On July 4th it’s usually all about celebrating Independence Day, but even having country singer Andy Griggs belt out the Star-Spangled Banner couldn’t hide the international flavor of the Day 1b field at the 2008 World Series of Poker.

Patrik Antonius doesn’t yet have a World Series of Poker bracelet, but his start to the Main Event on Day 1b could be the launching pad that puts him in contention for poker’s most coveted title. The former Finnish tennis pro was one of 1,158 players to make up the field on Day 1b.

That puts the total field at 2,455 players through two days of play. WSOP management is anticipating the Day 1c (Saturday) and Day 1d (Sunday) fields to be larger and could put the total number of registrants over last year’s number (6,358).

Antonius’ stack sat at 82,000 after only two levels of play. He was just ahead of the 72,000 of Michael Watson, who sat in second position. The closest Antonius has ever come to a WSOP victory was in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event last year where he finished third.

Just like Day 1a, the Day 1b field included a few celebrities. Former Los Angeles Dodgers ace and World Series (of baseball) Most Valuable Player Orel Hershiser was joined by former professional boxer Jeff Fenech. But the biggest celebrity in the room may have been a person that most Americans have never heard of.

Shane Warne, a former Australian cricket player, is also a highly feared poker player. His appearance in the event today is big news back home where Warne receives media attention similar to what Michael Jordan receives here in the States. Just after the second level was completed Warne’s stack was hovering at just under 30,000.

Some of the big names from the poker world who are in the field today include 2006 WSOP Main Event champion Jamie Gold, eight-time bracelet winner Erik Seidel and 2004 Main Event champion Greg Raymer. The “Fossilman” was an early casualty however as his WSOP came to an end with only a single cash to his credit. Also busting out were Daniel NegreanuKenny Tran and Ted Forrest.

2008 WSOP Player-of-the-Year Erick Lindgren started his day at the ESPN feature table and with 41,500 chips he should finish the day in the exact same seat. The ESPN cameras on the main floor of the Amazon Room were focused on a player they introduced us to a few years ago, Hal Lubarsky.  Legally blind, Lubarsky has an assistant sit with him and help him read his hole cards and the board. Even with the ESPN cameras focused on him, Lubarsky sits in the top 20 in chips.

For up-to-the-minute updates and chip counts visit WorldSeriesofPoker.com.