2012 Main Event: William John Leads Day 1A

Candio ships some chips in the wrong direction.
Candio ships some chips in the wrong direction.

As the end of the day draws to a close, players are trying to hold on to their chips to ensure that they return in a few days to continue to Day 2. Some of the players we have lost before the end of the day include Kristy Arnett, Eric Froehlich, and Ray Romano.

Candio Back for Another Rollercoaster Ride

One player that we will see continue to Day 2 is Filippo Candio. He burst onto the poker scene during his deep run in the 2010 Main Event that culminated in a 4th place finish worth $3,092,545 and he’s making some noise here in the 2012 edition.

He’d chipped up to nearly 100,000 chips with the overly-aggressive style he’s known for, but that same penchant for playing big pots was his undoing. With a 100,000 chip pot heading off to an opponent with pocket kings, Candio sent 50,000 chips into the middle pre-flop with just AQo and the board blanked out.

Candio still has about 45,000 chips to work with so it’s not all doom and gloom for the excitable Italian.

Words with Friends, FTW

iPads have become a must-have item for many poker players, offering the perfect way to fill up the dead time during all that folding and sitting around waiting for the next hand.

We’re not exactly the nosy sort, but it’s hard to miss what many players are doing on their iPads during a circuit of the room. The following are quick stats for what players were up to on their iPads.

3 playing Words with Friends

2 checking Facebook

1 playing Angry Birds Space

1 watching Game of Thrones

The Mouth Is Paralyzed

It isn't often that we associate Mike “The Mouth” Matusow with the word paralyzed. However, that was just the word he used to describe how he played the following hand.

He was on the button and called a preflop raise from the player in middle position. The flop came out 9 J 3. The middle position player checked, and Matusow bet 1,200. The player in middle position made the call.

When the A came on the turn, both players checked. They also checked the 2 on the river.

After all the action was completed, Matusow turned up his hand, reluctantly showing K J. His opponent mucked his hand giving Matusow the chips.

“I’m paralyzed! I don’t think I’ve been this paralyzed in poker in my life,” Matusow said referring to his inability to bet his hand.

Pius Heinz
Pius Heinz gives himself a healthier looking stack before the end of the day is out.

Heinz Survives

Defending champ Pius Heinz had a rough go of it for much of the day. Right as the night was nearing the end, he finally picked up some momentum and some much needed chips.

He was all-in for his tournament life on a A 5 3 board. His opponent tanked before making the call for about 8,000 more. Heinz tabled J 4, and his opponent turned over 8 7. Heinz was able to double up with a bigger flush, and now has close to 30,000 chips.

Heinz wasn't finished, as he would find himself all-in again just a few hands later. He was in great shape once again with pocket queens versus his opponent’s AQ. Heinz ended up flopping a set to cruise to another double up, and getting above starting stack for the first time all day with about 60,000 chips.

Three More Hands

With 10-minutes left in the last level of the day, the tournament director announced that there would only be three more hands of poker dealt for the day. Players are getting their redraw slips so when they come back on Tuesday, they know where their seats will be.

Players from Day 1A will return at 12:00 pm on Tuesday to continue their quest for total poker domination. However, we will be back tomorrow to pick up on the action from Day 1B. See you then!

Top 10 Chip Counts for Day 1A

William John - 266,700
Gerardo Lubas - 165,800
Daniel Strelitz - 164,125
Dane Lomas - 157,600
Chance Kornuth - 141,775
Jonathan Cuevas - 141,675
Eric Kurtzman - 136,900
David Randall - 132,750
Vasile Buboi - 132,075
Leo Wolpert - 128,300

Chip Counts Courtesy of WSOP.com

2012 Main Event: Hellmuth Eliminated

No more bracelets for Hellmuth in 2012
No more bracelets for Hellmuth in 2012

A Lackluster Entrance, A Lackluster Preformance

Phil Hellmuth has been eliminated from the 2012 Main Event. 

In a very uncharacteristic way, Hellmuth entered the Main Event today in a quiet, normal way. Hellmuth usually opted for a Day 1C start and would usually orchestrate an elaborate and grandiose entrance. 

Not today. 

Hellmuth surprised everyone -- including himself -- by showing up today. It wasn't planned, but a good night's sleep helped Hellmuth make the decision.

@phil_hellmuth: Surprise, surprise (to me as well!), just sat in Day 1A of WSOP ME (Main Event)! Was playing Monday (1C), but Slept 14.5 hrs + hopped in.

