Photo Caption:  First day chip leader, Benedetto Bianco is looking good!

Day One of the Main Event Championship has come to a close.  The $1,675 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament has drawn 519 sign-ups, so far.  Registration remains open until Sunday at noon.

Opening day was divided into two starting sessions.  The first session drew 304 players.  The second session drew 215 players.

There are 268 survivors who will resume play on Sunday.  We expect to play a long day on Day Two, lasting 14 hours or so, which will play down to a few tables.  The final table will be played on Day Three, which is coming on Monday.

Opening day attracted a quite a few gold ring winners -- including David Fox, Mark "Pegasus" Smith, Lee Childs, Feming Chan, Travell Thomas, Jeffrey Gurfinkel, Nancy Birnbaum, Christopher Leong, Nicky Frangos, Roland Israelashvili, Gary Bolden, and  several others.

Leong deserves special mention since he's already won two god rings here at Caesars Atlantic City.  Should he be able to take one of the final three open events, he would become the first player in history with three wins at a single WSOP Circuit stop.  He's got a long way to go if he opens to accomplish this in the Main Event, since he ended the day with just 12,000.  But Leong wil be tough to catch in the Casino Champion race, with 100 points.

Gold bracelet winners that played included Mitch Schock, Mike "Little Man" Sica, and Chris Reslock.

Other notables included Steve Dannenmann (2005 WSOP Main Event runner up to Joe Hachem), Matt Glanz (top East Coasts poker pro), and Rex Clinkscales (leader in WSOP Circuit points race this season).

Benedetto Bianco, from Franklin Square, NY ended the day as chip leader.  He built up a huge stack size, ending the day with 174,600 in chips -- which is a massive advantage.  By contrast, Gregory Mitchell  ranks in second place with 118,900.

Here's the top ten ranked players listed by chip count:

1    Benedetto Bianco    FRANKLYN SQUARE, NY                    174,600
2    Gregory Mitchell    RICHMOND, VA                    118,900
3    Antonio Walker    WILLINGBORO, NJ                    113,500
4    Patrick Houchins    ANNAPOLIS, MD                    108,400
5    Gary Bolden    LAS VEGAS, NV                   107,100
6    Micah Raskin    BAYSIDE, NY                    106,600
7    Harry Korotki    BALTIMORE, MD                   106,000
8    Raymond Morgan    NEW YORK, NY                    98,000
9    John Evans    GRANBURY, TX                    92,900
10    Gregory Masters    KENOVA, WV                    91,900



Remember that clocks are set ahead by ONE HOUR from Saturday to Sunday, which means all players should be prepared to come in one hour earlier than might be expected.  Be sure and plan accordingly.  Cards are in the air for Day 2 starting at 12pm ET.

See you back here at Caesars Atlantic City in just a few hours.