But despite the same traditional Chinese dragon dance kicking things off on the same tournament floor in the exact same Grand Waldo Hotel & Casino here in the mecca of Asian gaming, things were definitely different today.
For starters, play began with a whopping 184 entrants compared to Day 1a's 124, which triggered the announcement that we were indeed involved in the biggest tournament in Asian poker history. Organizers predicted that a total of 500-plus players would join in on the fun by the time Wednesday's third and final Day 1 gets going.
Plus, while most of the biggest names in action on Day 1a came and went rather quickly, the stars taking to the felt today were primed to hang around a lot longer.
Right off the bat Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown doubled up with pocket aces, and although he didn't hang on to most of those chips, he was moving in the right direction later in the day with some solid play. He got it up to $40,600 by the time play wrapped for the night - good enough for a spot just outside the top 10.
Chad's better half, Vanessa Rousso, had an up-and-down day, hovering around the average stack and looking to be a lock to make Thursday's Day 2. But she busted on the final hand of the night.
The pride of Hong Kong also got things going today, although it didn't start out that way. Back-to-back WSOP Main Event champ Johnny Chan took hit after hit in the early going, dipping to as low as $2k in chips before his table broke, sending the Orient Express to a much more welcoming environment.
Immediately upon finding his new seat, Chan doubled through PokerStars Supernova VIP Van "Sirens" Marcus by turning a set of sixes, then busted Marcus when he flopped two pair and rivered a boat against the online wonder's open-ender. While he looked dejected and uninterested for most of the first half of the day, getting some chips put a smile on Johnny's face by the end of it all, as he bagged and tagged his $12,800.
Besides the requisite amateur donkstrikery, the most bizarre thing PL.com witnessed on Day 1b would have to be the behavior of one particular Team PokerStars Pro. For some reason, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier made the call to shuffle up and deal today in a Heath Ledger-inspired Joker costume.
Complete with green hair dye, full makeup, a Salvation Army-style purple sports jacket and the ugliest pair of socks this reporter has ever seen, Grospellier took his seat immediately after making the call, and spent the day rolling his eyes wildly and laughing uncontrollably in Joker-like fashion.
But despite the strange exhibition, his play was no joke.
Grospellier got a little short by midday, but managed to double though Mel Judah to right the ship. Judah, who seemed less than amused by ElkY's get-up, busted unceremoniously soon after, and while Grospellier got short again, he doubled in the last level to end the day with $15,100.
One player who made a lot of noise today was WSOPC Rincon final tablist Edward Sabat. Sabat turned garbage into gold early on, playing less than premium hands to snap off a few opponents who didn't see it coming. Garbage only gets you so far, though, and by the middle levels Sabat got a little taste of his own medicine when one opponent turned trips with 4-6 suited to crack his flopped two pair.
Sabat took the hit in stride and flipped the script by the last level of the night when he used a pair of ladies to double up to $40k. He ended the day with $41,400, squeaking into the top 10 in chips.
Other notables making Day 2 from this group include 1990 WSOP Main Event winner Mansour Matloubi and WSOP bracelet winners Daniel Schreiber and Thomas Bihl.
All in all 77 players made the cut today and they are all looking up at David Steicke, who made third in the High Roller Event here last November and a final table at the WSOP this summer. Steicke has $87,700 in chips and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in the coming days.
These 77 will join the 46 from Day 1a on Day 2 Thursday, but PL.com will be back Wednesday for the third Day 1 flight, where some of the biggest names in the game are expected to take to the felt. As always, you are welcome to join us at 1:30 p.m. local time for a little poker - Macanese style!