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Bryan Campanello Dominates World Series Of Poker Main Event Day 1A

Bracelet Winner Bags Massive Chip Lead, Day 1A Field Sees 44% Increase From 2018


It’s that time of the year again where poker players flock to the Rio in search of poker immortality in the form of a World Series of Poker main event title.

Day 1A kicked off on Wednesday afternoon and is the first of three starting flights for this year’s main event. The first starting flight is historically the smallest of the flights and this year, there were 1,336 entries on Day 1A. That is about a 44 percent increase from last year’s 925 entries on Day 1A.

At the end of five, two-hour levels, that number was trimmed to 960 with a WSOP bracelet winner leading the pack.

Bryan Campanello, an accomplished poker pro that won the 2013 $2,500 razz event, bagged the Day 1A chip lead after turning his 60,000-chip starting stack into 417,500.

“It was one of those days where every mistake I made still worked out,” said Campanello shortly after bagging his chips for the night. “That hand I was talking about with Sam Chartier there at the end was where I turned a gutshot into a bluff on the flop and turn. And he had a worse gutshot and a flush draw and the river bricked and we checked down and I won with eight-high. Even when I made a mistake and I wasn’t happy with my play, I just managed to win a hand.”

Unlike previous summers where Campanello, a Texas native living in Oklahoma, would travel to Las Vegas and grind tournaments for the entire summer, this summer, he only came out for the main event. Campanello is transitioning from a full-time poker pro to a career as a pilot.

“I’m like a semi-retired professional poker player right now,” said Campanello. “I’m in flight school. I got here on the first and had two days to chill. Play 1A and I mean, if I bust, go home and get back to flying. My flight is scheduled to leave after Day 2. If I make Day 3, I’ll have to push back my flight and I’ll just keep rescheduling.”

2016 main event champ Qui NguyenJoining Campanello at the top of the 1A leaderboard are Timothy Su (297,300), Quentin Roussey (266,400), Takehiro Kato (259,200) and Charidimos Demetrious (252,000).

Other notables to make it through the day include Craig Chait (249,600), Daniel Strelitz (185,300), 2016 main event champion Qui Nguyen (180,500), Jeff Lisandro (180,100), Faraz Jaka (174,100), Alex Foxen (173,200), 2003 champion Chris Moneymaker (95,000) and Igor Kurganov (129,100).

Kurganov made it through the day with more than double his starting stack but ended up busting his girlfriend and fellow poker pro Liv Boeree in the day’s third level. Boeree was short-stacked and moved her last six big blinds into the middle with A-J, but her boyfriend picked up pocket kings behind her. Kurganov’s kings held up and Boeree’s 2019 main event was short-lived.

“I mean, if I’m going to do it in the main event, I did it in a pretty good situation where she was very short,” said Kurganov about the hand.

Boeree tweeted a screenshot of the update with the caption ‘noone’s busting on anything tonight that’s for damn sure.’

“I think [the tweet] was really funny and I think it was worth the bustout, nearly,” said Kurganov. “The amount of hedons created for the world from people just laughing. I think her point was that I cost myself some hedons as well. So, it’s kind of true altruism.”

2003 main event champ Chris MoneymakerIn case you’re not familiar with the terminology he used, a hedon is defined as a unit of pleasure used to theoretically weigh people’s happiness.

Frank Kassela, Jerry Wong, Daniel Alaei, Chris Moorman, Sorel Mizzi and 2004 main event runner-up David Williams were among the notable pros that failed to survive the day’s five levels.

Williams took a brutal beat when he flopped the nut straight against top set and was dead on the turn.

Even after the bad beat he shared on Twitter, Williams didn’t lose his sense of humor.

Check out the full overnight chip counts here.

The main event continues on Thursday with the start of Day 1B at noon.

For more coverage from the summer series, check out the 2019 WSOP landing page, complete with a full schedule, results, news, player interviews, and event recaps.