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Best of Ryan McLane
After four days of intense play, the first round of the world's most prestigious poker tournament is complete with 3,200 players still vying to become the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion.
The story so far from the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Vegas is the strong play of defending champions Joe Hachem (2005) and Greg "Fossilman" Raymer (2004).
At one time, professionals and amateurs alike wondered aloud whether these two might be one-hit wonders. Now, their lasting power in some of the biggest poker tournaments ever played is changing opinions.
With two final able appearances and three cashes already in 2006, Hachem has an above-average stack in the Main Event after the completion of the "Day Ones." Likewise, Raymer, who finished 25th in last year's Main Event, is in an above average stack position after nearly busting early in the tournament.
Both players will seek to add to their big tournament reputations tomorrow (Aug. 2, 12 p.m. PST) when play begins again for Day 1-C and Day 1-D survivors. Remaining players from Day 1-A and Day 1-B, a 1,600 player field that includes a variety of big names an unknown amateurs alike, will compete again today (Aug. 1).
Each Day 2 event will continue until WSOP officials are able to narrow the field down to 700 players. Beginning on Friday, the field will finally combine into one large group, with the tournament continually condensing until the winner is crowned on Aug. 10.
All Hail the Big Stack
In the history of WSOP Main Events, being the chip leader after the first day barely ensures making the final table, never mind winning the whole thing. However, with more than 50,000 chips than his nearest competitor and twice as many chips as the Day 1-A leader, Hossein Tagh Avi, who has 229,125 chips, is in a great position to go deep despite being an unknown face. In a survey of the Internet's largest tournament poker databases, Avi's name did not appear once, however, with the size of his stack going into Day 2 play, that may not be the case for much longer.
Notable Names Still in the Hunt
Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Allen Cunningham, Robert Varkonyi, Ted Forrest, Freddy Deeb, Kathy Leibert, Huck Seed, Charlie Sewell, Layne Flack, David Chiu, David Grey, Jeff Madsen, Hoyt Corkins, Mike Caro, Carlos Mortensen, John Juanda
Notable Main Event Busts
Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, Howard Lederer, Dan Harrington, Gus Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Mike Matasow, TJ Cloutier, Bobby Baldwin, Chip Reese, Erik Seidel, Chris Moneymaker, Juha Helppi, Lee Watkinson, Tony G., Clonie Gowen, Sam Farha, Phil Gordon, Tuan Le, Jeff and Barry Schulman, Steve Danneman, Hasan Habib, Liz Leui, Antonio Esfandari, Marcel Luske, Patrik Antonius, and more…
Notable Celebrity Busts
Jennifer Tilly, Lennox Lewis (Heavy Weight Boxing Champ), Tobey Maguire (Spider Man), Shannon Elizabeth (Nadia – American Pie), Ron Jeremy (Porn Star)