It turned out to be the wrong decision for the 12-time bracelet winner. Michael Tureniec raised to 900  from early position and Phil Hellmuth called from the hijack. The small blind came along for the ride and all three players got a 3 10 A flop. 

The small blind checked and Tureniec led out for 1,650. Hellmuth was down to about 6,000 and raised to 4,000. The small blind folded and Tureniec moved his stack in. Hellmuth snap-called and showed A J while Tureniec turned over 3 3 for the set of threes. 

The turn was a 2 and the river brought the 7. Hellmuth was eliminated and he fled the Amazon room. 

Hellmuth walked towards the back hallways of the Rio followed by a camera crew. A group of fans and non-fans stood still as they saw the Poker Brat make his ext. 

"Is he out," asked one spectator. Someone nodded and the spectator shouted, "Thank God!"

Hellmuth called someone on his phone and then started to Tweet:

@phil_hellmuth: Not sure I won more than 1K from an opponent all day long. Is it possible to lose 15-of-17 pots that go to a flop? Bad bad luck today!

Phil Hellmuth fans
Hellmuth and a rail of spectators

@phil_hellmuth: I'm out of Main Event! Feeling tortured: Feeling sick...Maniac winning every pot w K-9 + Q-8, KNEW he would implode, BUT he busts me 1st

Words with Friends, FTW

iPads have become a must-have item for many poker players, offering the perfect way to fill up the dead time during all that folding and sitting around waiting for the next hand.

We’re exactly not the nosy sort but it’s hard to miss what many players are doing on their iPads during a circuit of the room, with the following quick stats as far as what players were up to on their iPads:

3 playing Words with Friends

2 checking Facebook

1 playing Angry Birds Space

1 watching Game of Thrones

Coming Down the Homestretch

This time of night at the Main event -- with just over an hour to go -- is one of the times that separates the amateurs from the pros. 

First-time players are often content to fold their way to Day 2, as simply making it to the second day of play is a big accomplishment for many plus the wear of a very long day of poker makes it easy to default to a passive line of play instead of trying to make something happen.

The pros, though, often take the exact opposite line, using the last hour of play to try to pick up lots of small pots other players may not be willing to fight for. 

That leads to a lot of busts where amateurs might slide into Day 2 with a short stack but picking up chips is the name of the game at the Main Event, with the exact same amount of cash -- zero -- going to players whether they bust on Day 1, Day 2, or Day 3 short of the money.

Chip Counts

William John - 180,000

Jamie Armstrong - 150,000

David Randall - 146,000

Patrick Coughlin - 126,000

Alain Roy - 125,000

Fabio Luongo - 104,000

Johnathan Cuevas - 100,000

Faraz Jaka - 98,000

Ryan Welch - 94,000

Sofia Lovgren - 94,000

Courtesy of WSOP.com

2012 Main Event: It's A Long Road to Fortune

Allen Bari is left to sweat his friends.
Allen Bari is left to sweat his friends.

There are a few players that definitely won’t be returning for Day 2. Lee Markholt, Greg Mueller, and Ted Lawson will all have the rest of the summer to get ready for next year.

Allen Bari is also out of the running for a Main Event bracelet this year.

Allen Bari @allenbari- “Out of the main.. Gl to very few of u, I will be spending the next week rooting for 40 of u and antisweating everyone else.”

Angélil’s Chips Sing

René Angélil is probably best known for his role in being Celine Dion’s husband and manager. However, over the past several years he has also shown that his interest in poker goes past just being a hobby.

With 29 tournament cashes under his belt, Angélil has over $400,000 in tournament wins. He is looking to make this Main Event one to remember. He already has one cash in this year’s WSOP, and this could be his second of the year.

Angélil has been playing a patient game of poker today. He is very quiet at the table, and his movements are very methodical. We were able to watch him steal a small pot from his tablemates who seem to be respecting his play.

The player in the hijack seat raised to 650 when the blinds were 150/300. Angélil called from the cutoff and the button called as well. The flop came out 9 3 3. Everyone checked around to see the turn card.

The turn brought the 4. The initial raiser checked to Angélil who bet 1,800. The other two players gave him credit and folded their hand.

Angélil is around 41,000 in chips which puts him at a decent standing to get to Day 2.

It’s a Long, Long Road to the Final Table

We’ve been at it for nearly 10 hours here on Day 1A, but players still have a long road ahead of them to still be around to bag up chips at the end of play.

For players that survive a very long Day 1, the good news is they’re still in the hunt for a payday of over $8 million -- the bad news is that it’s just the first step of many they’ll have to take, dodging bad beats, coolers, and exhaustion the whole way.

