The 2013 World Series of Poker is officially underway at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The action kicked off shortly after 12 p.m. PST on Wednesday with Event #1: $500 Employees No Limit Hold'em. Then, at 5 p.m. PST, poker's biggest stars surfaced for Event #2: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em (Eight Handed).
The two events played side-by-side in the Rio Pavilion as crowds gathered to watch top pros like Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari, as well as 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Meanwhile, PokerNews' own Chad Holloway and Josh Cahlik were running deep in the Casino Employees Event.
Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em
The first event on the 2013 WSOP schedule saw 896 players compete for the Casino Employees Event bracelet — 162 more runners than last year. The top 90 players reached the money late Monday night, and after 11 levels of play, only 55 advanced to Day 2. The eventual winner will take home close to $85,000 and a gold bracelet on Thursday.
Several notables put up the $500 buy-in — the smallest during the 62-event WSOP. Among them were Bernard Lee, Josh "pbdrunks" Vanduyn, Shaun "The Dealer" Harris, and WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. Five members of the PokerNews team also took part, and two of them — Chad Holloway and Josh Cahlik — will be contending for a bracelet on Thursday.
After getting off to a slow start in Level 1, Holloway finished the day among the chip leaders with 99,400. He picked up a much-needed pot when his kings held up against pocket jacks and continued building the rest of the day.
Cahlik, seated with WSOP-Circuit Council Bluffs third-place finisher Sean Small for much of the day, went on a rush in Level 7 during which he jumped from 9,800 to more than 70,000 in chips. After several battles with Small, Cahlik ended the day with 58,000 and will return on Thursday with eyes set on a bracelet.
Event #1 Top 10 Chip Counts After Day 1
Action resumes at 1 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. BST) and you can follow the conclusion of the tournament in our live reporting blog.
Event #2: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em (Eight Handed)
In the past, Day 1 of the WSOP has been reserved solely for the Casino Employees Event. This year, the game's top talents hit the Rio for the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em (Eight Handed) Event. When registration closed there were 481 runners signed up, creating a prize pool of more than $2 million, with $553,906 going to the eventual winner on Saturday.
After eight levels of play, the field was trimmed to 194, and Tom Marchese was leading the way with 153,975 in chips. Marchese, still seeking his first WSOP bracelet, finished the day with a bang when he eliminated a player on the final hand with pocket queens against an opponent's failed bluff with .
Others finding success on Day 1 were Scott Baumstein, David "Doc" Sands, Stephen Bokor, Darryll Fish, and recent WSOP-APAC bracelet winner Bryan Piccioli. Here's a look at some of the top stacks when play resumes on Thursday:
Event #2 Top 10 Chip Counts After Day 1
Also advancing was Michael Phelps, who was playing in his first WSOP tournament ever on Wednesday. Throughout the day, Phelps went to battle with professionals like Corey Burbick, Andrew Lichtenberger, Christian Harder, and Mike Gorodinsky. In one particular hand, Phelps got the better of Lichtenberger when he called a bet from the pro on a board. The river was the , and Phelps called another bet from Lichtenberger, who mucked when Phelps showed for queens and jacks. Phelps will return for Day 2 with 20,850.
Many top pros fell by the wayside on Day 1, including Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, and Phil Ivey. Negreanu took a hit in Level 2 when he ran top pair into an overpair of queens, and was eliminated soon thereafter. Ivey was cruising along until his day came to an abrupt end in Level 7. Ivey was all in and at risk with king-jack on a jack-high board against an opponent with straight a flush draws, and the river completed the player’s straight. Mercier was also showered in Level 7 when he moved all in for less than ten big blinds with ten-seven suited. Mike Gagliano looked him up with two sevens, held, and knocked out the two-time bracelet winner.
Play will recommence Thursday at 2 p.m. local time for Day 2. Be sure to follow the all of the action in our live reporting blog.
On Thursday, Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em will play down to a winner. Event #2: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em (Eight Handed) will begin with a stacked field of 194 for Day 2 inside the Amazon Room. Starting on Thursday is Event #3: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em. Thursday's event has a reentry option, allowing for any player to re-enter the tournament later in the day if they bust during the first flight.
Video of the Day
The appearance of Michael Phelps in Event #2 was a pleasant surprise for railbirds at the Rio on Wednesday. PokerNews' Sarah Grant caught up with the legendary swimmer to discuss adding some WSOP gold to his collection.
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