The final Day 1, Day 1d, of the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event kicked off with ESPN commentator Lon McEachern telling a full house to "Shuffle up and deal."
A total of 6,494 players entered into the Main Event but only 648 will walk away with a portion of the $61 million prize pool. The lucky winner, whoever he or she may be, will go home with $8,548,435.
At the dinner break Blair Hinkle was in the lead, followed by Nicolas Levi and Loi Bellabarba. Chad Brown and Brice Cournut rounded out the top five.
Reigning champion and reigning runner-up Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov were in the field as well as 2002 Main Event winner Robert Varkonyi and his wife, Olga.
Celebrities who turned out for Day 1d included Ray Romano, Marlon Wayans, Lou Diamond Phillips, former NBA player John Salley, former WWE wrestler Torrie Wilson, and musicians Scott Ian and Sully Erna.
1996 Main Event winner Huck Seed was eliminated before the dinner break along with Jeff Madsen, Dario Minieri and Alec Torelli.
Play inside the Amazon Room got underway smoothly but out in the hallway the tension was brewing. About 500 people were shut out of the Main Event due to the tournament already reaching capacity earlier in the morning. WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack held a meeting with the angry would-be players to offer apologies and to announce the final decision that no more players would be allowed to register.
Unfortunately the Amazon Room was not immune to controversy either. Players who drew table 90 in the orange section arrived to find they had drawn the same table as Phil Ivey and would be moved to a feature table. When Ivey arrived he insisted he did not want to be at a feature table and his request was honored. The other eight players were more than a little irritated since playing at a feature table entitled them to about $10,000 in sponsorship money from various companies as well as the chance to be part of the broadcast.
Not wanting to be at a feature table did not stop the cameras from converging on Ivey's table. He was eating when they showed up and he asked that they not film him while he was eating, causing the cameras to leave and not return until after the dinner break.
At another table some chips were shipped to the wrong player. The floor was called, the tapes were reviewed and it was determined the wrong player had been given the chips. The chips were then given to the rightful winner.
Possibly the biggest blunder of the day belonged to Leroy Soesman, who showed up to play only to discover he had registered for Day 1a, not Day 1d. Soesman was left scrambling with some staff members to see if his stack made it through his correct day of play without being blinded off. Theoretically Soesman would have had enough big blinds in his starting stack to survive the first day of play.
It is now a possibility that a player who could not figure out what day he registered for could be the next Main Event champion.