Making the final table means playing 12 hours+ for seven days, with no breaks in the action from Day 3 onward as a rapidly dwindling field returns day after day with their eyes firmly fixed on the final table. 

The final nine that make it to the finish line will finally get a well-deserved break, with play halted until the final table returns October 28-30 when they’ll play down to a 2012 WSOP Main Event champion.

Last Break

Players are on their last 20-minute break of the night. After this 2 hour level, players will start bagging up their chips and will have a few days to rest before coming back to play Day 2.

Meanwhile, there are two more days of starting stacks in works. This means that tomorrow we will do it all again with new faces and plenty of hopefuls.

2012 Main Event: Stout Takes A Hit

Matt Stout
Matt Stout

The Main Event, the beginning of the end. 

The World Series of Poker Always ends on this bang of poker history. We saw 60 poker tournaments with buy-ins that ranged from $1,000 to $1,000,000. There were emotional wins, incredible comebacks and some historic victories.

Phil Hellmuth won his 12th bracelet this year and the country of Japan won its first. Hellmuth has more bracelets than any other player in the world, and this year, the United States took more bracelets and all the other countries combined.

Players from the United States took home 44 bracelets this year. US players also cashed 5,551 times for a total of $112,556,413. 

Players from the United Kingdom were the players to get closest to the amount of money earned by the US, but they were still pretty far off. British players cashed 305 times for $15,056,000, but only managed to clinch one bracelet. 

Canada was the only country besides the United States to win more than one bracelet. Canada managed to win three bracelets this year and cash 478 times for $8,923,004. 

But there's still a lot of money left to be given out. Last year's Main Event prize pool was worth $64,540,858 with a first place prize of $8,715,638. Today was a taste of what the 2012 Main Event is going to bring, we'll find out more throughout the next eight days.

Stout Takes a Big Hit

Lock Poker pro Matt Stout hasn’t been able to get anything going today and has now dipped below the 10,000 chip mark.

He check-called bets from a lone opponent all the way to the river on a 6c 7c Ad 6d Qc board, with his opponent quickly showing 6h 8h to get a muck and a shake of the head from Stout as the 25,000 chip pot slid the other way.

Luongo Skates His Way to a Big Stack

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has not only made an appearance here on Day 1A; he’s proving he’s got some poker skills as well, building up to about 75,000 chips.

He’s not the first sports star to try his hand at the Main Event tables, with Paul Pierce making it late into Day 2 at the 2011 Main Event before bowing out. Shane Warne has been a regular fixture in recent years, with Evander Holyfield, Jose Canseco, and Orel Hershiser all taking a crack at the Main Event in the past.

Georges St-Pierre is slated to try his own luck in the Main Event in coming days, as he’s being sponsored by 888 and will see if he’s as skilled at knocking out opponents at the poker table as he is in the octagon.

Chip Counts

David Randall - 138,000

Fabio Luongo - 125,000

Alain Rov - 125,000

Faraz Jaka - 120,000

Patrick Coughlin - 114,000

Johnathan Cuevas - 110,000

Sofia Lovgren - 98,000

Jon Spinks - 90,000

Julie Farkas - 86,000

Filippo Candio - 81,000

Courtesy of WSOP.com

2012 Main Event: Some Don't Return After The Dinner Break

Joe Hachem will have to find his sugar elsewhere.
Joe Hachem will have to find his sugar elsewhere.

Players are back from their 90-minute dinner break. While players were getting their fill, the Amazon room stood lonely and quiet. About 15-minutes before the dinner break was over, players and supporters started filing in to mentally prepare for the rest of the day’s battle.

There are two more levels to be played until the end of the day. With the breaks factored in, players should be bagging up their chips by 12:45.

Main Event Champs Headed Out the Door

Several former Main Event champions definitely won’t win a second one here at the 2012 WSOP, with Jim Bechtel eliminated earlier and 2005 Main Event winner Joe Hachem bounced just before the dinner break after getting no sugar passed his way today.

Hachem Tweeted earlier that he’d lost heaps with AA to get knocked down to around 8,000 chips, with his remaining chips sliding away shortly after.

Joe Hachem ‏@JosephHachem- "Just lost 8k after I folded AA on J85board to a 4 bet shove 15k, he had 88, blah. Send some love ppl I really need it."

Some other notable players who have busted include Chris Klodnicki, Fabrizio Baldassari, Luca Pagano, Matt Glantz, Kathy Liebert, and Randal Flowers.

