It’s time for the divorce rate to shoot through the roof as the 44th Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) has finally arrived. For the next seven weeks it’s nothing but poker, poker, poker as the Rio All-Suite and Casino once again welcomes the very best poker talent from across the globe.
As always the action commenced with Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em event. A time when the dealers, bloggers, photographers, et al spend two days worth of salary on their own little WSOP dream.
It seems that the poker world has not been scrimping on it’s employee numbers in the last 12-months, as 896-players contributed to a first prize that will top $85,000 – 164 more employees than entered the event in 2012 when Chiab Saechao won $70,859 and a WSOP gold bracelet.
Day One was a massacre, as 14-hours of play saw 898-players whittled down to just 55 who will return for the second day of action. Michael Trivett is the chip leader with 133,900 chips.
The big boys showed up, a few hours later, as Event #2: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em (Eight Handed) was given the honor of opening up the action for the pros. The new format attracted 481-of the world’s best poker players, and with sharks like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth swimming in the water you need to have a plan to evade their sharp teeth. One man who could probably out swim a shark is the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps. The last time we saw Phelps at a poker table he was railing his good friend Jeff Gross to a third place finish at the World Poker Tour (WPT) stop at Montreal. Phelps exchanged the rail for a seat as he participated in his first-ever WSOP event.
“It’s kind of weird. All my friends come here every year and talk about how much fun they have, so I decided to come out here and see how it goes,” Phelps told the PokerNews sideline reporter Sarah Grant.
So how did it go for the 18-time Olympic gold medalist? Not bad…as he sneaked into the Day two seat draw with 20,800 chips. Joining him in the final 232-player field is his good friend Antonio Esfandiari. Last year’s biggest WSOP winner, from a financial perspective, has one of the largest stacks in the room, sitting on 81,650, however, his other buddy Jeff Gross did not make the Day Two cut.
There are a number of top players chasing Tom Marchese, who currently occupies the number one spot with 153,975 chips. They include the recent WPT $100,000 Super High Roller winner David ‘Doc’ Sands (110,825), recent WSOP-Asia Pacific (APAC) bracelet winner Bryan Piccioli (85,900) and online superman Chris Moorman (77,825). The most decorated WSOP player ever, Phil Hellmuth, is also in the field with 29,675.
High profile bustees include Jake Cody, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Joseph Cheong,