Charlotte native finished second in chips, while the defending champion busted shortly after dinner break

July 2, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV) - Monday was one of the most anticipated days of the World Series of Poker – the start of the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event.

Day 1A, the first of the event’s three starting days, got cards in the air at noon and attracted 925 players, an increase from last year’s 795 Day 1A entries. At the end of the flight’s five, two-hour levels, only 659 remained with Timothy Lau leading the way.

Lau finished with the biggest stack, but was seemingly quite most of the way, finishing the day with 338,700. It looked as if Truyen Nguyen was going to bag the chip lead after scoring a double knockout, including last year's ninth place finisher, bracelet winner Ben Lamb.

Lamb flopped a set of eights, another player flopped top pair and Nguyen flopped a flush draw. All three players got the chips into the middle on the flop and Nguyen rivered a flush to knock out two players, including one of the game’s best, and finished the night near the top of the counts with 324,800.

“There was a lot of pressure at the beginning, but I made a lot of critical decisions about going all in, so that’s what counts,” said Nguyen after he bagged up his chips. “And some luck. So, the two all ins. That was the key. With the flush I was trying to draw to.”

Nguyen, who works in IT in Charlotte, just missed out on the chip lead. He bagged up the field's second-biggest stack and is joined by Chris Fraser (316,100), David Mccaw (220,400) and John Vossoughi (220,300) round out the top five stacks. 

Other notables to make it through the day included Nick Jivkov, Kevin Boudreau, Daniel Fuhs, Jake Schindler, Owen Crowe, Seth Davies, Gordon Vayo, Lexy Gavin, 2005 Main Event champion Joe Hachem, Bruno Fitoussi and Matt Waxman.

The voice of the WSOP live stream, David Tuchman got out from the commentary booth and took his shot at a Main Event bracelet on Monday.

“I love my job. I’m thrilled to be in there,” said Tuchman about a long summer of commentating. “That said, you know, I love playing poker and watching people play poker all year definitely gets you more and more excited. So, it’s really exciting and a little nervous. I only get one shot, so you don’t want to screw it up.”

Tuchman is a veteran of the poker world, having done commentary for several years. The first few times he sat own and took a shot at the Main Event, he was unknown to most of the field. It’s a little bit different for him now that he’s raised his profile.

“In 2012, when I played the Main Event, I had already done the World Series for a couple years, but I was under the radar. If I four-bet, they’ll be like ‘Oh, look at that sort of dorky middle-aged dude. He must always have it.’ Fast forward six years later, and the World Series of Poker live streams are awesome. And a lot of people watch them. So, I’m not as anonymous as I used to be.”

Tuchman finished the day with 111,000 in chips, and his dreams of a Main Event title are still alive.  

Not everybody was lucky enough to survive the first starting flight, however, with plenty of notable pros hitting the rail. Jonathan Little, Chance Kornuth, Brian Rast, 2016 Main Event champion Qui Nguyen, 2007 Main Event champion Jerry Yang, former NFL defensive linemen Richard Seymour and Kevin O’Donnell were all a part of the day’s eliminations.

The first elimination of the day came just moments after defending champion Scott Blumstein announced the ceremonial shuffle up and deal at the start of the day. Victor Ramdin scored a knockout on the first hand of the day. Ramdin turned a set of kings on a board of      and got all of his 50,000-chip starting stack with a set of kings against his opponent’s queen-jack.

Ramdin faded the open-ended straight draw and took the very early chip lead.

“I think this can happen to anyone who is rushing to a tournament,” said Ramdin. “She rushed to get to the seat, the tournament was just about to start, she was speeding there. She didn’t settle in or settle down. But immediately, she wanted to play the first hand, which is okay. She raised and then everything else was history … This is a good situation why if you’re going to lay for such big money and stuff, you should give yourself some time to get to the table, chill, relax and get going from there.”

Despite the fast start, Ramdin had a roller-coaster day that only got tougher as Matt Berkey was moved to his direct left.

“Right now, Berkey is owning me,” said Ramdin on the final break of the day. “That’s okay. This is just one day. You will always have someone who will own you for the day. So, I’m just taking my punches … I had queens three times and I lost with them three times to three different players at the table with basically jack-high and 10-high flops. I’m pretty much freerolling now because I survived the onslaught.”

Ramdin, a poker pro of more than a decade, has what he considers to be the right mindset for such a deep-stacked tournament. He'll need to adhere to that mindset on Day 2 after finishing the day with 14,300.

“I’ve gotten deep in the Main Event three times and it’s because I play it five levels at a time,” he said. “And I play those one level at a time.”

This year, there will be a new Main Event champion with Blumstein hitting the rail in the day’s third level. He raised and called a three-bet against Brian Yoon. Then check-called three streets on a six-high board, including a river shove for about 27,000.

Blumstein called with pocket 10s, but running spades came on the turn and the river, which gave Yoon an ace-high flush with   . Blumstein hit the rail and will have to earn his second bracelet in one of the many postlim events.

The 659 survivors will return on Thursday, July 5 for Day 2A/B. Day 1B kicks off on Tuesday at 11 a.m. and will play the same five, two-hour levels that Day 1A played on Monday.

Top 10 Chip Counts

1st: Timothy Lau - 338,700
2nd: Truyen Nguyen - 324,800
3rd: Chris Fraser - 316,100
4th: David Mccaw - 220,400
5th: John Vossoughi - 220,300
6th: Matthew Davidow - 216,600
7th: Frank Crivello - 215,000
8th: Casey McCarrel - 206,200
9th: Eric Hicks - 204,000
10th: Tristan Bain - 193,200 

Full Chip Counts
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