Daniel Negreanu among leaders on Day 1B
LAS VEGAS -- It's not hard to find where Daniel Negreanu is seated at any point during the main event. Rails around the Pavilion and Brasilia rooms are rather bare at this juncture of the night, but in one section of the Amazon Room, fans are straining their necks to get a glimpse at Negreanu as he holds court on Day 1B. Everyone knows that Negreanu is talkative at the table and, most of the time, he puts on a show for the fans. On Sunday night he kept the railbirds engaged and smiling, all while building one of the biggest stacks in the room.
Negreanu enters the final level of play with 114,750, which places him in the top 10 at the moment. Negreanu's 2012 WSOP is eerily similar to that of 2011. Both had signs of promise, but neither resulted in the bracelet he had hoped to attain. Negreanu made only one final table early on this Series, Event 5, in which he finished fifth. He cashed three other times, including a 13th-place finish in one of the final preliminaries of the summer, the $10,000 2-7 no-limit lowball. Negreanu has seen limited event success during the main event in modern poker era, but he's hoping to build on his 211th-place finish a year ago.
Bryan "PrimordialAA" Pellegrino is the chip leader after four levels with 139,000 in chips. Other notables at the top of the chip counts include Maria Ho, Jason Somerville, Galen Hall, Sammy Farha, Eugene Katchalov and Shaun Deeb. Sam Stein, Martin Staszko, Chad Brown and Mike McDonald have also started off well and have nearly double the starting stack after eight hours of play.
Tom Dwan didn't show up for most of the WSOP. For most of his main event starting day, that statement held true as well. Dwan registered late for Day 1B, then was blinded out for a few hours before finally taking his seat after dinner. He immediately lost a few hands and in less than two hours, he was back out the door of the Rio. Gavin Griffin, Jason Koon, Ville Wahlbeck and Joe Sebok were also eliminated during the last level.
There are a number of former WSOP champions still in action on Day 1B, most notably the man who has taken a seat at the feature table. Scotty Nguyen told me at the start of the Series that he wanted a few bracelets and a good main event performance. Through four levels, Nguyen hasn't had a great day, but has 13,000 in chips with the blinds at 200/400 with a 50 ante. If Nguyen can make another deep run, he'll consider this WSOP a success. Former champions Dan Harrington, Peter Eastgate and Jerry Yang also seem poised to make it through Day 1, but there's still two hours left to play.
Small blinds: Jonathan Duhamel will be awarded a new WSOP main event bracelet on Monday. During the robbery of his home late last year, the bracelet was extensively damaged. The WSOP will never be able to replace the sentimentality of the original one, but they're doing an incredibly nice thing by giving him a new bracelet. How does the tournament staff entertain the dealers during break? Music. During the final break of the night, tracks from a live performance from the Grateful Dead were played over the speaker system in the Amazon Room. The WSOP staff is seriously anticipating a 4,000-plus turnout on Monday. I doubt that number is attainable, but satellites are running throughout the night and into tomorrow morning. Other players at Scotty Nguyen's table are taking pictures with him as their table breaks. A number of players look completely exhausted Sunday night. Many are closing their eyes after folding with their heads on the rail. Hopefully during the break they found some caffeine.