A relatively scant 771 players braved the firework-littered streets of Las Vegas to enter the Main Event, which was down 172 players from Day 1a of last year. It's somewhat troubling considering that first-ever $10 million guarantee on first place this year.
It didn’t matter to Swede Martin Jacobson who happily amassed a fortress of chips totalling 200,100.
The WSOP staff was quick to point out there’s no reason to be concerned and they are currently tracking ahead of last year in terms of pre-registration.
Seth Palansky, Vice President of the WSOP, promised this year will see the biggest Day 1c in the 45-year history of the tournament.
Caesars is recommending that players players register early or play Day 1b if they want to avoid the rush on Day 1c.
Riess Battles Merson on Feature Table
As far as the actual poker went there were plenty of notable players in the field with Johnny Chan, Mike Matusow, Jean-Robert Bellande, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Jay Farber, Ole Schemion and Yevgeniy Timoshenko.
Perhaps the most interesting table was the one on the main stage that featured Greg Merson and Ryan Riess, the last two champions from 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Riess got the better of the table and finished with 70,000 while Merson coasted into Day 2 with 7,000.
Online crusher Hac “Trex313” Dang, who’s rarely seen on the live tournament circuit these days, showed up to play the feature table in the latter part of the day.
Jean-Robert Bellande’s tumultuous summer, which included a seat in the $1 million Big One for One Drop, finally came to an end on Day 1a of the Main Event.
It appears Bellande will hold on to the BrokeLivingJRB moniker a bit longer as he didn’t record a single cash in this year’s WSOP.
Layne Flack, Chris Moneymaker, Ryan Riess, Antonio Esfandiari, Mike Matusow and Hac Dang all finished in the top 50 stacks to end the night. A total of 505 players survived and will play Day 2a on Tuesday.
PL "On Demand" Coverage Encourages Reader Participation
For the first time ever PokerListings is running “On Demand” live coverage of the Main Event, which means you have a chance to decide some of our reporting agenda. Be sure to throw suggestions - no matter how wacky they are - onto our On Demand news story or through Twitter or Facebook.
Day 1b of the 2014 Main Event begins at 12 p.m. tomorrow.
Here are the top 10 chip counts courtesy of WSOP.com to end Day 1a:
- Martin Jacobson - 200,100
- Aaron Wilt - 157,650
- Seamus Cahill - 150,000
- Ken Eniger - 129,000
- Kenny Tran - 119,000
- Andy Hwang - 118,875
- Mukul Pahuja - 114,800
- Alex Simic - 110,675
- Johnny Chan - 106,000
- Frank Passantino - 105,000