The third and final starting flight of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event was expected to be the biggest and best, and Day 1c did not disappoint. The Rio All-Suite Casino was jammed pack on Monday as 3,768 players (the largest WSOP Main Event starting field in history) took their shot at the $10 million guaranteed first-place prize.
Combined with Day 1a's 771 entries and 1b's 2,144, the total field for the 2014 WSOP Main Event swelled to 6,683 players, which was an increase of 331 from last year and the largest Main Event since 2011. That makes it the fifth largest Main Event in history with a total prize pool of $62,820,200 that will be distributed to the top 693 players.
After five two-hour levels of play, Eric Tracy and his stack of 206,175 finished as the biggest in the room, though Phil Ivey is hot on his heels with 187,025 after winning one of the last hands of the night. Others who flourished in the minefield of players were Ronnie Pease (181,850), Nick Yunis (171,100), Tom Sarra Jr (168,100), and Martin Hansen (167,250).
Day 1c was filled with action, but it was also littered with entertaining story lines and wild characters. Take for instance Pauly "Walnuts" Bianchi, who was in Chicago hours before the Main Event and gambled his way in thanks to three hands of blackjack. Of course there were plenty of sport stars in attendance including the NBA's Paul Pierce and Earl Barron; football star Gerard Pique; NFL defensive lineman Richard Seymour; and Australian cricketer Shane Warne, while Aaron Paul, also known as Jesse Pinkman on AMC's Breaking Bad, set the tournament floor abuzz as he was in purportedly in attendance to sweat a friend.
Entertainment aside, there was business to be had on Day 1c. One of the first to get down to it was Steve Billirakis, who was flushed out early. He may have been one of the first to go, but he was far from the last. Among the hordes that failed to survive were Sam Trickett, Kathy Liebert, Andre Akkari, David "Devilfish" Ulliott, Stephen Chidwick, Davidi Kitai, Andy Frankenberger, Tom Schneider, and last year's last woman standing Jackie Glazier.
Likewise, plenty of WSOP royalty saw their tournament cut short including former runner-ups Tuan Lam (2007), Ivan Demidov (2008), John Racener (2010), and Jesse Sylvia (2012) ; as well as former Main Event champs Greg Raymer (2004) and Jerry Yang (2007). Yang actually fell in the last level of the night when he got his short stack all in on a flop holding against Iaron Lightman, who had . Neither the turn nor river delivered Yang salvation, and his 2014 WSOP came to a lackluster end.
While many fell, plenty of notables were able to advance to Day 2c including Daniel Negreanu (129,250), McLean Karr (121,075), Gus Hansen (90,550), Haralabos Voulgaris (73,700), Robert Varkonyi (60,900), Amir Lehavot (57,750), Paul Pierce (60,400), Earl Barron (59,000), Carlos Mortensen (55,125), Phil Hellmuth (49,425), Daniel Colman (49,225), Joe Hachem (48,175), David Tuchman (47,775), Jonathan Duhamel (41,375), Berry Johnston (28,850), Gerard Pique (23,325), and Scotty Nguyen (8,000).
All of those players will return at 12 p.m. local time on Wednesday, July 9 for five more levels of play. Before then though are both Day 2a and 2b, which will play out simultaneously at 12 p.m. local time on Tuesday, July 8. Of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the action from all the Day 2 flights as well as full coverage on the way to this year's November Nine.
We'll see you in less than 12 hours for more poker action, but in the meantime check out the latest edition of Ivey Stories where Pat and Mel Humphries talk about following Ivey from the beginning.