More Beginnings and Endings: Day 1B of 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship Wraps
Photo Caption: John Hoan finished Day 1-B atop of the chip counts -- with 180,000. Those was a big enough stack to lead the day. But many big names are within a pot or two of the lead going into Day 2, including recent gold bracelet champion Vanessa Selbst (Photo by Neil Stoddart).
The richest sporting event in the universe continued today with the re-start of the 2012 World Championship. The $10,000 buy-in Main Event Championship will be played over the next eight consecutive days, which will then take a recess once the official final table of nine players has been determined.
The second of three starting days (Day Ones) attracted 2,114 players. This number is added to the 1,066 players who played on Day One, which means 3,180 players have participated in the Main Event, so far. That number will increase substantially on Monday when the third opening session plays. Predictions indicate that at there will be more players for Day 1C than Day 1A and Day 1B combined.
At the conclusion of the second 12-hour playing session, only 1,387 survivors remained alive from the 1B starters. Those fortunate players will continue in pursuit of the ultimate poker dream, when they return for Day 2A, which begins on Tuesday promptly at noon. With 657 players surviving Day 1A, that puts the total number of players returning for Day 2A at 2,044. Though the two Day 1 sessions will play on same days, the action will take place in separate rooms, with the starting day fields remaining segregated until Day 3.
Just as predicted, the second “opening” day was filled excitement for some players, and disappointment for others. Among the many highlights and notable developments were as follows:
“Shuffle Up and Deal” – The 2012 Main Event Begins: It’s tough to surpass the excitement surrounding the start of poker’s world championship, which took place the previous day when 92-year-old Ellen “Gram” Deeb performed the honorary “Shuffle Up and Deal” announcement to absolute perfection, adding her own quip, “I just have one thing to say – you’re all playing for second place!” On Day 1-B, Mixed-Martial Arts superstar and UFC welterweight World Champion George St. Pierre put his own twist on the “Shuffle Up” announcement. When St. Pierre was introduced, Tournament Director Jack Effel warned players not to get out of line or St. Pierre would be there to dish out a bad beat. Then, St. Pierre – who played in his first WSOP event ever on this day – told everyone to watch out, that he would never “tap out” of the Main Event. As things turned out, St. Pierre went out during the first day “by decision,” as the cards dealt him an exit in the first round.
John Hoang Ends Day 1-B as Chip Leader: Leading the pack at the end of the 1-B flight was John Hoang. He ended his session with 180,000 in chips. While that's an impressive number, William John (from Day 1-A) remains the combined overall leader. However, if history is any indication, this early leaders only have about a 50 percent chance of cashing in this tournament. Since results were tracked, only about half of the early leaders make it into the money. No doubt, John and Hoang are both determined to do what no recent chip leader has been able to do – which is to parlay their session leads into a world championship.
More Former World Champions Bust Out: Opening day is often unkind to past winners. Saturday cut Phil Hellmuth, Jim Bechtel, and Joe Hachem from the field. The carnage of champions continued Sunday when three more big names went out, including 2001 world champion Carlos Mortensen, who hit the rail during the third level of play. He was followed to the exit door by Greg "Fossilman" Raymer a short time later. Close to the end of the night, Scotty Nguyen went bust, meaning that six past winners are now gone. Day 1C should include the largest number of champions, with perhaps as many as a dozen participating, including 2010 winner Jonathan Duhamel.
More Notable Eliminations: Aside from the six World Champions who unwillingly hit the rail during Day 1B, several other notable players went out. Gold bracelet winners who will have to wait until next year include -- Adam Friedman, Scott Montgomery, David Singer, Johnny "World" Hennigan, Gavin Griffin, Ville Wahlbeck, Theo Jorgensen, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Todd Brunson, Bertrand Grospellier, and Men "The Master" Nguyen.
2012 – Year of the Woman? Calling this year’s WSOP the “year of the woman” is way too premature. For the title to stick, women must fare well in the Main Event, which is poker’s ultimate challenge of skill and endurance. After the first day, several notable females appear to be destined to make a serious run. The 1B survivors include two-time gold bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst who is near the chip lead for her opening session. Maria Ho is also in excellent shape. Rounding out the notable ranks are Katie Dozier, Deanna Dozier, Liv Boeree, and Vanessa Rousso. They will join the female survivors from Day 1A, led by J.J. Liu, Wendeen Eolis, Amanda Baker, Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman, and others who are still alive in the Main Event.
Aces for an Ace: One popular WSOP tradition is the acknowledgement the tournament gives to former champions and notable players. On Sunday, the first player to be recognized by the huge crowd was 1995 World Champion and Poker Hall of Fame member, Dan Harrington. Just as the legend was about to be introduced and asked to stand, Harrington was dealt a hand. He was fully prepared to fold since ESPN television cameras were rolling and this was a short 15-second moment of fame. However, Harrington looked down just as the announcement was being made and decided to raise. He then stood up from the table and waved to the cheering crowd of players and spectators. As TV cameras were around to capture the moment, all players at the table folded to Harrington’s preflop raise. So, what was Harrington’s hand? He flipped over two aces. Not only is Harrington a great player, he sure has an incredible sense of timing.
1. John Hoang - 180,000
2. James Schafer - 171,250
3. Vanessa Selbst - 168,350
4. Anh Van Nguyen - 163,050
5. Jeff Beckley - 158,550
6. Matthew Woodward - 158,500
7. Cornelius Foley - 146,875
8. Shawn Quillin - 146,300
9. Jason Somerville - 144,725
10. Fergal Nealon - 141,825
The third beginning playing session – known as Day 1C – begins Monday at noon. The field size is expected to be larger than the first two days, which means registration lines could grow as the noon start approaches. Players are encouraged to get to the Rio as soon as possible and register so they will be guaranteed a seat.
Note: The END OF DAY ONE OFFICIAL REPORT will be released late tomorrow night, with lists of statistics about the Main Event related to countries, gender, and so forth.
-- by Nolan Dalla