The World Poker Tour’s final event of 2022 began Monday, as the WPT World Championship kicked off with the first of three starting flights. It promises to be a big one, as Day 1A already saw 615 $10,400 entries. It makes sense, too, as the guaranteed prize pool is $15 million, the largest ever for a live poker tournament.

Now, “entries” does not necessarily mean “players,” as re-entries are allowed. Unlike many re-entry tournaments we have seen over the years, though, players are only permitted one re-entry per flight. Plus, if a player makes it through to Day 2, that’s it, they cannot try to build a better stack in a subsequent starting day. Thus, hopefully the 235 players who made it through Monday are satisfied with their stacks, as that’s what they are taking into Day 2.

Justin Bonomo is the chip leader after Day 1A, bagging 1.011 million chips; he is the only player to top the million-chip mark. To say that Bonomo is used to sitting atop leaderboards in high-dollar tournaments is an understatement. He ranks number one on the all-time money list with over $58.8 million in recorded live tournament earnings, just ahead of Bryn Kenney, who has about $57.2 million.

Even when only counting open events, he is still tops, with $49.8 million in earnings. He does drop a few spots to fifth if we count just open events and exclude ultra high roller events, those tournaments with buy-ins over $50,000. It is exceedingly rare to see Bonomo play in a tournament with less than a five-figure buy-in. His biggest cash came in 2018 when he won the million-dollar-buy-in Big One for One Drop at the World Series of Poker for $10 million.

Day 1B is just getting underway at the Wynn Las Vegas, as a new batch of players, plus any from Day 1A who didn’t make it to Day 2 and want to pony up another $10,400 entry, chase a piece of that $15 million prize pool. They will play through ten 60-minute levels and enjoy a few 15-minute breaks and 90 minutes for dinner.

Just minutes into the second starting flight, there are already 585 players registered, and with registration open until the start of Level 7 plus the single re-entry, we would expect Day 1A’s player total to be eclipsed fairly easily.

Day 1C will look the same as the first two flights and likely the largest of the three, unless most players decided to shoot their shots early to give themselves more opportunities to try again.

2022 WPT World Championship – Day 1A Chip Leaders

  1. Justin Bonomo – 1,011,000
  2. Joseph Couden – 935,000
  3. Steven McKuin – 895,000
  4. Roberto Romanello – 725,000
  5. Dominic Brazier – 714,000
  6. Adam Hendrix – 658,000
  7. Mike Jozoff – 641,000
  8. John Merchant – 629,000
  9. Griffin Paul – 625,000
  10. James Romero – 600,000

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