Kathy Liebert @pokerkat- “Feels pre bad to bust out Never had a chance today.”

2012 Main Event: We're Back

A small portion of today's field
A small portion of today's field

The Amazon and Brasilia rooms are bustling with the sounds of poker again.

The hundreds of poker players still alive in Day 1A of the Main Event have returned with full bellies and high hopes. As stated earlier today, we will be playing a total of five levels before calling it a day. This means we have another two, two-hour levels of Main Event action. 

We'll be keeping you update on all things WSOP-related. In the meantime, check out our breaking WSOP news.

As we all know, the WSOP loves expanding. They announced the WSOP Asia Pacific this year and now it looks like they'll be headed into another territory, Canada. 

2012 Main Event: Dinnertime

NHL star Roberto Luongo gets a double up
NHL star Roberto Luongo gets a double up

The WSOP Main Event is an odd creature. 

The tournament starts today, but won't get down to a final table for another nine days. In the eight days preceding that, the tournament tends to shed more than 5,000 players. That's over 5,000 people putting up $10,000 in hopes of turning it into millions. 

Today is the first of those days. Even though the massive Amazon Room and part of the Brasilia Room are packed with players, today's field is less than a third of the total expected field. Day 1A tends to be the smallest of the Day 1s. 

Despite that, Day 1A saw an increase in players. Today, 1,066 players showed up for Day 1A, up 19 percent from the 897 players in last year's Day 1A. But while we saw an increase today, it's important to note that this year only features three Day 1s, as opposed to the four Day 1s we had last year. 

We've played through three levels in the 2012 WSOP Main Event and now our first fleet of players is going on a 90-minute dinner break. They'll be returning to play another two levels and then bagging chips up until Day 2A. 

Vedes Can’t Get it Going

Tommy Vedes has slipped down to about 12,000 chips and doesn’t appear to be a happy camper at the moment. Vedes bled off a few more chips when he three-bet to 1,800 pre-flop, but flashed a queen and folded when his opponent made it 5,200.

His opponent tabled pocket nines, which produced more grimacing from Vedes, who was Tweeting about his day earlier on:

@TommyVedes: I could've been out in any of these hands but pretty happy to be at 14k from 30k, just gonna assume they have quads on paired boards.

@TommyVedes: My day1A @wsop so far: flopped aces up vs turned set, AdKd on 3d8d4xKxKx vs Rene(Celine Dion's husb) & Ks6s on QsTs3s3x3x.

Vedes came into the WSOP on a nice run, having taking down the WPT Seminole Hard Rock event in April for a $779,520 score and he’s had five cashes so far at the 2012 WSOP, the biggest being a $86,896 cash for his 8th place finish in Event #50.

NHL’s Roberto Luongo Doubles Up with Aces

World-class goaltender Roberto Luongo is playing in his first WSOP Main Event and he just experienced the thrill of surviving an all-in on Day 1a.

Luongo got his opponent to stack off with ace-king on a king-high board while holding pocket aces. The river bricked out and the Montreal-native got the checkmark.

The Vancouver Canuck released a huge sigh or relief as he raked in the pot while other players at the table congratulated him on the pot.

After the hand Luongo was up to about 60,000 in chips and in good shape to do some serious damage here on Day 1A.

Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth during his flashy Main Event entrance in 2011

The New Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth has just entered the tournament in an uncharacteristic fashion. Usually, the gregarious outspoken pro enters the Main Event with a showcase as big as his personality. 

His entrance in 2009 might have been his most spectacular (and most ill received) entrance. He arrived dressed up as Caesar, complete with a gold leaf crown. As he arrived at the Rio, he had about 100 girls following him who were dressed up as Greek goddesses.  

In 2010, he entered the Amazon room with a black and gold boxing robe and gloves on. As he boxed the air, like a fighter straight out of the Rocky movie, his trail of ring girls followed suit with pink gloves on.

This year, he arrived uncharacteristically early and quietly. There was no grand entrance, no big speeches, and no Halloween costumes. He just sat quietly down in his seat and started playing poker.

@phil_hellmuth: Surprise, surprise (to me as well!), just sat in Day 1A of WSOP ME (Main Event)! Was playing Monday (1C), but Slept 14.5 hrs + hopped in

Chip Counts

David Randall - 123,000

Faraz Jaka - 110,000

Patrick Coughlin - 110,000

Chance Kornuth - 68,000

Jon Spinks - 67,000

Sergey Tikhonov - 67,000

Kevin Pollak - 65,000

Brock Parker 61,000

Rob Rawls - 59,700

Robert Luongo - 58,000

Courtesy of WSOP.com

2012 Main Event: Its All About The Numbers

Mike Sexton is off to a good start being towards the top of the
Mike Sexton is off to a good start being towards the top of the

The second break of the day is out of the way, as players took 20-minutes to defragment their brain and use the restroom.

