Welcome back to PokerNews' live coverage of the 2011 World Series of Poker. Yesterday saw the start of the greatest tournament on the planet, the WSOP Main Event. A total of 897 players came out for Day 1a and you can expect another 1,100-1,200 players to be out in action today for Day 1b.
Last year, 1,489 players played on the second starting day, which was an increase of about 400 players over 2010's Day 1a. With numbers from the Main Event down a little bit so far, we should expect an increase from yesterday of about 200-300 players. Of course, the more the merrier, so we're hoping our estimates come up short.
At the end of the night yesterday, Fred Berger was the man bagging up the most chips — or biscuits as we like to call them. Berger stuffed a whopping 209,500 biscuits in his bag at the end of the night — nearly a 600% increase on the starting stack of 30,000. Berger may not be a household name in the poker world, but he has plenty of results to highlight.
Berger's biggest claim to fame in poker comes from a WSOP gold bracelet win in 2002. That year, Berger defeated Chris Ferguson heads up in the $3,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em event to win the bracelet and $197,400. Also at the final table were Tom Schneider, An Tran, Tony Cousineau and Dennis Waterman. That gold bracelet isn't his only piece of WSOP jewelry. In May 2010, Berger won the $5,000 Championship Event at the WSOP Circuit Harrah's New Orleans stop. For that win, Berger earned a Circuit gold ring and the largest payday of his career worth $197,584.
Let's take a look at the top of the leader board after Day 1a.
Day 1a Top Five Stacks
Other notable stacks include Sebastian Ruthenberg (117,000), Olivier Busquet (98,975), Fatima Moreira De Melo (91,500), Soi Nguyen (87,325), Lex Veldhuis (82,350), Chris Bjorin (73,575), Annette Obrestad (68,125), Josh Brikis (68,025), Jason Alexander (63,150), Isaac Baron (50,650) and James Dempsey (48,750). You can view the full end-of-day chip count list of all 560 players that advanced from Day 1a here.
Day 1b is set to kick off later today at 12:00 PM PT here at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The atmosphere is buzzing with the Main Event upon us and you can expect another great day of poker action to go down. Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for all the live updates, videos and photos you can handle. In the meantime, check out the July 8th update from "The Poker Ninja" herself, our very own Kristy Arnett.