The second starting day of the 2013 World Series of Poker main event offered a little rejuvenation after a small and generally lackluster Day 1A. A total of 1,942 players put up $10,000 on Sunday and began what they hoped would be a life-changing tournament. The majority of the field (1,296 players) advanced after 10 hours of play, but for those like former main event champions Greg Raymer and Scotty Nguyen, 2013 bracelet winner Erick Lindgren, UFC star Georges St-Pierre and ESPN.com contributor Bernard Lee, this was indeed one of the toughest days of the year as they left the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino empty-handed.
One of the biggest highlights of the day was the appearance of Doyle Brunson, who weeks ago said he wouldn't be playing this Series as his body couldn't keep up with the WSOP's tournament grind. The living legend made his way into the Brasilia Room and was celebrated in front of the masses to start off the day's festivities. With his seat card in hand, Brunson headed into the Amazon Room and played through Day 1B with ease on the feature table to bag 81,025 in chips. There's still a few days go to, but Brunson already has his sights set on his first cash in the main event since 2004.
Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his WSOP main event victory, Chris Moneymaker returned to the Rio on Sunday and faced some tough competition to end the day down a little with 24,950.
"Honestly, that was probably the most grueling day of poker I've played in my life," said Moneymaker. "I started off short, never got any traction. I think the old Chris would've busted four or five times in some different spots. I just tried to remain patient and hopefully let the cards come to me."
During the final level, Moneymaker was down to under 7,000 in chips and found a key double up with pocket sixes. He rallied further to get to a day-high of 32,000, but had a few tough spots during the final 30 minutes. He'll enter Day 2 with nearly 50 big blinds.
"This is the one tournament you wait all year for," he said. "To make a deep run in it is really special. I've made Day 3 a lot, but those don't mean anything. I'm hoping to see Day 7 in the near future."
Moneymaker, Brunson and Dan Harrington will continue their quest for a second main event title Tuesday. Two other former champions, Nguyen and Raymer, failed to make it through. After Russell Thomas, Jake Balsiger and Greg Merson all advanced on Day 1A, Jesse Sylvia became the first member of last year's final table to hit the rail here in 2013. The final two women in last year's event, Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille, continued to be bonded together as both advanced as well.
Hollywood made another appearance at the Rio on Day 1B as Ray Romano and Brad Garrett brought their talents to the felt. Garrett was eliminated during the last level and joked as he made his way out of the Brasilia Room, and past his home-game foe Romano, who enjoyed every moment on Day 1B. Despite competing against talented Russian star Vitaly Lunkin, Romano thrived late and finished the day with 80,000 in chips. This is his second time to advance to Day 2 and he has never made it through to Day 3.
"I'd love to make Day 3," said Romano. "Day 3 is where it gets real exciting. I want to get past where [Kevin] Pollak got last year."
Romano joked that he had problems with aggressive players, and the only way he'll be able to top Pollak's Day 5 performance is if he's able to remedy that.
Throughout the course of the five-level Day 1s, eliminations are typically sporadic. With about 30 percent of the field failing to advance, it's safe to assume that most tables will lose a player here and there, and those empty seats will be filled by new players and new chips to be won. Sorel Mizzi was parked in the Brasilia Room all day and mentioned on Twitter how he was dealt with the unusual experience where not one player was knocked out at his table. For 10 hours, the same group competed against each other and Mizzi was the ultimate benefactor of this situation. Mizzi, one of the best live tournament players in the world, finished Day 1B with 134,100. The remaining eight opponents at his table bagged up below-starting chip stacks. Now that's how you truly dominate Day 1 of the WSOP main event.
Here's a look at the chip leaders:
1. Clement Tripodi (207,050)
2. Jevon Lam (189,250)
3. Daniel Cates (188,425)
4. Robert Russ (176,650)
5. Age Ravn (162,325)
6. Dan Owen (158,900)
7. Kenneth Silberstein (152,075)
8. Miguel Proulx (150,500)
9. Gianluca Rullo (147,800)
10. Robert Nehorayan (146,100)
The two-day attendance total is 2,885. WSOP organizers are expecting the largest one-day main event field in history on Day 1C, which begins at noon PT.
Small blinds: A couple got engaged today at the Rio during a main event break. Congrats to Rob Voigt and Cecilia Doyle! ... Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Ivey, Joseph Hachem and Jonathan Duhamel will play on Day 1C. Paul Pierce is rumored to be in the field as well. ... Loni Harwood won Event 60 to become the second female open-event winner of the 2013 WSOP. The 23-year-old from New York has played professionally live since graduating from the University of Albany with a degree in finance. She is currently third in the WSOP's Player of the Year race. ... Georges St-Pierre was poised to make Day 2 until his K-K was outflopped by A-5 during one of the final hands of the night. ... Shane Warne essentially goes unnoticed here at the Rio, something that would probably shock anyone who has ever followed cricket. With Elizabeth Hurley on his rail, Warne had a great Day 1 and finished with 91,000 in chips. ... The WSOP offered satellites that featured 10 players high-carding for a main event seat. ... The mega-satellites awarded more than 200 seats into the main event. ... Daniel Alaei won the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha World Championship early Monday morning. He won the same event in 2010.