Day 1A of the Main Event at Planet Hollywood drew a huge field of 477 players. The field was not only big, it was well-decorated, with numerous bracelets, rings, and other poker accomplishments represented throughout the floor.
In fact, there were two WSOP Main Event champions in the field, 2013 champ Ryan Riess and 2001 winner Carlos Mortensen. Elsewhere in the room were bracelet winners Robert Mizrachi, Ryan Welch, Eric Baldwin, Dan Heimiller, Dutch Boyd, Leo Wolpert, Greg Kolo, Robert Cheung, as well as former November Niners Jake Balsiger and Joseph Cheong (pictured above).
Cheong, in fact has the chip lead with 220,300. Other big stacks include Welch (198,000), Dan O’Brien (173,800), and Eddie Blumenthal (155,100).
Perhaps the most uplifting side story in today’s event was the presence of Kevin “phwap” Boudreau. Boudreau took a hiatus from poker after a brain injury he suffered during the 2013 WSOP. Lately, he has been returning to the tables from time to time. He was in Day 1A today, although he was eliminated before the end of the day.
After 12 levels of play, the 477 entries were whittled down to (unofficially) 162. In addition to the leaders, several notable players bagged up chips for Day 2. Both Main Event champs are still alive. Carlos Mortensen has 53,200, and Riess has 18,300. They’ll be joined on Sunday by Baldwin (96,500), Robert Mizrachi (59,500), three-time ring winner John Holley (57,000), Viet Vo (47,200), Dan Heimiller (47,000), Balsiger (38,300), Joe Kuether (36,000), and Tim West (27,200).
Tomorrow, the Flight 1B begins at noon and will also play 12 levels. Those who survive through the end of either Day 1 will return on Sunday at 2 p.m. for Day 2. (This is a change from the original structure sheet, which listed the Day 2 restart as starting at noon.)
Full chip counts will be available shortly.