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World Series Of Poker Main Event Day 1A -- Greg Merson Nearly Triples Starting Stack In Title Defense

Poker Pro Off To Strong Start On The First Day Of Action This Year

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A total of 943 players turned out for the first of three starting days in the 2013 World Series of Poker main event. In the field was defending champion Greg Merson.

Merson made an impressive showing on his first day of this year’s main event, finishing with a strong 81,600 in chips. There’s obviously still a long way before talks of repeating could be legitimate. Merson described his day as “solid.”

No one has won back-to-back titles since Johnny Chan in the late 1980s.

The Maryland native is also looking to record his first tournament cash since winning the main event last fall. Merson doesn’t play a lot of tournaments in general, but his World Series of Poker this year has so far been extremely lackluster.

Merson stopped by to talk with Card Player about the 2013 main event:






The field of 943 players was actually smaller than last year’s 1,066 entrants on day 1A, however the World Series of Poker is not worried about a dismal turnout overall. In fact, the word is that the final numbers are actually expected to be up.

WSOP spokesperson Seth Palansky Tweeted that it was “pacing for 7,000.”

The 2012 main event drew 6,598 players willing to gamble $10,000 on a tournament.

While Merson built a solid stack, Evan Panesis was able to accumulate more than 190,000, which made him the chip leader from day 1A. Last year, one player had more than 260,000.

Panesis, hailing from Kansas, has about 70,000 in lifetime tournament scores.

Other notable big chip stacks include Nick Maimone (93,000), Olivier Busquet (87,775), Dan O’Brien (80,850), Ronnie Bardah (75,675), Elio Fox (73,800), Kristen Bicknell (70,050) and Steve Gee (66,000). Gee made the final table last year, but busted first.

In attendance on day 1A was 2011 champion Pius Heinz. He failed to make it to day 2.

Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for more updates from the event.