Las Vegas, Nevada, was the place to be on Tuesday night as Day 1 of the $500-entry Casino Employees Event and the $5,000-entry Champions Reunion Event kicked off the 55th Annual World Series of Poker in style. Players such as Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan were all in action as former World Champions from around the world clashed at the felt.

WSOP Event #1 $5,000 Champions Reunion Day 1 Top 10 Chipcounts:
1stQui NguyenUnited States663,000
2ndAsher ConniffUnited States641,000
3rdYuzhou YinChina567,000
4thAram ZobianUnited States565,000
5thAlex KeatingUnited States554,000
6thDavid ColemanUnited States534,000
7thDarius SamualUnited Kingdom475,000
8thMichael AcevedoCosta Rica450,000
9thYilong YangUnited States420,000
10thMichel MolenaarNetherlands377,000

Johnny Chan Survives Champions Reunion as Qui Wins Day 1  

Event #1 of the summer was the $5,000-entry Champions Reunion, which pitched 493 previous WSOP bracelet winners against each other to see who will win the first live-streamed WSOP event of the Las Vegas festival. With the final screened live on PokerGo this Friday, the field was packed with famous faces from the poker industry.

The 2016 WSOP Main Event world champion Qui Nguyen (663,000, pictured below) took the biggest pile of chips into Day 2 at the close of play, with others such as Asher Coniff (641,000), Aram Zobian (565,000), and David Coleman (534,000) all making the top ten.

Other big names like Brian Rast (505,000), Dan Harrington (395,000), Cherish Andrews (393,000), Dan Zack (341,000), Jamie Gold (331,000), Maria Ho (318,000), and the reigning WSOP Main Event champ Daniel Weinman (269,000) all made the cut for tomorrow’s Day 2, when 74 players will make the money places from the 99 who survived overnight.

Qui Nguyen
Decorated former Main Event winner Qui Nguyen topped the first leaderboard of the 2024 WSOP.

Saying Goodbye to Poker Legends

Along the way, some high-profile collisions kept poker fans on the edge of their seats. The 2003 Main Event winner Chris Moneymaker was all-in with the best hand, holding pocket kings to Johnny Chan’s ace-king. The 1987 and 1988 back-to-back champion had the last laugh, however, with an ace on the flop sending the 2003 champion to the rail. Each former Main Event winner had a $10,000 bounty on their heads at the start of play and Moneymaker politely slid his little blue card worth that amount to Chan, who fist-bumped his fellow former world champion in thanks.

Phil Hellmuth busted early, unable to make a profit on his $5,000 investment, but plenty of players in seats were inspired by The Poker Brat nonetheless. PokerStars Big Game ‘Loose Cannon’ Nikki Limo as considering being the first player to make an impulsive WSOP merch purchase:

Lucky Hellmuth shirt
Fancy buying a Lucky Hellmuth shirt? Nikki Limo does!

Others to bust included poker coaching legend Faraz Jaka, Canadian crusher Alex Livingston, Chris Moorman, the 1983 world champion Tom McEvoy, perennial Player of the Year challenger Shaun Deeb, 2022 champ Espen Jorstad, six-time WSOP event winner Josh Arieh, Triple Crown (WSOP, WPT and EPT) winner Niall Farrell, and the WPT multiple Main Event winner Bin Weng.

Caleb O’Donnell Leads Casino Employees Event

There were a staggering 1,189 entries in the Casino Employees Event, which costs $500 and saw 179 make the money.  Allan Kwong burst the bubble, his pocket sevens losing Michelle Christie’s king-queen as a queen arrived on the river to send Kwong home in 180th place as everyone else moved into profit.

Organized for players who usually remain in the shadows of some of the world’s biggest casino event, players arrived at the felt from their usual roles of poker dealers, tournament directors, and other casino staff. At the end of Day 1, nine Americans and one Canadian made the top ten chipcounts, with the latter represented by Caleb O’Donnell, who ended the day on 583,000 chips, well ahead of the second-placed Bryan Lapham on (529,000).

WSOP Event #2 $500 Casino Employees Event Day 1 Top 10 Chipcounts:
1stCaleb O’DonnellCanada583,000
2ndBryan LaphamUnited States529,000
3rdJuan Carlos LatuffUnited States479,000
4thJohnathan SanchezUnited States468,000
5thWillie ColemanUnited States451,000
6thAndrew RiveroUnited States443,000
7thAlexander GreenUnited States436,000
8thMichael BaileyUnited States434,000
9thWilliam MccoolUnited States421,000
10thEric RobertsUnited States418,000

Photography by PokerGO, the home of the 2024 World Series of Poker. Subscribe today and watch all the WSOP drama take place this summer in Las Vegas.

Did this article deal you a winning hand?

Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!

Looks like you’ve been dealt a bad beat. We’ll shuffle the deck and try again.

Paul seaton


Paul Seaton,  poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He’s not just a spectator; he’s been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul’s poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he’s interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton’s expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide. 

More by Paul