The feeling in the Amazon Room has been fairly quiet and subdued today, but out in the hallways people are bustling around. Some are coming from cash games, others, are playing satellites, and some are just trying to get the feel for what the World Series of Poker is all about.

The Numbers Game

Everyone looks to the Main Event turnout each year as a general barometer for how the poker world is doing and 2012 will be no different.

The poker world will be keeping a close eye on the 2012 Main Event attendance to see whether or not the impact of Black Friday -- when the US government moved to block PokerStars and Full Tilt from serving US players -- is finally felt as far as attendance slipping for the Main Event.

Day 1a is usually one of the smaller fields of the starting days as most players prefer to play the last starting day but even so things seem a bit empty here today, with a quick rough count earlier showing about 1,400 players currently in their seats.

That’s a massive turnout for the first starting day of any other poker event in the world but just ho-hum for the WSOP Main Event, as total capacity for all the available rooms in the Rio this year is nearly 500 tables or about 5,000 players.

Organizers are always optimistic but the general feeling seems to be that they’d be happy to get the same 6,500 or so runners that the 2011 WSOP Main Even drew; with a turnout of around 1,500 for Day 1a that means we’ll have some work to do on Day 1b and 1c to get up to the 6,500 mark.

Still Time to Play Your Way into the Main Event

If you’re in Vegas and have a hankering to play in the Main Event, don’t despair; there’s still plenty of time to not just enter but to also play your way in for a fraction of the $10,000 buy-in sticker price.

The Rio is running several different mega satellites up until July 8 that award $10,200 main Event seats, giving players a last-minute shot of chasing poker riches in the Main Event.

Here’s the mega satellite schedule for July 7-8:

$550 mega satellite at 10 AM and 4 PM

$1,160 mega satellite at 1 PM

$2,080 mega satellite at 8 PM

Locking up your seat at the last minute may not be the most responsible way to start your Main Event journey but in the end it doesn’t really matter how you get to the final table, just as long as you get there

Jon Kalmar is probably the most famous story as far as someone turning a mega satellite seat into a huge payday at the Main Event, as he was ready to head back home empty-handed in 2007 when he won his seat at the last minute, then going on a huge rush that’d see him ultimately finish 5th for $1,255,069.

Brian Rast
Rast is the chip leader in the WSOP National Championship, so he will not be showing up for Day 1A.

No Shows For Day 1A

The big news in poker is that the Main Event started today, but there is another $10,000 buy-in tournament which has kept some of the A-listers at bay for the day.

The WSOP National Championship is in its second day, and is playing out in the Brazilia room. The top WSOPC qualifiers were given free entrance into the event, and qualifiers from the last two years were able to buy in for $10,000.

Some of the players that are still in the tournament include Brian Rast, Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier, David “ODB” Baker, and Amanda Musumeci.

We expect these players to show up at some point during the Main Event, but it will not be today.


Top 10 Chip Counts

Kevin O’Donnell                              73,000

Jon Spinks                                      65,000

Mike Sexton                                    63,000

Jay Rosenkrantz                              58,000

Ronny Kaiser                                  56,000

Jordan Young                                 55,000

Yann Dion                                      52,000

Quinn Do                                       52,000

Julie Farkas                                    50,000

Faraz Jaka                                      50,000

Chip Counts Courtesy of WSOP.com

2012 Main Event: Bad Beats and Magical Appearance

David Williams, playing and Tweeting
David Williams, playing and Tweeting

All In and a Call

We’ve not quite played two levels on Day 1A, but a slow stroll through the tournament area inevitably leaves one witness to a handful of players’ days ending already -- even with a very slow structure and deep starting stacks.

Our last circuit of the room saw the typical cooler situations like running pocket kings into pocket aces pre-flop (with the aces managing to hold up) as well as two players getting it all in with 7 7 versus J 8 on a 7 9 5 flop, with the 10 turn and a blank on the river abruptly ending the Main Event run of the fortunate/unfortunate player who flopped a set and got all his chips in. 

