Registration for Day 1A has closed at 943 players. While that number is down from last year (1,066), the WSOP staff remains strong to their claim that they are pacing for a 7,000-player event. If so, the next two days should be huge.
The energy has picked up a bit in the Amazon Room over the last few hours, and we've started to see a few players head out the door with their wallets a little lighter. Among the early casualties are former November Niners Chino Rheem and Soi Nguyen and legend of the game T.J. Cloutier. Players began the day with 30,000 in chips, and only a few have eclipsed the 100,000 mark as of yet. The players who have made it through the first three levels are now on their dinner break, and when they return, the blinds will be 150/300 chips with a 25-chip ante.
As the Main Event field gathers in the Amazon Room (the room you see on the ESPN broadcasts), the bigger action is taking place down the hallway, where thousands are vying for their own tickets into the Main Event. The Brasilia Room has been busy all day with single-table and multitable satellites hosting players who are trying to turn just a couple hundred dollars into a $10,000 Main Event seat. The 4 p.m. $550 mega-satellite featured a field of 847 players and will award 42 seats, and the morning mega-satellite awarded 25 seats. The tournament staff in that area said that there's been a buzz in the non-Amazon rooms all day and they don't see any sign of things slowing down this weekend. Seth Palansky of the WSOP estimates that when registration closes, approximately 2,500 players will win their seat through the on-site satellite process.
Beyond the satellites, the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha world championship is attracting a massive amount of spectators due to the presence of NBA star Paul Pierce, who has more than held his own against the best in the world. With approximately 140 players left, Pierce has an average stack and is chasing the $852,692 top prize. While that might seem like big money, he made $16,790,345 during the 2012-2013 NBA season.
Small blinds: Actors Kevin Pollak and Jason Alexander are seated at adjacent tables. Between hands, the two have walked over to one another for a quick chat. The first elimination of the day came on the failed triple check-raise. I'm not sure the last time that worked. The rail has started to grow a bit, but that might just be friends and families waiting for the dinner break. For a Day 1 of the Main Event, the rails are usually jam packed all day. Players have told me that the single-table satellites are so soft that people are playing in them, winning and getting back in line for another one. Action will resume at 8:25 p.m. PT. There are 21 players left in the Little One For One Drop. The final table will not be broadcast on ESPN3. ... The long-awaited Ivey Poker app launched today. Maybe now we'll figure out what all the buzz is about. The WSOP has organized a "Block Party" outside of the Rio, where food trucks and a dunk tank are the main attractions. Greg Merson, Jake Balsiger, Russell Thomas and Steven Gee are the members of last year's final table in action today. Elisabeth Hille just missed the final table last year, and she's off to another strong start here in 2013.