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WSOP 2009

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Event #57, $10,000 Main Event, End of Day 1C Report

World Series of Poker Main Event
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $10,000
Number of Entries: TBA
(Day 1-A – 1,116)
(Day 1-B – 873)
(Day 1-C – 1,696)
Total Net Prize Pool: TBA
Number of Places Paid: TBA
First Place Prize: TBA
July 3--November 10, 2009

Day 1-C Headlines

  1. World Series of Poker Breaks Billion-Dollar Barrier: World’s Richest and Most Prestigious Poker Tournament Awards More than $1 Billion in 40-Year History
  2. Being Perfectly Frank: Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) Addresses Huge WSOP Crowd and Rallies Support for Poker Player Rights
  3. Shuffle-Up and Deal: 2009 World Series of Poker Continues
  4. Joseph, Cada (Shelby Township, MI) is the Chip Leader at End of Day 1-C
  5. Third of Four WSOP Main Event Starting Days Now Complete


The Main Event Begins

The Main Event continued with the opening festivities for Day 1-C. WSOP President and Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack welcomed Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) to the stage, who has been a devoted champion of protecting the rights of poker players. Rep. Frank received a warm reception from the capacity crowd packed inside the Amazon Room. He stated that he will continue to fight for the protection of individual freedoms and for Americans’ rights to play poker. Rep. Frank also stated his strict opposition to the federal government interfering in what he calls “personal decisions about how citizens spend their time and money.” Finally, Rep. Frank urged all players and poker fans to contact their representatives in congress directly and tell them to support legislation which allows Americans the freedom to play poker.

Rep. Frank is the fifth major political figure to visit the World Series of Poker in recent years. Three years ago, Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) gave a short speech to poker players in the Main Event. Last year, former Senator Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY) addressed the large crowd during the start of the series. Three weeks ago, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) did a “Shuffle-Up and Deal” announcement. Last week, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) attended the WSOP for the first time.

Any player dealt four jacks in this year’s Main Event receives a special prize from Jack Link’s Beef Jerky valued at $100. So far, ten packages have been given away (through three days).

This is the fourth consecutive year that the WSOP has been guided by Tournament Director Jack Effel. After being initially assigned as Assistant Tournament Director in 2005, he assumed the top floor position in 2006 and has now overseen operations for the four largest poker tournaments in history.

Play on Day 1-C began on July 5, 2009 at 12:10 pm.


Play on Day 1-C

Day 1-C attracted 1,696 entries. Previous days attracted 1,116 and 873 players. This means 3,685 players have now played in the Main Event, with Day 1-D still to come.

The combined field size of the Main Event is/was so large that four starting days have become necessary in recent years – 1-A (July 3rd), 1-B (July 4th), 1-C (July 5th), and 1-D (July 6th). Four starting days have been in effect since 2006.

Former world champions who played on Day 1-C included – Tom McEvoy (1983), Phil Hellmuth (1989), Dan Harrington (1995), Scotty Nguyen (1998), Joe Hachem (2005), and Jamie Gold (2006). Hellmuth, Harrington, Nguyen, and Hachem will return for Day Two. Tom McEvoy and Jamie Gold did not survive.

Notable celebrities who played on Day 1-C included Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver, a former world champion boxer in the Light Heavyweight class. This marked Tarver’s fourth straight year to play in the WSOP Main Event. Tarver was seated at a brutally tough starting table, which included longtime poker pros Scotty Nguyen, Lee Watkinson, and Don Zewin. He survived most of the day but went out late. Tarver stated afterward:

It was a tough table, for sure. I couldn’t catch up. Anytime I had something, the flop would disagree with me, or they would draw out on me. It was just one of those days. But I really enjoyed it, the camaraderie of poker players. It’s a good fraternity. There were a lot of great poker players but it just wasn’t my night tonight.

1989 world champion and 11-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth made another grand entrance into the Main Event. Last year, Hellmuth came adorned as WW2 General George S. Patton. He rolled into the Rio parking lot atop an army tank. This year, the media-shy “Poker Brat” was carted into the Rio while sprawled out across a special platform carried by several centurions. Hellmuth, decked out in full regalia as Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, made his way into the Rio as flocks of scantily-clad “servants” threw rose petals on the ground, in preparation for “Caesar’s” grand entrance. Hellmuth graced the hallways, waving to hundreds of star-crazed worshipers and bewildered bystanders in a media-orchestrated event more reminiscent of a Howard Stern stunt, than a championship poker tournament. When Hellmuth finally assumed his throne on the ESPN stage, hundreds of poker fans completely engulfed the area in what was unquestionably the most bizarre and entertaining entrance ever in WSOP history. What follows is a short interview with Hellmuth, conducted about 30 minutes after his grand arrival:

