The 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event is finally here and the first of three starting flights of action is in the books. A modest field of 771 turned out for the opening day of action, but the real story around the Rio was the success of the satellites. Between live tournaments at the Rio and a WSOP.com online satellite that sent 25 players the Main Event for a $215 buy-in, 4,000 players took a shot at winning their way into the Main Event. The talk around the Rio is with the promise of the $10 million first place payday to lure people in, this year’s Day 1C field could be the biggest we’ve ever seen.But before we look ahead to Sunday and Monday, let’s first look at what happened on Day 1A. Despite a smaller crowd, there was no shortage of notable names, the biggest of which were the past Main Event winners. Five champs competed in all: Tom McEvoy, Johnny Chan, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Merson, and Ryan Riess. Riess and Merson were the talk of the tournament when play began, as the 2012 and reigning champs drew the same starting table. The two played on the ESPN feature stage all day with Riess faring much better than Merson when it came to the counts, bagging up 70,225 compared to 7,125 for Merson. The other Main Event champs survived the day as well with McEvoy bagging 31,900, Chan bagging 83,375 and Moneymaker ending the day with 69,850.
By night's end, Martin Jacobson was the man on top. He finished the night with 200,100 chips, almost 50,000 ahead of second place. Other notables that have top ten chip stacks include Kenny Tran (8th - 115,400) and Mukul Pahuja (9th - 114,800). Finishing the day in 14th was Nick Divella with 102,525 chips. He was the leader at the dinner break but cooled off for the final two levels. DiVella spoke with Nolan Dalla at dinner about his Main Event experience.
For a small group of a couple hundred or so, the Main Event dreams will have to wait until 2015. Some of the early exits from Day 1A include recent November Niners Steve Gee, David Benefield, and Marc-Etienne McLaughlin, Jason Mercier, Phil Laak, and reality stars/poker players Jean-Robert Bellande and Trishelle Cannatella. Others to hit the rail include Jeff Gross, Eric Froehlich, Blake Bohn and Mustapha Kanit.
By day’s end, only 505 players bagged up with plans to return for Day 2AB on Tuesday. Day 1A survivors include Layne Flack, Ole Schemion, Martin Finger, Dario Sammartino, Antonio Esfandiari, Noah Schwartz and Annette Obrestad.
Sunday a substantially larger crowd will show up for Day 1B action, which gets underway as 12pm. Until then, here is a look at the top ten official chip counts from the end of Day 1A:1. Martin Jacobson - 200,1002. Aaron Wilt - 157,6503. Seamus Cahill - 150,7754. Benjamin Gold - 144,8755. Naoya Kihara - 124,2256. Ken Einiger - 120,4007. Yung Hwang - 118,8758. Kenny Tran - 115,4009. Mukul Pahuja - 114,80010.Aleksander Simic - 110,675