The big board was showing 123 had entered by the time play concluded at nearly 3 a.m., with late registration continuing until they kick off today. I’d say of that field there were perhaps only a half-dozen or so players in the entire tourney whom none of us recognized.
All of the usual suspects were there, of course. I don’t even have to name them, as most anyone reading this blog knows who they are. But when the day was done, I found myself thinking primarily about one in particular, Doyle Brunson (pic via PokerNews).
Event No. 55 marked Brunson’s first event this summer. He’s scaled back his participation at the WSOP considerably over the last couple of years, only playing a half-dozen prelims a couple of years ago (plus the Main), then last year playing in just three events prior to the ME, including the $50K PPC.
Brunson turns 80 in a little over a month, which means he probably has at least a couple of decades on the next oldest player in the field. I’m guessing Konstantin Puchkov (born in 1952) might be the nearest in age to Brunson among those playing the event. Meanwhile, Brunson is more than a half-century older than a lot of the field, yet to reach their 30s.
Early in the day Josh posted about Brunson having tweeted about his numerous side bets for the event. He reported having made 28 different bets on himself in this one, including bets on him cashing, final tabling, and winning. If he were to win the event, he says, he’d earn an extra $800K on top of whatever the first prize turns out to be (probably $1.7 million or so). If he doesn’t, it’ll cost him between $80K and $140K, he says.
Brunson had a good first day, chipping up all night and building a starting stack of 150,000 up to 232,000 by bagging time, good enough to sneak inside the top 15. It’s a long event -- five days -- and still a long way until it gets down to 16 or so and the money. But Tex Dolly is off to a good start.
I reported just one small hand of stud he played with Jennifer Harman, sitting to his left, thinking as I did about the “Big Game” in Bobby’s Room and how those two had played many stud hands over the years.
While I tend not to pull for anyone in events I cover, it’s difficult not to want to see Brunson continue to accumulate and advance. I got the sense yesterday a lot of his opponents feel similarly, even if they’re trying their hardest to get his chips in order to help their own causes.
Back at it in a little while. No rest for the weary. Then again, seeing Brunson continue on down a road much, much longer than the ones most of us have journeyed tends to inspire one more than a little to press forward.
As always, head over to PokerNews to follow along.