Day 1a of the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event kicked off with Jack Link's Beef Jerky's Sasquatch announcing "Dealers shuffle up and deal" to 1,116 players seated at the tables. Sasquatch joined WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack and Tournament Director Jack Effel on the WSOP stage and was given the Main Event bracelet to hold up for the crowd to see.
At the dinner break Bryan Colin was the unofficial chip leader with 77,000. Right behind him was Jonas Klausen with 72,000 and Ludovic Lacay with 69,000. Rakek Stockner and Jeff "yellowsub86" Williams rounded out the top five with 67,500 and 66,000 respectively.
Several celebrities joined the players at various tables. Seinfield's Jason Alexander, Everybody Loves Raymond's Brad Garrett, actress, 2005 Ladies Event winner and wife of poker player Phil Laak Jennifer Tilly and rapper Nelly were scattered throughout the room.
Lady poker players were represented well with EPT German Open winner Sandra Naujoks, bracelet winner Katja Thater, Lana Maier of CardRunners and Beth Shak.
Three former Main Event champions were trying for another year to be added to their posters hanging around the Amazon Room. Jerry Yang and Tom McEvoy were going for championship number two and Johnny Chan was looking to join Stu Ungar and Johnny Moss as a three-time champion.
Chan missed his oppurtunity to become a three-time champions 20 years ago when he battled Phil Hellmuthheads up for the title. Had he won in 1989 Chan would have become the second three-time Main Event champion, Ungar did not take down his third Main Event until 1997. If he is able to do so, Chan will be the only living three-time Main Event champion.
The first notable elimination came just 35 minutes in when John Phan was sent packing. Phan was down to just 4,000 chips after his set of Queens lost to an opponent holding the nut straight. For his final hand Phan was dealt pocket Aces but they failed to hold up to an opponents . The opponent flopped a pair of nines and then rivered a pair of Kings, beating Phan's single pair. "Is this how my World Series of going to end?" Phan said before leaving.
Patrik Danzer is perhaps one of the luckiest and unluckiest players of the first half of the day. Danzer, holding got into a pot with Christian Jeppsson on a board of . Danzer was holding a straight flush, but fortunately decided against going all-in. If had he would have been sent to the rail before the dinner break as Jeppsson happened to be holding for the Royal Flush. Danzer dropped down to his starting stack of 30,000 while Jeppsson moved up to 50,000.
Another Danzer happened to not be so lucky. George Danzer of Germany soon followed Phan out the door after being short stacked for nearly two hours. Danzer moved his remaining 6,200 chips into the middle after a pre-flop raise by Thayer Rasmussen and two calls at the table. The two original callers folded but Rasmussen called Danzer's all-in. Rasmussem flipped over pocket Kings and Danzer showed pocket Jacks. The board was of no help when it ran out and Danzer's day was over.