Welcome back to the 2014 World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event. For the first time ever, the Main Event features a $10 million guaranteed prize for the winner, which also guarantees at least the second-largest prize in the event's history. In 2006, Jamie Gold took home $12 million for his victory in the Main Event, while the biggest payout since then went to Peter Eastgate in 2008 ($9,152,416).
That makes this year's Main Event extra special, and it's been reflected by the numbers thus far. On Saturday, 771 players took to the felt for Day 1a action — down from last year's 943 — but then on Day 1b a robust 2,144 entries showed up, a nice increase from 2013's 1,942; in fact, those numbers put the field on pace to surpass last year's 6,352. To do it, 3,438 players will need to take to the felt here on Day 1c, which is right on par with last year's Day 1c field of 3,467. With both live and online satellite numbers taken into account, expectations are high that today's flight could even draw as many as 4,000 runners, in which case this year's Main Event would the largest in recent years. Only time will tell if that will happen.
Speaking of the first two starting flights, Swedish player Martin Jacobson ended the Day 1a flight as chip leader with 200,100, while Day 1b chip leader Trey Luxemburger bagged up slightly less with 193,450 chips. Other notables who survived the early starting flights and will return on Day 2a/b include Erik Seidel, Vanessa Selbst, Jason Somerville, Chris Moneymaker, Antonion Esfandiari, Annette Obrestad, and defending champ Ryan Riess, just to name a few.
Of course not everyone has been so fortunate. Among those heading back home after facing early eliminations are Steve Gee, Jean-Robert Bellande, David Chiu, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, David "Doc" Sands, Dan Shak, Joe Serock, Paul Volpe, and Chris Moorman. As they say, there's always next year.
While some have already begun their journeys and others have had theirs cut short, today marks the first step for some on the long path to poker immortality. Among those expected to enter Day 1c are 13-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth; 10-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey; "Top Dollar Man" Paul Newey; Denmark's Theo Jorgensen; female chess expert Jennifer Shahade; 2007 Main Event finalist Lee Childs; and last year's last woman standing Jackie Glazier. Of course that is just a small sample of the thousands of players that'll be dispersed throughout the Brasilia, Amazon, and Pavilion Rooms this afternoon.
Players will begin the tournament with 30,000 in tournament chips. Each level in the Main Event lasts 120 minutes, and today they will play five levels with 20-minute breaks after each level aside from a 90-minute dinner break after Level 3. Players will have until the end of the dinner break to register for the tournament, shortly after which time we'll have official entry and prize pool information. The remaining players from the Day 1c field will then resume play at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9.
Cards will be in the air at noon local time, which is a couple of hours from now. Join us then as the PokerNews Live Reporting Team brings you all the hands, chip counts, and updates from the 2014 WSOP Main Event. Stay tuned!