2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Kicks Off
Pros, Celebrities and Amateurs Alike Turn Out For Day 1A
The 2012 World Series of Poker main event has finally officially begun with 92-year-old participant Ellen Graham Deeb, Shaun Deeb’s grandmother, doing the shuffle up and deal honors with tournament director Jack Effel.
This year, the field is split between three starting days, which will combine to form the day 2 survivors on Tuesday. Each player is given 30,000 in chips and two-hour blinds levels starting at 50-100. The plan is to play five levels today, finishing up around 12:30 a.m. PST.
In 2011, 6,865 players entered the main event, which was won by German pro Pius Heinz for $8,715,368.
The field is filled with pros, such as the aforementioned Heinz, David Williams, Matt Glantz, Billy Baxter, Mike Matusow, Hoyt Corkins, Andy Black, Kathy Liebert, Eric Baldwin, Joe Hachem, Isaac Haxton, Barry Shulman, Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, Steve Gross and Greg Mueller.
Some celebrities have also opted to play day 1a, like Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano, The Usual Suspects actor and comedian Kevin Pollak and Celine Dion’s husband and manager, Rene Angelil.
But there are also a large number of WSOP virgins in attendence, such as Chad Lawson, a 40-year-old who won his seat in a Chicago charity poker tournament benefitting the One Step At A Time foundation.
There’s also Phil Ibster, a 61-year-old concrete finisher from Clarksville, Georgia. When asked how he got his seat, Ibster replied, “by spending my hard earned money.”
Gillian Epp is also making her debut in a WSOP event, but she’s nowhere near an amateur. The 27-year-old Feltstars pro has been a regular in high-stakes cash games at Bellagio and in her native Vancouver for the better part of the last five years.
Then there’s Constant Dietz, a 22-year-old pro from Groningen, Netherlands, who won his seat in a $700 PokerStars online satellite.
“This is my first trip to the United States and I did it just for poker,” Dietz said.
Registration will remain open through the first two levels of play, and only then will we have a better understanding of how large the field will be.
For complete coverage of the summer poker festival, out our WSOP landing page.
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