The WSOPE had resumed at the Empire with the schedule promising a great day's poker. As well as the start of Event 2, the £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. tournament, complete with weighty $10,000 stacks and a beefy 90-minute clock, the Empire was also hosting the final table of the inaugural event of the WSOPE season, the £1,500 NLHE tournament.
Several big names were included in the mix: summer bracelet winner Jesper Hougaard was looking to furnish his arm with a second piece of WSOP jewelry but was likely to face an uphill struggle to do so, the Dane coming into the final short-stacked and living on a prayer.
Irish Open winner Neil Channing had also made the final nine, and he was hoping to add a bracelet to his many other achievements in poker. We interviewed Neil on his hopes and aspirations yesterday, and you can read that interview here.
Champagne glasses clinking in the background at the celebrations following Hougaard's victory formed the backdrop to the £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. tournament that played out Day 1 today.
There was an alluring 90-minute clock for those who stumped up the cash to play and $10,000 chips on offer with which to make an assault on the bracelet that was up for grabs.
Oddly, there was only a small field attending - just 110 players took the plunge to participate. Despite its small size however, the field was immensely strong, as a host of European, American and other pros jumped at the opportunity to pick up a bracelet.
There will be few fields with such a density of top-class pros, and the fight for this bracelet should be a battle royale.
With such deep stacks and a long clock, it was inevitable that casualties would be thin on the ground, and indeed the first few levels only saw a handful of knockouts. As the blinds rose to a more threatening level, however, the rate of attrition began to increase.
With the number of poker stars peppering the field, it was almost inevitable we would see some stellar names gracing the upper echelons of the leaderboard, and there are none bigger than Phil Ivey. It was he and the Poker Brat, Phil Hellmuth, who led the way at the end of the day, and when they resume tomorrow, they will be the men to stop.
Play will resume tomorrow at the Empire at 2 p.m. sharp local time, so join PokerListings.com then as we continue to trace the path to the final table in our own unique style.