33-year-old Samuel Touil takes overall lead as the third and last Day 1 starting flights in the 2018 WSOP Main Event concludes action on Wednesday night.
Las Vegas, NV (4 July 2018 ) -- The third and largest of three starting flights in the 2018 World Series of Poker $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event - World Championship is in the books in record-setting fashion, with France's Samuel Touil ending the day on top of the largest one-day opening flight in Main Event history.
Touil's reported 352,800 in chips topped a massive 4,571-player turnout for starting flight 1C, with players registering up to the final minutes to join an already jam-packed Rio Convention Center field. A huge turnout was expected for Day 1C, but the packed house boosted the official number of entrants in the 2018 WSOP Main Event to 7,874. That's the second-largest Main Event attendance number ever, and a healthy 8% increase over 2017's 7,221-player Main Event.
The largest Main Event in 12 years also generated a $74,015,600 prize pool, with $8.8 million being awarded to this event's winner when action concludes on Saturday, July 14. 1,182 players will cash, each of them locking in a minimum $15,000 payday when the money bubble bursts late on Day 3 or early on Day 4.
That's still down the road, however, and starting-flight action is always a tale of survive-and-thrive, which Touil excelled at on Wednesday above all other players. It's a breakthrough tourney day for Touil, a well-known cash game player in several European venues. Tourney results, though, are a different matter; Touil, 33, has recorded only one previous WSOP cash (in 2014) and just three overall major tournament cashes around the globe. Touil's Day 1C chip total also puts him at the top of the overall counts for all surviving Day 1 players, just surpassing Day 1A's leader, Timothy Lau, who bagged 338,700 in chips on Monday.
Second through fifth spots in the unofficial Day 1c counts are occupied by four American players, Pete Forsstrom (283,200), Robert Covert (240,300), Anthony Reategui (232,000), and Jarod Ludemann (230,100). Australia's Corey Kempson finished the night in sixth at 210,000, while Finland's Patrik Antonius was just behind, in seventh with 208,900. Antonius was among the day's late entrants, though he wasted little time once seated in ascending the leaderboard.
It's Antonius's first appearance at the WSOP since 2012, though he drew as much attention from the rail as always. "It felt very special to be back," said Antonius. "I got in after the dinner break, brought a lot of action to the table and managed to get some big hands. It was great to see so many poker players I have not seen in so long. I am very tired and going to rest for a while after this."
Others high in the Day 1C counts included Loni Harwood, Gregg Merkow, Tyler Patterson, Chino Rheem, Joseph Cheong, Jessica Dawley, Yueqi Zhu, Cyndy Violette, Tex Barch, Ludovic Geilich, and James Akenhead.
Also among the many stars who managed to bag more than their initial 50,000 starting stack were Davidi Kitai, James Obst, Phil Ivey (who was among the very last of Day 1C's registrants to take a seat), Robert Varkonyi, Sylvain Loosli, Dario Sammartno, Cliff Josephy, John Juanda, Matt Savage, Leif Force, Brandon Shack-Harris, John Hennigan, Andy Black, Phil Hellmuth, Liv Boeree, Barry Greenstein, Maurice Hawkins, Gabe Kaplan, Chris Moorman, Todd Brunson, Humberto Brenes, Bertrand Grospellier and many, many others.
The official chip counts will be released early Thursday morning, once all surviving player's chip slips have been tabulated. An estimated 3,480 players bagged and tagged at the night and will return for Friday's Day 2C action at 11 am. When added to the 659 survivors of Day 1A and the 1,794 survivors of Day 1B, an unofficial total of 5,930 Main Event entrants will move on to Day 2 action. That's more 75% of the 7,874 players who entered this year's Main Event.
Wednesday's Day 1C starting flight began with 2003 Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker announcing the day's ceremonial "Shuffle Up and Deal!", the latest part of a big week for Moneymaker that also saw named as one of ten finalists for possible induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. Moneymaker's day at the tables wasn't nearly as good, however, when he busted after getting all his chips in after flopping a set, only to have his opponent turn a higher set to send Moneymaker to the rail.
Several other prior Main Event champions played on Day 1C as well, with widely varying results. Joe Cada, Jonathan Duhamel, Robert Varkonyi, Martin Jacobson, and Phil Hellmuth all took part, with Hellmuth among several prominent pros making a late entrance into the day's festivities. Each of these former champs were among the approximately 3,480 players to survive the day, though none of them managed to move into the top ranks of the Day 1C leaders. Varkonyi bagged an approximate 88,000 in chips to lead the former champs participating on Day 1C. Hellmuth bagged 63,700 in chips, a modest uptick, while the other three former champs struggled through much of their opening day of play.
Unlike both the 1A and 1B starting flights, Day 1C did not feature a first-hand bustout. The huge attendance, however, meant that many dozens of players would bust out in the day's early levels, with some major names among them. Marcel Luske, Christopher Vitch, Dutch Boyd, Ian Steinman, John Racener, Niall Farrell, Vanessa Selbst, Mike Watson, and Daniel Colman all busted during the day's first four levels.
Joining them on the rail during the evening was one of the most well-known players taking part in Day 1C, Daniel Negreanu. "Kid Poker"'s 50,000-chip starting stack had been whittled down to less than 20,000 when he got the last of his chips in before a flop against Italy's Alessio Isaia. Negreanu had to Asaia's , but the flop brought a loud groan from Negreanu's large rail at the Amazon Room's main feature table. A turn and river ended the hand and marked the finish of Negreanu's brief 2018 Main Event run. Negreanu simply summed it up as, "My day in a nutshell!" in a brief Twitter comment.
Unofficial top ten chip counts:
1 -- Samuel Touil 352,800
2 -- Pete Forsstrom 283,200
3 -- Robert Covert 240,300
4 -- Anthony Reategui 232,000
5 -- Jarod Ludemann 230,100
6 -- Corey Kempson 210,000
7 -- Patrik Antonius 208,700
8 -- Joseph Umdenstock 208,600
9 -- Keith Lehr 205,000
10 -- Miriam Biton 195,000
Live Updates from Day 1C
Chip Counts from Day 1C