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The 2006 WSOP Main Event Begins

Day 1A - The First Field

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At 12:10 p.m. PDT the biggest game in town, correction - the biggest game in any town, anywhere in the world, on any planet in the universe - kicked off with Day 1A of the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event.

An introduction by WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, followed by actor and Maverick star James Garner performing poker's version of "tossing out the first pitch" with the declaration "Shuffle up and deal" set the stage for the first day of the year's most talked about tournament.

First of four "first days" actually, Day 1A marked the being of a series of heats in which fields of at least 2,000 players will be whittled down to 900 or less.

Along with the usual $10,000 chips stacks, a new feature to the WSOP awaited players at the tables - the "all in" button. Tournament directors informed the participants that the coin could be used in lieu of pushing all one's chips into the pot.

With the formalities out of the way, a starting field of 2,138 set out to survive the first day of tournament play.

Some of the notable pros and celebrities involved in the action included Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Clonie Gowen, Layne Flack, Andy Bloch, Barry Greenstein, Norm MacDonald, Toby Maguire, Laura Prepon, Chris and Danny Masterson and boxer Antonio Tarver.

The first elimination came a mere seven minutes into action, leading one tournament director to announce, "Congratulations, you've outlasted one player."

One participant who lasted longer than seven minutes was Scotty Nguyen, he and eight other players spent a majority of the day at the ESPN featured table set.

While Nguyen enjoyed the attention of a full fledged television production crew, the rest of the big names pros in the field remained scattered throughout the Amazon Room. The size of the field meant that few tables featured more than one poker star.

A sight more common than pros butting heads was that of entrants wearing online poker site paraphernalia. Pokerstars.com alone sent over 1,600 qualifiers to the 2006 Main Event, and the company's logo could be found at nearly every table.

One marquee match-up that did attract the attention of the railbirds featured Mike Sexton and Dan Harrington. The WPT host and former WSOP champ squared off on a number of hands. The battle, however, came to an end when a four-heart board gave Sexton's Qheart Qclub a superior flush to Harrington's Jheart 7heart. Fans and players applauded Harrington as he walked off the tournament floor.

Minh Nguyen exited play in a much different fashion - as a victim of the blinds. Nguyen accounted for one of the day's four no-shows. The unattended stacks lasted nearly twelve hours, but by 12:15 a.m. they were all blinded off.

Five minutes later Mike Erstling became the first player to reach the $100,000 chip mark.

Gus Hansen proved to be one of the last big name pros eliminated. On a short stack most of the day, Hansen exited the tournament shortly before 3 a.m. when his pocket sixes failed to hold up against his opponent's Aheart 7diamond.

Some other players who will not be moving onto day two action included Dutch Boyd, Lee Watkinson, Michael Mizrachi, Andy Bloch, Jennifer Leigh, Jean Gluck, and Chip Jett.

At 3:12 a.m. the Amazon Room erupted with cheers as tournament officials announced the close of Day 1A. Out of the starting field, less than 800 players remained.

"I've just been playing table by table," said Hoyt Corkins, one of the day's survivors, "and whatever happens I just want to win that table."

With over 6,000 entrants waiting in the wings, and twelve more days of poker ahead, Corkins, and the rest of the field, have a lot more tables to play.

The chip leaders at the end of action were as follows:
1. Paul McCaffrey - $111,800
2. Mark Vos - $93,000
3. Cuong Do - $86,000
4. Jeffrey Lisandro - $79,000
5. Pete Falk - $68,200

Day 1B begins at 12:00 p.m. PDT and players from Day 1A return on Tuesday August 1st for Day 2A of the Main Event.

Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for live updates, chip counts, photos, videos and for a new episode of "The Circuit."

For more information on bracelet winners and other WSOP news stories please visit http://www.cardplayer.com/tournaments/wsop/2006s