Records fell today on the final Day 1 of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event as 3,963 players bought in for a shot at being this year's Champion. This is the largest single flight in Main Event history, and it means that a total of 6,420 players have entered the Main Event. There were 2,765 who bagged chips tonight. Over the course of all three starting flights, 4,389 players advance to Day 2.
After registration officially closed, tournament staff announced the payout information. The 6,420 entries created a prize pool of $60,348,000. The top 1,000 place will be paid, with a min-cash worth $15,000. All players who make the November Nine will earn seven-figure payouts, and the winner will take home $7,680,021. Full payouts are available here.
It was 2014 Main Event Champion Martin Jacobson who got today's festivities underway, having recovered sufficiently enough from the illness that ruled him out of starting Day 1a to be able to give out the "Shuffle Up and Deal" announcement after his banner for his victory last year was unveiled. Jacobson's day did not get any better as he was unable to gain any traction before falling shortly after the dinner break to Garrett Greuner.
Martin Jacobson announcing "Shuffle Up and Deal!"
John Gorsuch ended the day as the chip leader, the Virginia native bagging up 198,100 at the close of play. Joining Gorsuch at the top of the counts are Zarik Megerdichian (180,400), James Juvancic (166,350), Timo Pfutzenreuter (150,075), Jeff Griffiths (140,400) and Craig Varnell (140,000).
There were many former WSOP Main Event Champions in the field today, with a number of them making it through to Day 2. 2013 Champion Ryan Riess leads that particular field with 108,800 at the close of play, and he will be joined on Day 2C by Jamie Gold (81,000), Joe Hachem (63,500), Peter Eastgate (22,100), and Phil Hellmuth (79,725). Hellmuth registered during the dinner break today and found himself seated on the same table as none other than Phil Ivey, with Ivey "getting the best of Hellmuth to double up" at one point. The champions will be joined by Daniel Negreanu (73,825), Allen Cunningham (65,025), Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier (22,375) and Michael Mizrachi (64,350), who all made it to Day 2 without incident.
Not everybody ran well enough to make Day 2 though, with former Main Event Champions Joe Cada, Greg Merson and Jerry Yang joining their compatriot Jacobson on the rail, with Yang suffering a horrible cooler early on Day 1 when he ran a set of sevens into a set of aces to be eliminated. Merson also found himself on the wrong side of a cooler, when he ran pocket kings into pocket aces before dinner. They were joined on the rail by some of poker's finest, such as Patrik Antonius, Jimmy Fricke, Mike Sexton and Jennifer Harman, who were all eliminated by the end of the day.
It wasn't just some of the game's best players that were successful today, with a number of celebrities and sports personalities taking their seats at the table today. Most successful was former MLB first round draft pick Wade Townsend, who bagged up 146,000 going into Thursday's Day 2. He will be joined by famous actors and comedians Ray Romano (33,375) and Brad Garrett (46,050), who dodged bullets and avoided sharks to finish today's play and continue in the Main Event.
Unfortunately for some of the celebrities, today was not their lucky day. Ex-NFL star Richard Seymour battled valiantly throughout the day, but he was eliminated at the beginning of Level 5. Also spotted in today's field was Aaron Paul, best known for playing Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad. Coincidentally, there was a player named Walter White registered for Day 1A who bagged up 29,975 chips, but Paul was unable to join him, busting early on Day 1 when he ran a set into a flopped flush. NBA star and Phoenix Suns player Earl Barron took his seat today, but the 7'0" center/power forward sadly bust very late at the end of Day 1.
All players that survived today will now take a day off before they return on Thursday for Day 2c here at the Rio. Tomorrow will see the return of the players that survived Days 1a and 1b respectively, and they will converge on the World Series of Poker for another grueling five two-hour levels at 12pm local time tomorrow to play through to Day 3, which is scheduled for Friday.
Join us tomorrow here at WSOP.com as we bring you all the action from the first of the Day Twos as the remaining players continue on their quest to become this year's WSOP Main Event Champion!