While many a pro survived the sixth level of play tonight, still more were homeward bound with only a $10,000 windbreaker from the Bike to console them.
Day 1b drew more players - 266, up from Saturday's 219 - and some of the biggest names in poker. But, regardless of celebrity status, it was thanks to everyone's buy-ins that the prize pool soared to more than $4.5 million, $1.6 million of which will go to whoever is crowned the 2007 Legend of Poker at the tournament's conclusion Thursday, according to the payout structure released today. Meanwhile, the runner-up will pocket an easy $800,000 and third place earns $388,000.
But if Day 1b was a day of champions it was also family day in the Grand Ballroom of the Bicycle Casino - or at least it seemed that way given the number of players with kinfolk at neighboring tables. Brothers Michael and Nick Binger played just feet away from each other early in the day but neither one would make Sunday's final level.
Siblings Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi and his older brother Robert were also in attendance, though just the elder of the pair would survive to see Day 2. Robert Mizrachi will start tomorrow with just over $20,000 in chips.
But don't expect any envy on the Grinder's part. "I'm happy the older brother's taking over now and maybe I can learn a few new tricks from him," Michael told PokerListings.com on a break midway through the day.
Demonstrating why their name is poker gold, both Doyle and daughter Pam Brunson will be returning tomorrow. While Doyle's stack undulated, Pam's remained healthy throughout the day - at one point earning Queen Kitty a spot among the tournament's chip leaders. She comes to Day 2 with $63,600 in chips, while her dad bagged just $24,600 at the end of Level 6.
Tomorrow they will meet with some big stacks, including Day 1a chip leader Jerome Mangum's $157, 800 and that of today's chip leader Francois Safieddine who holds $165,400.
Among those who, sadly, will not be joining us for Day 2 are Erik Seidel, Cyndy Violette, Phil Hellmuth, John Juanda and poker-gossip magnets Chantel McNulty and Brandi Hawbaker (who made a cameo appearance on the chip leaderboard before busting late in the day).
Many players would also fall victim to the day's tables of doom: felts packed more pros than a Full Tilt Poker commercial. One of the best - or worst, depending on how you look at it - was a midday table that included Chris McCormack, Evelyn Ng, Jonas Entin, Gavin Smith, Mike Matusow, Erick Lindgren and Nicolas Mlouk.
Other stacked felts included one headlined by Barry Greenstein, Eugene Todd and Lamar Wilkinson; another featuring Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf, Phillipe Rouas and Hasan Habib; a table with Shane "Shaniac" Schleger, David Daneshgar, Hans "Tuna" Lund and Ray Henson; and a circle that included Shawn Buchanan, Fred Goldberg, Chau Giang and Casey Kastle.
Few survived to live another day, but rest assured: Day 2 will still have plenty of familiar faces and even more action than its predecessors.
Join us at PokerListings.com tomorrow for tournament updates, chip counts and regular interviews with some of poker's top players. Drop by at 2 p.m. (PDT), when we'll be reporting from the Bike's Grand Ballroom from the first level to the last as the playing field continues to shrink.