Early exits for some top pros are no more annoying than a mosquito bite that they shrug off as they head off to the next event but for some amateurs who are playing their first -- and possibly only -- Main Event it can be a lot more crushing when the poker gods have a cruel fate in mind for them early on Day 1A.

A Magical Entrance

Every year, Phil Hellmuth makes the biggest entrance at the Main Event when he shows up late for Day 1C. But this year he might have some competition, and this newcomer wasn't even trying. 

Antonio Esfandiari walked into the Rio and was immediately swarmed by fans and an ESPN cameraman.

Esfandiari walked in with his dad, uncle, brother and a few other family members. There was about 30 minutes left in Level 1, but Esfandiari wouldn't see the Amazon Room until the first break.

Antonio was stopped for three interviews, several congratulations and dozens and dozens of pictures in the Rio hallway. 

Antonio Esfandiari
Antonio Esfandiari celebrating his big win

"Man, an $18 million win," a fan said. "We only dream about things like that."

Esfandiari then introduced his family to the ESPN cameras and answered a few questions.

"This feels like the first day [after the Big One] that I've had my bearings back," Esfandiari said. "I signed up for the $1K two days after, but I'm feeling good today."

Another fan asked Esfandiari how it was like to play an event for $1 million. Apparently, it wasn't that different. 

"At the end of the day we all get two cards and have to win a pot," Esfandiari said. "It was just my time."

Esfandiari then continued his walk to the Amazon. The legions of satisfied fans and iPhone photographers relished in their moment of being startstruck. 

When Esfandiari finally made it to the Amazon room, he was ambushed again. A small crowd formed around him and more pictures were taken. There was about 10 minutes left in the level and Esfandiari spent them all taking pictures with fans. Players then went on break and when they came back, Esfandiari still didn't take a seat.

Esfandiari had just registered to play Day 1C. This wasn't even his official entry, it was just his registration appearance. It looks like Hellmuth is going to have to share the spotlight come Monday. 

I think we've found the celebrity for celebritude. For one instant celebrity, just add One Drop, a Big One. 

Main Event Twitter Twatter

Eric Froehlich @efropoker: Two outered on the river for 7500 in a terribly played hand #vomit

David Williams @dwpoker: The hands going down on my table are insane. Loooots of huge pots. Down to 10k again but the outlook is bright.

@TommyVedes: My day1A @wsop so far: flopped aces up vs turned set, AdKd on 3d8d4xKxKx vs Rene(Celine Dion's husb) & Ks6s on QsTs3s3x3x… I could've been out in any of these hands but pretty happy to be at 14k from 30k, just gonna assume they have quads on paired boards.

Top 10 Chip Counts

Julie Farkas - 65,000

Frank Kassela - 62,000

Kevin O’Donnell - 53,000

Jordan Young - 51,000

Jay Rosenkrantz - 48,000

Eric Baldwin - 47,700

Billy Baxter - 47,000

Mike Matusow - 44,000

Chris Bjorin - 43,000

Salman Behbehani - 42,000

2012 Main Event: Quite The Spectacle

This guy is preparing for a down pour.
This guy is preparing for a down pour.

Players went on their first 20-minute break of the day.  All Day 1’s are scheduled to play five levels with a break after every level. The dinner break will be after the third level of the day.

Crazy Hat Show

Besides watching players slap down $10,000 at a chance to win one of the most prestigious poker tournaments in the world, it is also exciting to see the crazy antics that have become a staple of the main event.

We’ve already mentioned the cat outfit that Tatjana Pasalic is wearing today, and we’ve also spotted some hats that are worthy enough to mention.

One player is wearing an umbrella on his head. Since Las Vegas is a desert, we don't imagine that the hat is for practical use.

Another player is decked out in a jester outfit complete with playing cards. It hasn’t been determined if this player lost a prop bet, or if he is just looking to get a little extra attention from the media.

WSOP Player of the Year Race

There’s only prestige on the line (and a big banner with your smiling face on it) but top pros always put a lot of stock in the WSOP Player of the Year race.

It’s a cumulative race that players rack up points in based on their performances in all the events on the 2012 WSOP schedule (including the $1 million Big One for One Drop), which many look to as a true test of who had the “best” performance each year in the WSOP -- instead of just heaping more accolades on the Main Event winner.

Below are the current standings for the 2012 WSOP Player of the Year race, with none other than Phil Ivey leading despite the fact that he hasn’t managed to win a bracelet in any 2012 WSOP event.

