus a custom-designed watch made by ON TILT, the official gold bracelet maker for the 2010 WSOP.  McCoach performed the honorary “Shuffle Up and Deal” announcement.

Prior to the start of play, the founders of “Put a Bad Beat on Cancer” (Phil Gordon, Rafe Furst, and others) were given a few minutes to make an important plea.  Gordon, fresh off his victory in this year’s “Ante Up for Africa” charity event (and celebrating his 40th birthday on this day) was given the microphone.  He asked all Main Event participants to donate 1 percent of their WSOP winnings to cancer research.  To date, Put a Bad Beat on Cancer has raised more than $3.3 million since it was formed.  This is the ninth straight year Gordon and his organization have worked with the WSOP.  He and his team of organizers are to be commended for their selfless efforts on behalf of this important cause.  All proceeds from this go directly to the Nevada Cancer Institute, and all donations are 100% tax-deductible.

This is the fifth consecutive year the WSOP has been guided by Tournament Director Jack Effel.  After being assigned as the Assistant Tournament Director in 2005, he assumed the top floor position in 2006 and has now overseen operations for the five largest live poker tournaments in history.

The day officially began with cards in the air at 12:12 pm.

The total number of players who participated on Day 1-B was 1,489

The first elimination of this year's Main Event came about 30 minutes into play on Day 1-A, which is an eternity in a field of this size.  Stuart Nitzkin, from Northfield, IL suffered the cruel indignity of being the first player to bust out of the Main Event.  In fact, he endured a brutal half hour.  He was dealt pocket aces and lost part of his stack when the final board showed K-K-T-T-T.  The opponent has ace king, for a higher full house.  A few hands later, he was dealt pocket kings and lost the remainder of his stack.  Nitzkin lost, no less, to a player with king-ten (normally an abominable hand in No-Limit Hold’em).  The king-ten ended up making a straight on the turn.

There were 1,125 players who participated on Day 1-A.  Day 1-B had 1,489 players, which means 2,614 players have now participated in the Main Event, thus far.  There are still two more starting days to be played.  This means participation for the first two days of the 2010 WSOP Main Event are up 31% over last year.  (There were 1,989 entrants through two days in 2009).

TOURNAMENT PLAYERS

Former world champions who participated on this day included:  Dan Harrington (1995) and Jamie Gold (2006).

Dan Harrington experienced a roller-coaster first day.  The player known for playing a solid, relatively conservative style, thus earning the ersatz nickname “Action Dan,” fluctuated between being low stacked and above average in chips most of the day.  He survived the first day and will return with slightly below average chips on Day Two (35,175).

Jamie Gold was eliminated about four hours into play.  Following elimination, he was later seen watching his mother play, who is also participating in this year’s Main Event.  “She’s now got all the pressure on her,” Gold joked from the rail.  Two hours later, the golden Matriarch was gone, as well.  No gold for the Golds, this year.

Notable non-pros who played on Day 1-B included:

•    David Wells (former Major League Baseball pitcher)
•    Jennifer Tilly (actress)
•    Orel Hershiser (former Major League Baseball pitcher)

Poker Hall of Fame members who played on Day 1-B included:

•    Barbara Enright

Barabara Enright survived Day 1-B.  But she is on life support with just over 10,000 in chips (one-third of her starting stack).

Annette Obrestad played and exited during the fifth level of play.  Obrestad was the youngest WSOP gold bracelet winner in history (at age 18), following her stunning victory in the 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event in 2007.  Obrestad was not able to play in the WSOP until this year, because the legal age to play poker is 21 in Nevada.  Obrestad ended her first year at the WSOP with mixed results.  She was disappointed not to have gone deeper in the Main Event.  But she can look back upon four cashes this year and take some satisfaction.  Her highest finish was 11th place.  

Two-time gold bracelet winner Tom Schneider, who won 2006 WSOP “Player of the Year” played on this day.  He survived but has a below-average stack.

John Duthie, from London, England played on this day.  He is a loyal WSOP participant who was one of the creators of the European Poker Tour.  He finished the day ranked in the top 250.

Mori Eskandani, from Las Vegas, NV, producer of several popular poker television programs including WSOP Europe, played and survived the day.

Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier, from France, was one of poker’s hottest names coming into this year.  He was among the early chip leaders last year.  But Grospellier gained no traction in this year’s biggest tournament, busting out about six hours into play.

Poker has universal appeal.  Just about anyone can play and enjoy the game, regardless of physical challenges.  One Main Event player this year is named Donnie Vann.  He is quadriplegic.  Prior to the start of play, Vann took his position at the table and was surprised to be presented with an NFL team football which had been signed by several players from the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Vann’s favorite team is the Steelers and someone close to Vann arranged for the football to be delivered to him at tableside prior to the start of the tournament.

