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WSOP: Day 1A of the Main Event

Brandon Adams Leads First Flight

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Tuan Lam Stares Down Jerry Yang in 2007 WSOP Main EventIn recent years, day 1 of the World Series of Poker main event had resembled more of a madhouse or a circus than the most recognizable poker tournament of the year. Despite a grand commencement featuring Wayne Newton, the University of NevadaLas Vegas marching band and a wizard of all things, this year’s Harrah’s-run event did what others had failed to do since the Moneymaker boom. It managed to look like a respectable, well-run, everyday run-of-the-mill poker tournament.

Despite our bests efforts to spot ridiculous sunglasses, over-the-top card protectors and loud, obnoxious, stand-on-your-chair screaming, day 1A of the main event failed to provide the comically out of place characters of year’s past.

As the approximately 1,300 runners took their seats for the five scheduled levels of play, a quiet calm spread out over the floor of the Amazon room. It wasn’t until 20 minutes later that the familiar rapid call of “Seat Open!” hit the air. Even with a starting stack of 200 big blinds, player after player found themselves on the rail with nothing to show for their $10,000 other than an All-In Water bottle and a seat cushion.

Among the notables to be eliminated throughout the day were Tom “durrrr” Dwan, David Benyamine, David Pham, Freddy Deeb, Vanessa Selbst, Dan Harrington, Gavin Smith, Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, Erica Schoenberg, Josh Arieh and last year’s runner-up finisher, Tuan Lam.

Ray RamanoOf course, the WSOP main event has on occasion been able to boast a number of non-poker celebrities from the outside worlds of sports and entertainment. Taking a shot at poker glory were Mekhi Phifer, Ray Ramano, Jason Alexander and Jack Haley.

The first player to hit a royal flush during the tournament received $100 in massages, but the second to boast a royal did so in a particularly cruel way. On a flop of AQ9 both Moto Mabuchi and Justin Phillips checked. The turn was the 10and Mabuchi bet 1,600. Phillips decided to just call and the river was the A. Mabuchi bet 2,500 and Phillips raised to 8,500. It didn’t take long for Mabuchi to move in and Phillips instantly called. Mabuchi proudly turned over his AA for what he thought was the winning hand, but Phillips revealed his KJ for the royal, sending Mabuchi out of the tournament with quite the cooler story.

As the day came to an end, it became clear that Brandon Adams had secured the chip lead, at least amongst the notables, with roughly 200,000. Joining him near the top of the leader board was Stefan Mattsson, David "Chino" Rheem, Jon Turner and Kido Pham.

At around 1:00 a.m. PST, the remaining 640 players began to bag and tag their chips, looking forward to their three days off before returning to blinds of 250-500 with a 50 ante.

Tomorrow at noon will be the second of four starting days, and Card Player will have all the action, chip counts and photos, live from the Rio.