1. Phil Ivey: 568.702

2. John Monnette: 524.253

3. Phil Hellmuth: 500.704

4. Antonio Esfandiari: 488.105

5. Michael Mizrachi: 486.206

6. Gregory Merson: 481.137

7. David “Original David Baker” Baker: 433.388

8. Andy Frankenberger: 406.669

9. Vanessa Selbst: 388.1710

10. David “Bakes” Baker: 356.94

The Main Event is worth a ton of points in the race so a big showing by any of those names above could vault them into the lead in the Player of the Year race.

Hat guy
More crazy hats!

Main Event Twitter Twatter

Allen Bari @allenbari- “Big bluffs literally, and I mean literally never work.. Down to 13k at a table full of clowns and one good Russian”

Eric Froehlich @efropoker- “Picked up some hands. Ran TT and JJ into same maniacs a6 twice. Got it back w KK when he raised me on the 966 w JT and hit a ten tho.”

Kathy Liebert @pokerkat- “Thought I was running good flopped set. Guy called and out ran it on river. No Tilt!!!!”

David Williams @dwpoker- “Down to 10k. Just had Q8 on JT59dd vs preflop raisers KQ :-(. Lost 25k. 2nd nuts to nuts twice and I'm still in. Lucky.”

2012 Main Event: Returning Champs and Cats

Tatjana Pasalic is the cat lady
Tatjana Pasalic is the cat lady

Cat Lady

Every year we see garishly dressed players, some for fun, others due to prop betting; this year is no different. We’ve seen a number of outlandish hats, crazy hair styles, and tantalizing outfits. 

Tatjana Pasalic is also wearing some interesting head-ware. Pasalic showed up to Day 1A with a set of cat ears, but she also has a suit to match. 

Pasalic is wearing a skin-tight catsuit with a heart necklace. We haven't surveyed the entire field, but the general consensus is that Pasalic has the tightest and most visually-appearing wardrobe for Day 1A.

The reason for this catsuit isn't solely for our entertainment though. Pasalic lost a prop bet to her boyfriend, McLean Karr. Now Pasalic has to wear the catsuit while her boyfriend is only wearing cat-print suit.

We were able to catch her prowling in a hand with another player.

The player in the hijack raised, and Tatjana Pasalic raised over the top for 900. When it folded back around to the hijack, he made it 2,300. Pasalic made the call to see the flop.

The flop came 2 2 T. Pasalic led out for 2,500, and the hijack player announced a raise and threw out one orange 5,000 chip.

Pasalic was confused about the bet, but after the dealer let her know it was 2,500 to call she folded her hand. 

“Will you show?” Pasalic asked.

Perhaps, it was the cat suit or the fact that a Pasalic was using her womanly skills of seduction, as the hijack player was more than willing to show his cards. 

He turned up A A to rake in a fairly nice pot.

Pius Heinz
Pius Heinz right after his 2011 Main Event win

Back to Back in the Main Event

2011 Main event champ Pius Heinz is playing here on Day 1A, leading to the annual speculation of whether or not we’ll ever see a player win consecutive Main Events again.

It’s definitely been done before, with Johnny Moss winning in 1970 and 1971, Doyle Brunson in 1976-1977, Stu Ungar in 1980-1981, and Johnny Chan in 1987-1988.

Chan gets a special nod as he came within a whisker of winning three consecutive Main Events, finishing runner-up to Phil Hellmuth in 1989.

That might add fuel to the argument that Heinz has a shot to go back-to-back here in 2012 but a huge caveat is the field size, as all of the previous back-to-back Main Event winners had to contend with fields of less than 200 total players.

Heinz had to wade through a big field of 6,865 runners in 2011, with every Main Event field since 2005 drawing 5,500-8500+ entries.

Greg Raymer has come closest to going back-to-back in the modern area of big fields, following up his 2004 Main Event victory with a very deep run in the 2005 Main Event, when he finished 25th out of 5,619 runners.

Heinz proved in 2011 that he’s a very talented player but he’ll have an uphill climb here in 2012 if he wants to become the latest back-to-back Main Event winner.

We’ve spotted a few more pros leak into the field today. Allen Bari, John Monnette, Antonio Esfandiari, and Billy Baxter are all on the quest for main event stardom.   


2012 Main Event: Notable Faces on Day 1A

Mike Sexton
Mike Sexton

The virus has spread. 

The 2012 WSOP Main Event has now fully infected the Amazon room. The purple, orange and tan sections are packed with players vying for poker's top prize. 

But the infection doesn't stop there, the bronze section in the Brasilia room is now also packed with would-be Main Event champions

While many of these players are unknown, there are a few faces that stick out a bit. 

