With a brand new set of players filing into the tournament room to take their shot, however long, at WSOP glory, came a host of new stories and characters for us in the media to amuse ourselves with.
Optimistic amateurs were seated elbow to elbow with former world champions and chip-hungry professionals. In a tournament in which four separate day one heats are needed, each with over a thousand players, some interesting twists of the cards are inevitable. One hand in particular reminded us of just how twisted this game can be.
It took place at John Duthie and Marc Goodwin's patch of felt and involved both Englishmen, along with two other players at the table. A player in late position opened the pot to $3,200 and Marc Goodwin moved all-in for a little less than $20,000.
John Duthie, next to act, moved in over the top of Goodwin, and the player to his left followed suit, shipping his stack into the middle. The original raiser made what looked like a reluctant call and with everyone all-in it was time for a pre-flop showdown.
It doesn't take a genius to predict that someone had the aces but in this case that would only be half true. Both John Duthie and the player to his left were holding bullets with pocket kings for the original raiser and pocket tens for Goodwin. Duthie, who was looking forward to chopping up the other two player's money with his bullet-carrying comrade couldn't have been too worried by the 6♥ 4♠ 3♥ flop that followed. Perhaps the 7♣ on the turn gave him a little cause for concern, but the 5♦ on the river certainly made him do a double-take!
With the board going runner-runner to show a straight, each player simply took back his stack and chopped up the rest. Not the end of the world for the two players holding wired aces but a godsend for Marc Goodwin and the man with the pocket kings.
Not the only unusual hand match-up of the day, Gene Strickland busted a player who was all-in with quads after making a straight flush on the turn. Strickland finished the day fifth in chips and will be looking for more of that kind of luck when he comes back on Day 2.
As if these strange occurrences weren't surreal enough, the chip lead was held for much of the day by a man who we're most accustomed to seeing reprimanding uncontrollable adolescents and revealing the secret of who a baby's daddy is. That's right; Montel Williams was in full effect, putting his powers of perception to work on the felt.
Williams was involved in more than a few big pots over the course of the day and found himself up close to $150,000 at one point in the evening. Somehow finishing the day with just over $20,000, players at his table were enjoying an all you can eat Montel-chip-stack-buffet.
Rocking a personalized Navy lid proclaiming the existence of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft-carrier, Williams seemed to take the game more seriously than many of his show-biz counterparts.
It was a good day for random table draws as the feature tables saw such notables as Joe Hachem, Scotty Nguyen and Evelyn Ng. The closest place to these tables to get a cold beer, even if it is Milwaukee's Best Light, is the lounge conveniently located above the stadium seating and with a generous audience partaking of this questionable beverage, the mood was jovial.
Hachem seemed to enjoy his time in the limelight and exchanged banter with members of the crowd throughout the evening. The former champion made it through the day but is sitting below average with $35,300.
So here's a little look at the combined chip leaders from the first two Day 1 heats. Depending on how the players in the next two days fare, these could be the names sitting atop the list going into the first Day 2.
|1||Tinten Olivier:||$270,500 |
|2||Dag Martin Mikkelsen: ||$236,000|
|3 ||John Dutchak:||$209,600|
|4||Stephen Austin: ||$205,000 |
With a silly amount of poker action still to come before we even reach Day 2 there's plenty of reason for you to log onto PokerListings.com frequently and for long periods of time for all the best live coverage from the 2007 Main Event. Do it, do it!