The chip bags are out on the tables, and that must mean that, like the stacks of the survivors, Day 1 is likewise in the bag.
A field of 268 turned up for today's Championship Event, just about the same size as last year's field. Last year's champion, John Kabbaj was in the house to try and defend his bracelet, seated with the 2008 champion Nenad Medic. Neither of the previous two champs would survive this opening day, though, and their names are just two on a laundry list of notable eliminations.
Tom Dwan came and went quickly, as did Eric Froehlich, Vanessa Rousso, Chino Rheem, Freddy Deeb, Erick Lindgren, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, and too many other notable notables to name here.
Steve O'Dwyer managed to build himself a big stack early on before a couple cases of bad timing put him out the door midway through the day. The last beneficiary of O'Dwyer's downward trend was Tom Marchese when his pocket kings held against O'Dwyer's ace-king to steal all of his chips and secure the overall lead in the room. Marchese with chips is a dangerous thing, and he oppressed his table mates for the remaining few levels of the night. He ended the day with a commanding lead over the field, and Marchese's finishing count of 334,600 should be safe for a while tomorrow too.
We've got just less than half of our starting field still alive at the end of eight levels, and they'll be back here tomorrow to play down toward the final table. Marchese will be here defending his chip fortress, and faces the likes of Sirous Jamshidi, Dan Smith, Dani Stern, John Duthie, and Martin Kabrhel will be up there challenging for the top spot when the cards go flying. We've still got a stacked field left, and tomorrow figures to be an exciting day of cards.
Day 2 gets rolling at 3:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, and we'll be right back here to catch every pot and re-pot on the way to the final table. We hope you'll join us back here in about twelve hours, but until then, we wish you a very good night from the Rio.