Question: Last year it was Patton. This year, it’s Caesar. Why Caesar?
Hellmuth: We are just having as much fun as we can have. Caesar was one of the ideas on our list. We actually talked about me being a gladiator or Caesar, and even Uncle Sam was an idea we wanted to do. We just decided on Caesar. You know that Caesar is going to be the main theme at WSOP-Europe. When you do Caesar, you want to do him big and you want to do him right.
Question: How did you think things went today – with your grand entrance on the red carpet? And how many girls were with you?
Hellmuth: I thought it went great. They hired a hundred models is what I heard. And, having the girls with the body paint is just really fun. I mean, c’mon, how often do you see girls with just body paint on?
Question: What do you think about when you see hundreds of fans, with cameras and lights following your every move?
Hellmuth: Part of it is adoration. Part of it is curiosity. And some people still don’t like me. So, there is surely a mixture of people that are out there. If you are too into the fans and adoration and the world thinking you are the greatest, then you do not perform well. So, being in character as Caesar is just fun. When I shot a television commercial and dressed up in this, I got so into character, I really thought I was Caesar. They have me lying there, with girls all over me and rose petals and food all over the table. Caesar is just such a unique individual. Here we are talking about him over 2,000 years later.
Question: Are they going to be talking about Phil Hellmuth 2,000 years from now?
Hellmuth: I don’t think so. Maybe a hundred years from now, yes. I need to put some more records up. The more records you put up, the longer they talk about you.
Question: Do you think this entrance was about fame or infamy?
Hellmuth: Both. It’s both. I think the majority of the world thinks this is pretty cool and fun. But there are some that say that it’s not right, the Phil Hellmuth is too self-promoting. But I think this is great for the sport of poker. It’s great for the World Series of Poker. And, it’s great for me.
Question: Phil, you played extraordinarily well last year. But you busted out in disappointing fashion. What are your expectations for this year?
Hellmuth: I happen to be playing the best poker of my life. Right now. Today. I might make the final table. I don’t care what the mathematicians say. The field is too big, or whatever. I might make the final table. When I make this entrance, it really gets to me. But when I sit down, it’s a different game. I have to be Phil Hellmuth and I have to win.
Question: So, will Phil Hellmuth’s grand entrance at the WSOP be a recurring spectacle every year from now on?
Hellmuth: Absolutely. Next year, my plan is to be Gambit (a fictional character from X-Men). If not Gambit, we will come up with something else. Maybe it will be Uncle Sam. We’ll see.

Dennis Phillips, who finished third in last year’s WSOP Main Event, also made a grand entrance. He arrived in the Amazon Room with about 40 supporters who were adorned in the unofficial uniform of “Team Phillips.” His entourage arrived dressed in blue jeans, white oxford button-down shirts with logos, and St. Louis Cardinals baseball caps. The crowd stayed most of the day, cheering Phillips when he won a big hand. He finished in the middle of that pack (258th) which is about where he was last year at the end of Day 1 in his starting group.

Players played for five complete levels. Play ended at 12:40 am. Day 1-D will also be comprised of five levels. The survivors will play four levels on Day 2, which will then line up the time clocks of both fields for the start of Day 3.

Players started the tournament with 30,000 in chips. This is the first year players were given triple the number of starting chips. By contrast, the WSOP Main Event from 1971 through 2005 gave players 10,000 in starting chips. Years 2006-2008 gave players double the customary starting stack (20,000).

Day 1-C ended with 1,106 players. This means 58 percent of starters survived the first day.

Players who survived Day 1-B will return to continue their quest for the 2009 world poker championship on July 8th, at 12 noon. They will merge with the survivors of Day 1-D (to be played tomorrow).

By coincidence, five of the “November Nine” players from last year’s Main Event final table started play on this day. Kelly Kim is currently doing best of the group, since he finished in 8th place out of the Day 1-C group. Dennis Phillips and Ylon Schwartz also survived.

The WSOP has hundreds of compelling stories. Every player who makes the journey to Las Vegas comes with hopes and aspirations. Perhaps no player, nor story, is quite as compelling as that of 55-year-old Kent Senter, from Cape May, NJ. He is married and is the father of four children. Senter worked at Lowe’s until recently, when he was diagnosed with a fatal disease called Multiple Myleoma. Senter was told he has only six months to live. Senter’s wife, Patty, knew that his dream was to play in the WSOP. She arranged to have him play in the Main Event and for the first time ever, Kent Senter took his seat amidst thousands of other hopefuls. Once Senter’s inspirational story became known to the media, he was the center of attention during much of the day. Now that Senter’s dream to enter and compete in the WSOP has come true, but will continue to be a player to watch in the days ahead. Senter ended Day 1-C with 50,0125 in chips, which is above average.

Play on Day Two ended at 12:40 am.


