Opening day of the Main Event Championship at Horseshoe Hammond has come to a close. Well actually, it's the second opening day that just ended.
The fourth WSOP Circuit Main Event appears to have drawn the biggest Main Event field size of the season, as more than 1,500 entrants flooded into The Venue for the opening two playing sessions. The official numbers for the $1,675 by-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament will be announced on Sunday afternoon. Registration remains open to any latecomers all the way up until noon on Sunday.
Like the session before, Day 1B was packed with notables from both the WSOP Circuit as well as the national poker scene. Gold bracelet winners Gavin Smith, Owais Ahmed, Adam Friedman, Kathy Liebert, Blair Hinkle, Dan Heimiller, Nick Jivkob, Bob Slezak, Robert Cheong, and others have come in from all over the country.
At the end of Day 1A and 1B action, there were 170 + 148 survivors, for a grand total of 318 players who will return for the Day Two restart.
Day 1B's chip leader was Phillip Liou, from Chicago. He's apparently making what could be a stunning return to the poker tournament scene. Liou's record shows no cashes in two years, but he's well on his way not only to cash but make a deep run on what is essentially his back yard. Liou most notably finished in the top-150 of the 2007 WSOP Main Event. His lifetime tournament earnings total about $100,000, which could be doubled or even tripled should be pull some magic here. Liou's chip count ended at 347,000, which is truly impressive when one examines the previous day's winner.
From Day 1A, Canadian poker pro Mike Leah dominated the day. The man who already has two final table appearances at this Chicago series (a third and a fourth) ended with 276,100 in chips from a starting stack of 20,000.
No doubt, Leah remains the player to most likely catch Ari Engel in the Casino Champions leaderboard for Horseshoe Hammond. Leah was the early frontrunner in that contest, but now sits in a tie for second place behind the current leader, Engel. However, Engel is out of the Main Event, and has just two more events to play should he want to try and pad his point total (Event 11 starts Sunday and Event 12 runs Monday).
Here's a list of the top ten players by chip count entering Day Two:
Phillip Liou -- 347,500 URBANA IL US
Mike Leah -- 276,000 LAS VEGAS NV
Kenneth Felten -- 267,500 ISLAND LAKE IL
Jackson Kimball -- 266,000 CLARKSTON MI
Mukul Pahuja -- 261,400 HICKSVILLE NY
Nicola Ditrapani -- 259,400 ROLLING MEADOWS IL
Ashly Butler -- 255,800 NEW ORLEANS LA
Anthony Bizzoni -- 254,000 Des Plaines IL
Cheryl Snedden -- 246,100 CROWN POINT IN
Ronald Lee -- 236,900 SAN ANTONIO TX
Once again, for players still in the Main Event -- a reminder that cards go in the air at noon and will play until around 1:15 am.
Note that all chip counts and seat assignments are available on the WSOP Circuit Blog, along with tournament coverage. Moreover, live updates from the floor are available on WSOP.com.