For poker players around the world, it is like Christmas in the summer.  Like kids counting the minutes until they can run downstairs to see what Santa left them under the tree, poker enthusiasts have been counting the days until the start of the Main Event of the 2010 World Series of Poker.  Well, boys and girls, the stockings are full and the fire is crackling: the Main Event is upon us.
2004 Main Event Champion, Greg Raymer, was the human starter’s pistol Monday, kicking things off by announcing, “Shuffle up and deal!”  Unfortunately for Fossilman, he did not even survive past the first level, as some ill-timed big moves backfired.  Pro players David “Chino” Rheem and Victor Ramdin also bombed out within the first two hours.
Overall, 1,125 players took to the tables on Day 1A, the first of four Day 1 flights, with 819 of them surviving to play on Day 2A, which will be held on Friday.  This mirrors last year’s Day 1A almost exactly, when 1,116 players began the day and 821 advanced.  If things continue to go like last year, expect fewer players today, more on Day 1C, and a capacity or near-capacity crowd on Day 1D.  Historically, Day 1D has by far the most registrants because it allows those who make it to Day 2 to avoid paying for extra hotel room nights as they wait for the other Day 1 flights to finish.  Plus, those players also don’t have to take as many days off of work.  The populations of each day may be smoothed out a bit this year, as for the last couple weeks, registrants have been assigned a starting day, rather than given the ability to choose one.  This will help WSOP officials avoid the trouble they ran into last year, when Day 1D sold out and about 200 players had to be turned away.
By all accounts, things seem to run fairly smoothly on Monday, save one small issue.  Most of the populated tables were in the Amazon Room, while 18 were in the Pavilion.  This would not have been a problem, except for the fact that play began 10-handed, frustrating many players who felt crowded at their tables.  It seemed to most that it would have been easy enough to just increase the number of tables in the Pavilion and make it all 9-handed.  There was no real reason given for the decision, but eventually tables were made 9-handed as players were eliminated.
In addition to the previously mentioned players, some notable names who were amongst the eliminated on Day 1A include T.J. Cloutier, Beth Shak, Nick Schulman, Andy Black, Isaac Haxton, Mike Caro, Billy Baxter, and Chris Moorman.  Three celebrities who have found their fame in non-poker fields – comedian Ray Roman, music manager Rene Angelil, and basketball star Shawn Marion – also hit the rail on Monday.  Comedian David Alan Grier, did make it to Day 2, though, so it wasn’t a total bust for the non-poker celebrities.
Leading the way after Day 1A is Dwyen Ringbauer with 191,125 chips.  Of those chip stacks that have been reported so far this morning (numbers are still coming in), it appears that Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi is second with 142,650 and Felix Bleiker is third with 136,300.  CardPlayer President and 2009 WSOP Europe Champion Barry Shulman is amongst the leaders with 113,000, as is 2003 Main Event Champ Chris Moneymaker, with 107,425.  Also alive are well known names such as Lacey Jones, Maria Ho, Vitaly Lunkin, Tiffany Michelle, Erik Seidel, Vince Van Patten, John Hennigan, Dutch Boyd, and Matt Matros.
There are still thousands of players and hundreds of big names left to hit the tables on Days 1B through 1D, so stay tuned.  Day 1B will commence at noon Vegas time on Tuesday.

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