Day 1-B Chip Leaders

The chip leader (from Day 1-C) is Joseph Cada, from Shelby Township, MI. In fact, he is now the overall Main Event chip leader.

Ranked second in chips is Tyler Patterson, from Everett, WA.

The highest-ranked former WSOP gold bracelet winner from Day 1-C is Jeffrey Lisandro, from Salerno, Italy, who is sixth in this huge field. He has enjoyed a phenomenal WSOP. Lisandro became only the fifth player in history to win three gold bracelets within a single year. He also currently sits atop the leader board in the 2009 WSOP “Player of the Year” race. Lisandro’s phenomenal run continued today as he ended up with 146,950, which is sixth overall in the Main Event.


Day 1-A / 1-B / 1-C Combined Notes

Former world champions still alive in the Main Event include:

Notable non-pro celebrities still alive in the Main Event include:

Day 1-A ended with 823 players – which is 73 percent of starters. Day 1-B ended with 655 players, which is 75 percent of the field. Day 1-C ended with 1,106 players, which is 58 percent of the field. The combined numbers translate into 1,478 players for Day 2-A, and 655 players for 2-B (with more still to come) which represents 63 percent of the overall starters surviving the first day.

Based on the combined results of Day 1-A, 1-B, and 1-C the Top Ten chip leaders going into Day 2 are:.

  1. Joseph Cada Shelby Township, MI USA
  2. Tyler Patterson Everett, WA USA
  3. Sebastian Stier Heidelberg Germany
  4. Chance Komuth Denver, CO USA
  5. Ariel Schneller Blacksburg, VA USA
  6. Jeffrey Lisandro Salerno Italy
  7. Brandon Demes Tempe, AZ USA
  8. Redmond Lee London UK
  9. Timothy Little San Antonio, TX USA
  10. Kelly Kim Whittier, CA USA

Three of the top ten overall chip leaders are non-Americans.


Odds and Ends

World Series of Poker has now crossed the $1,000,000,000 threshold in total prize money awarded to players. During its 40-year history, the WSOP has paid out more than $1 billion. This figure was surpassed during this year’s Main Event. Incredibly, more than $500,000 has been paid out just in the last five years alone, since Harrah’s Entertainment assumed control of the tournament. Here is the historical prize pool information for the World Series of Poker.

2009 – TBD
2008 - $180, 774,427
2007 - $159,796,918
2006 - $159,599,815
1970-2005 - $354,000,000

This is the 57th and final event on the 2009 WSOP schedule which is played in Las Vegas. Four more gold bracelet events will take place in London, England at the Empire Casino, to be held from September 19th through October 1st.

This marks the fifth consecutive year the WSOP has been held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Prior to 2005, the WSOP was held at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. More money has been awarded to winners within the Rio during the past five years than during the entire proceeding 35-year period at the Horseshoe. This is a testament to the expansion of the WSOP since Harrah’s Entertainment assumed ownership and control of the world most prestigious poker event.

Based on WSOP figures during the mega-era (2003 to present), the Day One chip leader has a slightly less than even chance of cashing in the Main Event. Since 2003, there have been 19 Day One chip leaders. The number of chip leaders is higher than number of years, due to multiple starting days. Of the 19 Day One chip leaders during this period, only nine finished in the money (47 percent). Ten players were eliminated out of the money.

Based on WSOP figures during the mega-era (2003 to present), the 9/19 Day One chip leaders who cashed finished as follows:

2003 – Barry Greenstein finished 49th
2004 – Chuck Agnew finished 82nd
2005 – Lee Watkinson finished 45th
2005 – Sammy Farha finished 316th
2007 – Josh Evans finished 76th
2007 – Tinten Olivier finished 223rd
2007 – Jeff Norman finished 500th
2008 – Steve Austin finished 552nd
2008 – Henning Granstad finished 553rd

(The average place of finish for those who cashed is 226th place)

The eventual WSOP champions and their chip positions at the conclusion of Day One were:

2003 – Chris Moneymaker, 60,475 in chips (ranked 11th)*
2004 – Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, 74,400 in chips (ranked 7th)
2005 – Joe Hachem, 67,350 in chips (not in top 25)
2006 – Jamie Gold, 100,125 in chips (ranked 23rd)
2007 – Jerry Yang, 99,700 in chips (not in top 25)
2008 – Peter Eastgate, 62,325 (not in top 25)

*NOTE: 2003-2005 started with 10,000 in chips. 2006-2008 started with 20,000 in chips. 2009 starts with 30,000 in chips.

The most dominant Day One Main Event performance in history was by three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner John Bonetti, who passed away two years ago. Bonetti finished the first day of the 1993 Main Event with 500,000 in chips (the figure is an estimate, since there was no Internet coverage, nor accurate records from that year). Since there were 231 players registered, he had a staggering 22 percent of the total chips in play. Bonetti went on to finished third that year.

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