For all of you poker dreamers out there, this is the week you have been waiting for all year: the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event is upon us. And for those of you like me who don’t have $10,000 to probably waste and didn’t win a satellite, now is the time to live vicariously through someone you won’t even know existed until several days from now.
The Main Event began Monday, the first of three starting flights, as has been the setup for a number of years now. 925 played in Day 1A (659 survived), which is a great number for an initial flight. Last year’s Day 1A saw 795 players enter, which was the largest Day 1A field since 2013, when 943 players registered.
A total of 7,221 entered last year’s Main Event, so while it seems like there is as long way to go to match that number, remember that Day 1A is always the smallest. Day 1B will be larger, but not amazingly big for a Main Event. It will be Day 1C that is the monster flight. The reason for this is simply timing. People who make it all the way through Day 1A have to wait until Thursday to play in Day 2A. That is two extra days paying for a hotel room, rental car, and meals, plus more days off for those with regular jobs. Many players also prefer not to have that long of a layoff just for the mental/momentum aspect of the tournament – they want to get back to the action.
Tuesday’s Day 1B will begin at 11:00am local time, just like Day 1A. Survivors from today will also play on Thursday, but will have their own Day 2 flight, separate from Day 2A.
The honor of the being the first day-end chip leader of the 2018 WSOP Main Event goes to Timothy Lau, who bagged 338,700 chips (everyone began with 50,000). As expected, sightings of “big names” near the top of the leaderboard are few and far between partially because of the size of the field and partially because most of the name players probably aren’t starting until Wednesday.
Pack a Lunch?
Those of you who are still planning to play today or tomorrow should note that there are changes to the daily schedule compared to last year. Dinner breaks are now only 60 minutes, so you won’t have much time to walk the length of the casino and wait in a long line for something to eat. The time of that meal break also varies depending on the day. On Monday, it was at 3:25pm, whereas on Tuesday, it will be at 7:35pm and then back to 3:25pm Wednesday.
The reason for the wonky meal break schedule and shortened dinner is because of the expanded live broadcast coverage of the Main Event. ESPN and Poker Central’s PokerGO subscription streaming service are splitting the duties again this year. On Day 1B, for example, ESPN2 will air coverage from 4:00pm to 8:00pm Pacific time, while PokerGO will pick it up from 9:00pm to 11:30pm.
The defending Main Event champ is the affable Scott Blumstein, who will not be repeating, as he busted after the dinner break on Day 1A.