WSOPE Championship Kicks Off With Cast of Stars

Nicolas Levi
Nic Levi.

The first Day 1 flight of the 2010 WSOPE Championship drew a cast of 137 great poker characters to the Casino at the Empire inside London’s Leicester Square Thursday.

Poker stars like November Niners Michael Mizrachi, Filippo Candio, Joseph Cheong and Jonathan Duhamel, former WSOPE champions Annette Obrestad and John Juanda, WSOPE lifetime cashes leader Chris Bjorin, Hall of Fame lock Erik Seidel, five-time WSOP bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro, and 2000 WSOP Main Event winner Chris Ferguson were among them.

The crowd was even treated to a Lady Gaga style Poker Face entrance by poker legend Phil Hellmuth, backed by a crew of dancers and a brass band.

But it was names like French pro Nicolas Levi, WPT Player of the Year Faraz Jaka and French Avation Club manager Bruno Fitoussi that stole the headlines, pushing towards the top of the chip counts late.

After a summer that included a WSOP bracelet win and a run all the way to 11th in the Main Event, French Canadian Pascal Le Francois built a stack on Day 1, as did 2006 WSOP Main Event finalist Allen Cunningham.

Just 78 remained when they finished six full levels on the day with Levi in the lead.

Duhamel, Cheong, Hellmuth, Obrestad, and Mizrachi were among those that busted.

Arnaud Mattern, Leo Margets, Nick Schulman, Huck Seed, Vitaly Lunkin, Isabelle Mercier and Candio are among those still in contention.

The survivors will return for Day 2 Saturday 12 p.m. while the second Day 1 flight, expected to draw around 170 players, goes off at the Empire at 12 p.m. local time Friday.

For a slice of the action, click through to PokerListings’ WSOPE Live Updates.

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