The £10,000 Main Event at the WSOPE is now well underway and what was already building into something special has now really culminated in a carnival in the heart of London. Doyle Brunson was given the microphone to utter those immortal words "Shuffle up and Deal" to a rapturous applause.
Triple bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro was honoured with his Player of the Year award, which was topped off with an impressive three free entries into future WSOP main events worth $30,000. Jani Vilmunen of Finland was also honoured with his bracelet in the £5000 PLO event from the previous day.
But stealing the show was always going to be the 'Hellmuth Entrance' which saw the 11 time bracelet winner arrive late dressed as a Roman Gladiator (Way to embrace the local culture Phil), brought in on a horse drawn carriage and joined by muscle bound soldiers and a small army of pretty girls. A large crowd gathered to watch this spectacle outside of the Empire Casino, although this was perhaps the busiest street in London on the busiest time of the week at the busiest time of the day; there was a slight feeling that half the crowd had no idea what was going on. (Hellmuth himself was later to be upstaged by the sight of 800 people in Gorilla suits doing a charity fun run in the capital)
Numbers have been up around 35% thus far at the WSOPE but with 156 runners in day 1A of this event, there will have to be some catching up to do to match the 362 runners from both 2008 and 2007. But we all have learnt from the day 1D fiasco earlier this year that poker players are not always the most tardy of people and no doubt there will be a much bigger field for day 1B today.
79 of the 156 will be returning for day 2 on Monday, Hellmuth was amongst the notables to have survived day 1A, but with a short stack. Brian Powell and Jason Mercier are the two big stacks of the day, as is Sami 'Larsluzak' Kelopuro. Joe Beevers and John Kabbaj are two big stacks flying the flag for Britain, with Laurence Houghton and James Akenhead also chipped up. Doyle Brunson and Brandon Cantu are two other big overseas names of note with big stacks.
Top Ten Chip Counts Day 1A
Brian Powell 194,600
Jason Mercier 189,725
Sami Kelopuro 168,925
Viktor Blom 163,175
Jonathan Aguiar 160,100
Martin Hansen 152,775
Christian Harder 134,125
Tommy Pavlicek 119,825
Richard Grace 116,850
John Kabbaj 104,500
Check out our Live Updates from Noon today to find out all the action from day 1B.