The ESPN Main Stage always displays a so-called feature table.  The star of Day 1-B was none other than Gavin Smith, from Guelph, Ontario (Canada).  Smith won a breakthrough victory this year, with his first WSOP win.  Smith ended the day ranked in the top 200.

THE TOURNAMENT

All players began play with 30,000 in chips.

This is the second year players were given triple the number of starting chips.  By contrast, all WSOP Main Events played from 1971 through 2005 gave players 10,000 in starting chips.  In years 2006-2008, players began with 20,000 in chips.  

Day 1-B played four-and-a-half levels.  Each level is 2 hours long.  Play ended at 11:55 pm.

Day 1-B ended with 1,018 players.  This means 68 percent of starters survived the first day.  Contrast this with last year when 73.5 percent of players also survived Day 1-B.  

There were 766 players who survived on Day 1-A.  This day had 1,018 survivors, which means 1,784 total players are still alive in the Main Event.  There are still two more starting days to be played.

Players who survived Day 1-B will return to continue their quest for the 2010 world poker championship on Saturday, July 10th, at 12 noon.  

LEADERBOARD

The chip leader from this day is James Danielson, from LaPlata, MD with 201,050.

The Day One chip leader (from yesterday) was Corwin Cole, from Las Vegas, NV – with 228,200 in his stack.  This means Cole remains the tournament chip leader – at least for now.

Ranking second in chips is Filippo Candio, from Italy.

Jason DeWitt, from Chicago, IL won his first gold bracelet earlier this year.  He finished the day ranked in fourth place.  An article about DeWitt's approach to the game can be seen HERE

James Dempsey, from Brighton, UK won his first gold bracelet this year.  He is ranked in the Top 50.

Former gold bracelet winner Gavin Griffin, from Las Vegas, NV is ranked in the Top 50.

Two-time gold bracelet winner Chris Bjorin, from London, UK is ranked in the Top 100.

Chris Bell, from Raliegh, NC won his first gold bracelet this year.  He is ranked in the Top 100.

Former gold bracelet winner John Kabbaj, from London, UK is ranked in the top 100.

Former gold bracelet winner Blair Rodman, from Las Vegas, NV is ranked in the top 100.

Based on WSOP figures during the mega-era (2003 to present), the Day One chip leader has a slightly less than even chance of cashing in the Main Event.  Since 2003, there have been 23 Day One chip leaders.  The number of chip leaders is higher than number of years, due to multiple starting days.  Of the 23 Day One chip leaders during this period, only 11 finished in the money (48 percent).   Twelve players were eliminated short of the money.

One Day One chip leader ended up winning the Main Event.  That happened last year, when Joe Cada was the chip leader after Day 1-C.

Based on WSOP figures during the mega-era (2003 to present), the 9/19 Day One chip leaders who cashed finished as follows:

2003 – Barry Greenstein finished 49th
2004 – Chuck Agnew finished 82nd
2005 – Lee Watkinson finished 45th
2005 – Sammy Farha finished 316th
2007 – Josh Evans finished 76th
2007 – Tinten Olivier finished 223rd
2007 – Jeff Norman finished 500th
2008 – Steve Austin finished 552nd
2008 – Henning Granstad finished 553rd
2009 – Redmond Lee finished 444th
2009 – Joe Cada finished 1st

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 57th and final event on the 2010 WSOP schedule which is played in Las Vegas.  Five more gold bracelet events will take place in London, England at the Empire Casino, to be held in September as part of the 4th Annual World Series of Poker Europe.    

This marks the sixth consecutive year the WSOP has been held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.  Prior to 2005, the WSOP was held at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas.  As a testament to the expansion of the WSOP since Harrah’s Entertainment assumed ownership and control of the world most prestigious poker event, more than twice the money has been awarded to winners within the Rio during the past six years than during the entire proceeding 35-year period at the Horseshoe.

During the mega-era, the eventual WSOP champions and their chip positions at the conclusion of Day One were:

2003 – Chris Moneymaker, 60,475 in chips (ranked 11th)*
2004 – Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, 74,400 in chips (ranked 7th)
2005 – Joe Hachem, 67,350 in chips (not in top 25)
2006 – Jamie Gold, 100,125 in chips (ranked 23rd)
2007 – Jerry Yang, 99,700 in chips (not in top 25)
2008 – Peter Eastgate, 62,325 in chips (not in top 25)
2009 – Joe Cada 187,225 in chips (ranked 1st)

*NOTE:  2003-2005 started with 10,000 in chips.  2006-2008 started with 20,000 in chips.  2009 starts with 30,000 in chips.