Who’s Who on Day 1A

We’re rolling here on Day 1A of the 2012 WSOP Main Event, with players settling into their seats to begin what they hope to be a very long journey here at the Rio that will culminate in a spot in the final nine players when play is halted on July 16.

This year’s Main Event features three starting days (instead of the usual four that we’ve seen in recent years) with today the first chance for players to leap into the fray.

Play is currently split between two of the massive ballrooms used here at the Rio, with the Amazon Room the epicenter of action and the Brasilia Room handling the excess spillover.

Players are still streaming in and arriving but just a few of the notable names in the field so far on Day 1a include Matt Glantz, Mike Sexton, Hoyt Corkins, David Williams, Kathy Liebert, Andy Black, and Greg Mueller.

There's More

Those aren't the only notable faces at the inaugural day of the 2012 WSOP Main Event. Here are a few more players starting July 7th with 30,000 chips in the Maine Event:

Joe Hachem

Eric Baldwin

Greg Mueller

Eric Froehlich

Karina Jett

Allen Cunningham

René Angélil

Ivan Demidov

Ray Romano

Mike Matusow

Erica Schoenberg

Sexton Leads Early

Mike Sexton has gained an early lead over his opponents in the first round of the day. He raised to 250, and to his dismay he got four callers. 

The flop came A Q 4. Sexton continued for 550, and everyone folded except the button player.

When the 8 it the turn, Sexton threw out one yellow chip worth 1,000. The button player wasn’t giving up and made the call to see the turn.

The river was the 9. Sexton halfheartedly threw out a 1,500 bet. The button player made the call.

Sexton turned up A Q for two pair. 

“Good hand,” said the button player as he mucked his hand.

Sounds and Pictures

Here's a video with a brief history of the Main Event, starring our very own Matt Showell:


Chip Counts

Almost everyone has about 30,000.

Courtesy of WSOP.com

2012 Main Event: Shuffle Up and Deal!

Time to build one of these.
Time to build one of these.

After a slight delay we are officially underway here at the 2012 WSOP Main Event.

WSOP tournament director Jack Effel just ran through the rules over the intercom and 92-year-old Ellen Deeb provided the traditional Shuffle Up and Deal.

“Before we start, I want you all to know you’re playing for second,” quipped Deeb as she took the mic.

Hundreds of giddy poker players have already taken their seats and more are still streaming through the door.

Word on the street is that attendance is already trending up today compared to last year so it’s safe to say there are some excited poker players in the room.

The sound of chips riffling is already echoing through the Amazon Room.

Updates are incoming.

2012 Main Event: It’s Finally Here

It's that time of year again.
It's that time of year again.

Poker players spend much of the year dreaming about the WSOP Main Event but for the next 10 days they’ll actually get to live it.

Today is Day 1a of the 2012 WSOP Main Event and we’re expecting thousands of poker players to crash their way through the Rio doors in a couple hours.

There is already a collection of poker enthusiasts that have shown up early to scope out the tournament room. Dealers are doing their last bit of prep before taking to the felt for the final and biggest tournament of the 2012 WSOP.

Last year white hoody-enthusiast Pius Heinz outlasted 6,865 players to win $8,715,368 and in doing so became the first German World Champion in poker history.

It’s tough to say what poker fans should expect from this year’s WSOP Main Event. Attendance trended down slightly in some of the prelims but there were also some enormous $1,000, $1,500 and event $5,000 buy-in events.

We’ve heard talk of an over/under of about 6,500 and that sounds about right to us but only time will tell.

Keep in mind that the days tend to get busier as we go along so it will be hard to get a good estimate from Day 1a alone.

What to Expect from 2012 WSOP Main Event

What can poker fans look forward to in this year’s WSOP Main Event?

Well for one, Phil Ivey returns after skipping the entire 2011 WSOP after issues with Full Tilt. He’s currently leading the 2012 WSOP Player of the Year and a deep run here could clinch it for him.

A number of young gun poker players including Viktor “Isildur1” Blom and Harrison Gimbel will be playing the Main Event for the first time.

Several sports stars including MMA superstar Georges St. Pierre and world-class NHL goalie Roberto Loungo are set to take a seat in this year’s tournament as well.

This is how it all begins. Players start with 30,000 chips and blinds begin at just 50/100 with two-hour levels.

PokerListings will be with you every step of the way as we bring signature live coverage to every day of the 2012 Main Event, including the final table in October.

Action begins at noon today. Check back to this page for live updates because you do NOT want to miss this one.


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