Little more than nine hours after Dario Alioto's victory in the £5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event (and puh-leeze, whoever it is that makes the schedules for these Freddy Deeb, Annie Duke and David Williams.
Also in attendance was the one and only Phil Hellmuth, who arrived at the Empire Casino with 12 models dressed (if it can be called that) as PVC-encased police officers... and nobody paying attention. Our photographic Rashneesh Arthur Crowson was able to snap off a few shots of the Hellmuthian debacle before the Great Man disappeared inside (and his entourage disappeared entirely, having clearly only been paid for about 15 minutes of posing) to find a seat at the feature table and spend the day haranguing the likes of Traniello and Hansen.
Meanwhile, first-ever WSOP bracelet winner on European soil Thomas Bihl would find himself eliminated from the event. Bihl got into a pot with an inexperienced and very shaky young woman, as well as William Thorsson, and tried to put a move on his jitterbug rival only to see her turn up quad sixes for the win.
Thorsson was eliminated soon after, while over at the Fifty, Liz Lieu would lay a beat-down on John Juanda, sending the Full Tilt Poker pro to the rail within a few hours of the day's commencement. Lieu would not be the only female player to find success early, as Annie Duke, Jennifer Harman and Annette "Annette15" Obrestad would all jump to the upper echelons of the tournament leaderboard as the afternoon wore on.
Later in the day, Andy Bloch and Todd Brunson would find themselves consigned to the rail, while Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi and French superstar-at-life Patrick Bruel would see their respective stocks rise. At the Sportsman Casino, David Williams would find his own stock relegated to the junk bonds department after hitting the rail courtesy of young upstart Joe Serock, whom many pundits are already calling the next Joe Sebok.
At the feature table, the Phil Hellmuth show remained in full force throughout the day, with poor Marco Traniello taking the brunt of the abuse. "Hey Marco," the Poker Brat was overheard to tell Mr. Jennifer Harman, "If you call, I'll show you aces. If you lay this down, I'll show you seven-deuce."
Midway through the evening, however, Hellmuth's focus would turn to Thor Hansen, who raised the ire of the Great Man when he called a pre-flop raise with Q-10 and wound up hitting two pair to win the pot. As Johnny Chan looked on from the rail, Hellmuth told the Norse God of Tight-Aggressive Play he would soon raise with kings and trap the Norwegian, and also that he was a freight train, "Chugga-chugga, choo-choo."
Late in the day, poker fans were delighted by the news that Eurorounder Peter Jepsen was in the house, and that he'd brought his girlfriend, the noted masseuse Frieda, with him. Fans were less delighted to hear of Harry Potter's elimination at the hands of Humberto Brenes, and of Liz Lieu's abortive all-in with top pair against an opponent's made straight. Joining both the Hogwartian One and Ms. Liz on the rail would be Ted Forrest, the victim of an opponent's flopped set and turned full-house that kind of destroyed his underpair-plus-flush draw combination.
Thus was the day ended, at 12:30 a.m. after four levels of intense poker action. Nobody is really sure how many players remain after Day 1a's conclusion, but we're all pretty sure that Janne Lamsa is chip leader, holding steady with around $115,000 in chips. Lurking near the top of the chip leaderboard are the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Ram Vaswani, Brian Townsend and, of course, Joe Serock. Day 1b will commence tomorrow at 2 p.m. local time and PokerListings.com will be in three places at once, so tune in all day to observe the magic. Fish n' taters!