2011 Main Event Day 1a Numbers Drop

Day 1a Chipleader Fred Berger
Day 1a unofficial chip leader Fred Berger

Fred Berger, Lex Veldhuis and Raymond Rahme rose to the top of a slightly sparse Amazon Room on Day 1a of the 2011 WSOP Main Event.

Although organizers were convinced there were about 1,000 players in the Rio in the early stages of Day 1a, by the time every head had been counted there were only 897.

That’s down approximately 20% from the first day of the 2010 WSOP when 1,125 players took to the felt.

Many poker experts were convinced the Main Event would be down this year thanks to the effects of online poker’s Black Friday.

After Day 1a it appears there is at least some truth to those fears.

Still, the Pros Come Out

After more than 30 straight days of poker with the Amazon and Pavilion Rooms full to capacity, it was unusual to see the Pavilion Room barely utilized and the Amazon Room start to thin out after four levels of play. 

Despite the slight dip in attendance there were more than enough poker pros on display with Johnny Chan, Jerry Yang, Annette Obrestad, Eli Elezra, Jason Alexander, Maria Ho, Vince Van Patten, T.J. Cloutier, Scott Montgomery, Johnny Lodden, Tom Schneider and Greg Raymer all at the tables.

Poker legend Doyle Brunson, who had been waffling about even playing the 2011 Main Event, made an appearance but busted in the early stages of Day 1a.

There are questions as to whether Brunson will even play another WSOP, so poker fans may have seen the Godfather of Poker for the last time at the Rio.

Brunson certainly had some company on the rail, however, as former World Champions Jerry Yang and Greg Raymer both busted. Johnny Chan was the only former World Champion to survive.

After five two-hour levels there were a number of chip leaders who started to emerge from the rest of the pack.

Chip Leaders Emerge

Sebastian Ruthenberg, Jason Alexander, Jonas Klausen, Raymond Rahme, Olivier Busquet and Lex Veldhuis will all wield dangerous stacks heading into Day 2a.

The overall unofficial chip leader looks to be Fred Berger who finished with a total of 209,500 chips.

The day finished with approximately 558 players still in the hunt for Main Event glory.

Day 1b of the 2011 WSOP Main Event begins at 12 p.m. local time tomorrow.

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