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After a speech from both Jack Effel and Ty Stewart about the evolution of the WSOP since moving to Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and it's new adventures such as the upcoming WSOP Asia-Pacific, the microphone was turned over to the first winner from the Rio - the 2005 WSOP Champion Joe Hachem.
"You better believe it!" started Hachem as he reflected on becoming the first Australian WSOP Champion.
"To me personally, its been an honor and privilege to be WSOP Champion." added Hachem.
"Play your game, enjoy your game and I hope i see you at the final table. Good luck and shuffle up and deal!" and with that, Hachem put the cards in the air for Day 1a of the 2014 WSOP Main Event.
The doors have finally been open, and players are trickling into the Amazon Room to find their seat.
However, nearly every table in the Amazon Room has a rerouted table number with all the tables in the Purple and Orange section displaying Pavilion White table numbers.
There are currently tables in the Brasilia room for overflow, but the plan for the day is to have everyone in the Amazon Room at one point throughout the day.
The PokerNews MyStack App is available for players to use for free throughout the 2014 World Series Of Poker Main Event, allowing anyone in an event to update their chip count directly on the PokerNews Live Reporting page for their friends and family to see.
Be forewarned, however, any abuse of the app will result in account suspension or termination.
Over the past six weeks, the 2014 World Series of Poker has hosted 64 gold bracelet events, and it's been an eventful summer. Vanessa Selbst kicked things off by winning Event #2 $25,000 Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold'em for $871,148, and then Ted Forrest denied Phil Hellmuth his record 14th bracelet in Event #7 $1,500 Razz while capturing his sixth bracelet in the process. Justin Bonomo finally got the monkey off his back by capturing his first bracelet in Event #11 $1,500 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em for $449,980, and George Danzer won two bracelets in Event #18 $10,000 Razz and Event #38 $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Championship.
Joe Cada became the first post-poker boom Main Event champ to capture a bracelet after their Main Event win by taking down Event #32 $10,000 Si-xHanded No-Limit Hold'em Championship for $670,041, while Dutch Boyd found redemption by winning his third bracelet in Event #33 $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em. Let us not forget John Hennigan's win in the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship, Phil Ivey's tenth bracelet win in Event #50 $1,500 Eight-Game Mix, or Daniel Colman's victory in the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop.
The 2014 WSOP has been defined by life-changing moments, but it has now just arrived at its premiere event — the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event. The most prestigious tournament in poker kicks off today with the first of three starting flights. Event #65 on the schedule, the Main Event will run from Saturday, July 5 through Monday, July 14, which is when the final table will be determined. Once the "November Nine" are determined, play will be halted until November 10-11, 2014 when the final nine players return to the Penn & Teller Theater to play down to a winner.
Last year the Main Event saw 6,352 players from 83 nations compete in the Main Event, which created a prize pool of $59,714,169. The tournament was eventually won by Ryan Riess of East Lansing, Michigan, who earned $8,361,570 for his victory. Here are some other interesting facts from last year's Main Event:
- Average Age in 2013: 38.1
- Oldest Player in 2013: William Wachter - Carmel, New York (Age 92)
- Youngest Player in 2013: Rayan Chamas - Dollard, Quebec, Canada (21 years, 8 days)
- Male Participation in 2013: 6,054 (95.3%)
- Female Participation in 2013: 298 (4.7%)
- Notable Celebrities in 2013: Jason Alexander, Norwegian snowboarder Tortstein Horgmo, actor and comedian Brad Garrett, music producer Irv Gotti, NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo, Olympic medalist skier Petter Northug, FC Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique, actor and comedian Kevin Pollak, actor and comedian Ray Romano, Mixed Martial Arts champion Georges St. Pierre, actress Jennifer Tilly, cricket star Shane Warne, and actor James Woods.
How will these numbers change in 2014? Only time will tell, but one number that is guaranteed to change is the amount awarded to the winner. For the first time ever, the Main Event features a $10 Million guaranteed prize for the winner, which will ensure at least the second largest prize in the event's history. In 2006, Jamie Gold took home $12 million for his victory in the Main Event. The biggest payout since then went to Peter Eastgate in 2008 ($9,152,416).
What influence that guarantee will have on the numbers remains to be seen, but traditionally the Day 1a field is the smallest of the three starting flights. Last year the first starting flight drew 943, which was significantly smaller than both Day 1b (1,942) and 1c (3,467). We expect history will repeat itself with similar turnouts here in 2014.
Among those expected to take their shot at poker immortality today are Mike Gorodinsky, Naoya Kihara, Blake Bohn, Antonio Payne, Susie Isaacs, Erick Wright, and last year's runner-up Jay Farber, just to name a few.
Players will begin the tournament with 30,000 in tournament chips. Each level in the Main Event lasts 120 minutes with a 20-minute break after each level. Play will continue on Days 1a until the completion of Level 5, with a 90-minute dinner break after three levels of play. The remaining players from the Day 1a field will resume play at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8.
Cards will be in the air at Noon local time, which is a couple of hours from now. Join us then as we watch players take their first step toward poker immortality. Some will advance on their journey, while some are destined to fall by the wayside. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the hands, chip counts, and updates from poker's premiere event. Stay tuned!
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