Day 1C of the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event was definitely one for the record books, but it was also one of the strangest days in the 50-year history of the event. As more and more players piled into the Rio, two were escorted out by police and then Mother Nature had her say as well, as an earthquake shook Las Vegas and disrupted the tournament in an unprecedented way.
Starting Flight Record Broken, Overall Record Close
Last summer, 4,571 players made Day 1C of the 2018 Main Event the largest starting flight in the history of the WSOP. That record fell on Friday, as 4,879 players joined the Main Event. That group, combined with the 3,250 players from Day 1A and 1B, makes this year’s event the second largest Main Event of all-time, with registration open until the start of Day 2C on Sunday.
Earthquake Shakes Up Day 1C
At 8:19 PM PT, Las Vegas was shaken by an earthquake that caused tournament officials to pause the tournament clock and send players on an early dinner break to assess any possible damage to the building. The 7.1 magnitude earthquake was centered in Ridgecrest, California and is the second one in 48 hours.
In the moments after the quake hit, some players left their tables to find safety either in the hallways our outside of the Rio. Andy Frankenberger chose to leave the room he was in while in the middle of a hand only.
EARTHQUAKE BAD BEAT: I call a raise in the SB with 66. *EARTHQUAKE*. I run out with 100-200 others. Eventually they open the doors & I go back in to see hand still in progress. My hand dead. A65dd. Guy had 555. I would have doubled (player looked at my hand (!?!) & confirmed)
— Andy Frankenberger (@AMFrankenberger) July 6, 2019
There were reports from some players of damage inside the tournament area, most of which seemed to be small debris falling from the ceiling. In one case, part of a light fixture came down.
Part of chandelier fell on my table in Brasilia pic.twitter.com/CukrOn7Z2T
— Bart O’Connell (@BartOConnell) July 6, 2019
“Never felt anything like it being my first earthquake experience,” Ronnie Bardah, a WSOP gold bracelet winner, told PocketFives. “Felt like I was out at sea but instead in the middle of the Main Event at the Rio. Felt like my life was out of my control for a few seconds. Not to sound dramatic, but whoa. Made sure to get away from under the moving stuff hanging up above. Day 1c of the 2019 WSOP Main Event will never be forgotten.”
Play resumed after an 80-minute break and carried on for another two hours and 40 minutes before ending for the day.
James Henson Bags Lead, Mike McDonald Second
Just three players managed to get through the five levels of play with more than 300,000 chips. James Henson finished with 316,100 to end up on top of the 3,664 Day 1C survivors. The player right behind caused a lot of pain for his opponents on Friday, but if he goes on to win the Main Event, he could cause a lot more pain for other top pros.
Mike McDonald finished Day 1C with the second biggest stack at 306,300. The Canadian poker pro booked himself against a lot of other top players and stands to win an additional seven figures in side action. Right behind McDonald is Joshua Ray with 304,200.
Easy Come, Easy Go for Phil Ivey
Phil Ivey’s 2019 WSOP Main Event run didn’t last long. The 10-time bracelet winner was eliminated in the first level of play on Friday. Ivey got the last of his chips in on a flop of holding against his opponent’s top two pair. The turn and river were bricks, eliminating Ivey.
Two Players Disqualified in Different Manners
Ivey was eliminated in the traditional way, but two other players found very different ways to have their Main Event end. Georgii Belianin was the first of the two to be removed from the tournament. The Russian poker pro was disqualified moving another player’s stack into his own. The second involved a player exposing himself to the table and throwing a shoe at his opponent and the dealer.
Kevin Martin Bags Up 220,600
The list of players who bagged and tagged on Day 1C includes the usual list of big names. Partypoker Team Pro Kevin Martin finished with 220,600 for a top 50 stack. Coming off of winning his third bracelet, Nick Schulman ended with 141,200.
Peter Traply, who recently overtook Chris Moorman for the all-time online tournament earnings lead, also made it to Day 2C with 128,500.
Other notables moving on include Dzmitry Urbanovich (196,900), Maurice Hawkins (183,600) Chino Rheem (170,900), Andrew Lichtenberger (141,200), Ali Imsirovic (102,500), Danielle Andersen (102,300), and Maria Konnikova (100,900).
End of the Road for More than a Few Familiar Faces
Joe Cada won’t be making a return to the Main Event final table this year. After finishing fifth last year, Cada couldn’t make it through the opening day and was one of the more notable eliminations. He was joined by Dietrich Fast, William Kassouf, Martin Jacobson, Doug Polk, and Shaun Deeb, Jason Koon on the outside looking in.
PokerStars Players Championship winner Ramon Colillas wasn’t able to recreate the magic on Friday and was eliminated. Mike Leah, who skipped most of the WSOP after the birth of his first child, had a short-lived return on Friday and was one of the 1,225 players eliminated.
Former #1s Represent Well
Chris Hunichen, Calvin Anderson and Christopher Brammer all finished with stacks well above average. Hunichen leads the way with 181,000 but Anderson isn’t far behind with 178,100. Brammer ended with 169,200.
They weren’t the only former #1-ranked PocketFivers who ended Friday on the good side. Cliff Josephy (111,500), Tim West (49,600), and Fedor Holz (35,900) also moved onto Day 2C.
Top 10 Chip Counts
- James Henson – 316,100
- Mike McDonald – 306,300
- Joshua Ray – 304,200
- Robert Kokoska – 285,000
- Mohamed Mamouni – 284,000
- Barry Donovan – 280,100
- Robert Layne – 280,000
- Dylan Meier – 277,700
- Yervand Boyadjian – 277,400
- Tom Cannuli – 275,000