In the past 39 days, the 2015 World Series of Poker has seen 67 events begin with new and repeat bracelet winners being crowned, and millionaires being made. Sunday however saw the marquee event of the series begin as Day 1A of the $10,000 Main Event took center stage.
With Day 1A always attracting the smallest field of all the starting flights, play was moved into the Brasilia Room, and although the defending champion, Martin Jacobson, was too sick to put the cards in the air and take his seat in the field, those duties were passed on to Irishman Donnache O'Dea who has been present at every WSOP since 1982 apart from one. Once the cards hit the air, the nerves started to fade away as seasoned veterans and first-time amateurs started to splash chips around while settling in for a long day of poker.
Unlike last year where it would take close to three hours until the first player hit the rail, this year saw Mohammed Ayyash having his pocket aces run down by Barny Boatman to be put on the rail after roughly 30 minutes of play. From there a steady flow of eliminations would occur while several notables slowly navigated their way up the leaderboard. Ryan Ramsdell took the early lead ahead of Boatman and by the time the second break rolled around it would be 2009 Main Event 8th place finisher Kevin Schaffel taking the chip lead and becoming the first player to reach the six-figure club.
Once play rolled into dinner break, Schaffel would be pipped on the post by Brandon Steven and Fedor Holz. However it would be Mel Wiener having a restful dinner break knowing he was the man everyone was chasing. With players fed and refreshed two players with deep Main Event experience started their ascent up the leaderboard. Firstly German Anton Morgenstern started to climb up over 140,000 before last year's 3rd place finisher Jorryt van Hoof (pictured above) headed into the final break with a monster stack after rivering a flush against a rivered straight.
As the last level of the day started to play out, the notables at the top started to settle amongst each other as a race for the end-of-day chip leader began to heat up with the top few counts all jostling for position. Unfortunately for those previously mentioned players, it would be William Kakon (pictured top) eliminating Erik Lemarquand on one of the final hands of the night when he flopped the nut flush with to see him bag a chip stack of 152,325.
With 741 players taking to the felt - down from the 771 last year - approximately 480 players survived into Day 2 with the likes of John Hennigan, Erik Seidel, Chris Klodnicki, Andy Bloch and Billy Baxter just some of the names not making it through. Challenging Kakon on the leaderboard include Gjergj Sinishtaj (149,000), Alex Tran (142,700) and Pat Maddon (140,500). Still in contention are John Monnette (98,750), Van Hoof (90,650), Mike Matusow (88,225), Jonathan Duhamel (82,200), Fabian Quoss (80,100), David Bach (72,850), Abe Mosseri (72,350), Andy Black (53,850) and Max Pescatori (46,075) as the remaining Day 1A players return on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. (PDT) to battle it out once again.
The WSOP live reporting team will be back on Monday at 12:00 p.m. (PDT) to provide continuous live updates of all the Day 1B action. So stay tuned to WSOP.com as we continue writing the path of the next Main Event Champion live from the Rio-All Suite Hotel & Casino and the 2015 World Series of Poker.