Day 1a of the 2011 WSOP Main Event is now in the books! It appears that our chip leader at the end of play today was Fred Berger who finished the day with 209,500 in his stack. One of the other biggest stacks belonged to Shane Sigsbee who accumulated a total of 182,600.
A total of 897 players took to the felt today in what is generally known to be as the smallest Day 1 starting field. We were told by the WSOP staff at the beginning of the day that on average, Day 1a accounts for 17% of the total Main Event participants. If this holds true, we can expect a total of 5,276 players to take part in the Main Event this year.
For having such a "small" number of players to start the day, we certainly weren't lacking when it came to familiar faces. Notable players still in the hunt include Sebastian Ruthenberg, Annette Obrestad, Jason Alexander, Lex Veldhuis, Fatima Moreira De Melo, Olivier Busquet, Josh Brikis, and Mickey Appleman.
A number of well known players also hit the rail today. At the beginning of play today four former Main Event Champions took to the felt, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Greg Raymer, and Jerry Yang, but Chan was the only one to survive the day. Other players eliminated include Vanessa Selbst, Isaac Haxton, John Hennigan, Randy Lew, Chip Jett, and Tom Schneider.
Also eliminated were Adam Levy who finished 12th in last year's Main Event, and Matt Affleck who made deep runs in the Main Event in the past two years (80th in 2009 and 15th in 2010).
Two of last year's "November Nine" were spotted in the field today, Filippo Candio and Soi Nguyen, and both survived and will continue on to Day 2. Perhaps we'll see one of them make the final table two years in a row.
A number of players choose to don interesting hats or outfits in an attempt to get themselves noticed by the roaming cameras of the ESPN crew, but our award for best costume of the day has to go to Richard Wyrick who showed up after the dinner break in a Snow White costume. Someone even gave him an apple, but we don't think Wyrick ever decided to take a bite; probably a wise decision on his part.
Roughly 560 players survived the day and they will join with the players who come out of Day 1c to form our Day 2a field which will resume play at 12:00pm PST on Monday July 11th.
Last year Jonathan Duhamel bested a field of 7,319 players to take home the top prize of $8,944,310. Who will be the next Main Event Champion? Only time will tell, so make sure to stick with us here at PokerNews for all your WSOP updates.