Much like poker's Olympics, the most prestigious poker tournament in the world kicks off July 8 and ends in July 22 when a winner is declared and crowned at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Day 1A started at 11am on July 8, Saturday with players scattered about at the Brasilia Room and Amazon Room in the Rio casino. After registration was closed at the end of dinner break, a total of 795 players had signed up and entered the fray, which made the biggest Day 1A since 2013, when 943 players entered the first starting flight.
Three former Main Event champions were in the bunch that day, but in the end only two survived.
Defending champ Qui Nguyen said it was a totally different atmosphere than 2016, "It was very much different. Last year, I came here like just a guy. Not like nervous, but not comfortable, you know? This year, I come back and feel very comfortable." He played on one of the featured tables during the early part of the day where he made awesome moves reminiscent of his courageous play at last year's WSOP final table. Ultimately, much of his decisions helped him get through to Day 2 with 96,700 chips.
Martin Jacobson is known for his prowess with a short-stack in 2014 at the Main Event final table. However, the Swedish national had some difficulty and finished the day with 36,800.
Unfortunately for 2007 Main Event champ Jerry Yang, he got eliminated when he played against Steven Warburton. Other prominent names that had a disappointing day were Anthony Spinella, Blake Bohn, Dan Shak, Sorel Mizzi, and King's Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik.
On the other hand, Day 1A has been a wondrous event for some players. Sam Grafton said after placing 2nd, "It's been a dream day. Everything I tried has gone well for me. When I was bluffing with some outs, I made them on the river. Can't complain; I'm really happy with my stack. It's going to be a really nice three days for me now by the pool, knowing this stack is in the bag. I can watch my friends try and fail, knowing that the equity of my stack is just rising as they tumble out of the tournament. So that's going to be a very nice feeling."
The current chip leader, Morten Mortensen, who has almost $1.1 million in live cashes in his poker career, said after the day ended, "I was fortunate enough to be dealt a lot of playable hands and I was able to win most of them. Other than the last hand of the night, most of the pots I played weren't very big. I have two days off, so I will be going to party tomorrow night, and then I can chill until Day 2. I only have five times the starting stack, and there should be around 7,000 runners, so there is still a long way to go."
The 576 players who survived Day 1A will return for Day 2A on July 11, Tuesday at 11am.
Chip counts for Day 1A (Top 10 players):
Morten Mortensen 276,000
Sam Grafton 231,600
Griffin Abel 226,000
Jonathan Little 211,300
David Eldridge 207,000
Nachman Berlin 205,000
Frank Crivello 192,000
Michael Ravn 188,800
Rahul Byrraju 186,100
Ronnie Brown 181,100