The number of females who played the Main Event Day 1-B was 39.

The number of females who played Main Event Day 1-A was 26.

The most dominant Day One Main Event performance in history was by three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner John Bonetti, who passed away three years ago.  Bonetti finished the first day of the 1993 Main Event with 500,000 in chips (the figure is an estimate, since there was no Internet coverage, nor accurate records available from that year).  Since there were 231 players registered, he had a staggering 22 percent of the total chips in play.  Bonetti went on to finished third that year, as Jim Bechtel won the championship.

This is the 885th gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history.  Note:  This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 11 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe.

The WSOP title sponsor the last two years has been Jack Link’s Beef Jerky.  As part of a fun promotion, Jack Links gives away large quantities of their product to Main Event players who make big hands.  This year’s key hand is four jacks.  About six hours into play Brian Kim was the first to hit the magical hand – making four jacks with one hook in his hand to go along with the three on board.  

PLAYING DAY A, B, C, or D – DOES IT MATTER?

Does picking one starting day over another matter when it comes to cashing in the Main Event?  The numbers make a convincing case that answer is “no.”

For 2009:

Day 1-A…..121 cashes out of 1,116 entrants -- 10.84%
Day 1-B…..84 cashes out of 873 entrants -- 9.62%
Day 1-C…..162 cashes out of 1696 entrants -- 9.55%
Day 1-D…..281 cashes out of 2809 entrants -- 10.00%
 
For 2008:

Day 1-A…..122 cashes out of 1299 entries -- 9.39%
Day 1-B…..117 cashes out of 1158 entries -- 10.1%
Day 1-C…..187 cashes out of 1936 entries -- 9.66%
Day 1-D…..240 cashes out of 2461 entries -- 9.75%

WSOP MAIN EVENT ALL-TIME RECORDS (COMING UP)

Note:  Starting in the next report, look for Main Event records – including most cashes, most final table appearances, most consecutive years to cash, and so forth.

2010 WSOP STATISTICS (THROUGH EVENT 56)

Tournament attendance is up significantly from this same point last year. Last year, through 56 events, there were 53,808 entries. Thus far this year, there have been 65,647 total entries, an increase of 22 percent.

Prize money is also up from last year’s figures. Last year, through 56 events, the amount of prize money won was $111,631,536. This year’s prize money currently stands at $118,311,250, an increase of about 6 percent.

Through the conclusion of Event #56, the nationalities of gold bracelet winners have been:

United States (38)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)
Norway (1)
Holland (1)
Israel (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #56, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (31)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)
Mexico (1)
Bangladesh (1)
Norway (1)
Holland (1)
Israel (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #56, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (39): Michael Chow, Michael Mizrachi, Praz Bansi, Josh Tieman, Peter Gelencser, James Dempsey, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Matt Matros, Yan R. Chen, Steve Gee, Carter Phillips, Jason DeWitt; Eric Buchman, David Baker, Richard Ashby, Dutch Boyd, Sammy Farha, David Warga, Will Haydon, Matt Keikoan, Mike Ellis, Luis Velador, Ayaz Mahmood, Phil Ivey, Luigi Kwaysser, Scott Montgomery, Steven Kelly, Steve Jelinek, Dean Hamrick, Ian Gordon, Gavin Smith, Jesse Rockowitz, Chris Bell, Shawn Busse, Sigurd Eskeland, Chance Kornuth, Ryan Welch, Brendan Taylor, Daniel Alaei

Semi-Pros (8): Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola, Frank Kassela, Mike Linn, Dan Kelly, Tomer Berda

Amateurs (9): Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal LeFrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov, Harold Angle, Marcel Vonk

Through the conclusion of Event #56, here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners:

Praz Bansi
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Russ “Dutch” Boyd
Sammy Farha
David Warga (* his first WSOP win was in a non-open event)
Matt Keikoan
Luis Velador
Phil Ivey
Frank Kassela (two wins this year)
Daniel Alaei

Through the conclusion of 2010 World Series of Poker -- Event #56:

Youngest Winner – Steven Kelly (21), Dan Kelly (21)
Oldest Winner – Harold Angle (78)
Female Winners (open events) – None
Multiple-Event Winners (this year) – Frank Kassela

 
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Nolan Dalla – WSOP.com Senior Writer


About the author: Nolan Dalla's work is found all over WSOP.com, as he is the Senior Writer for poker's longest-running poker series and has contributed to the site since 2005.

He is also the longtime Media Director of the World Series of Poker. He's become the lone link from poker's modern age back to the old days when the WSOP was played at Binion's Horseshoe – where Dalla served as the casino's Director of Public Relations.
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