WSOP Main Event Day 1C: Hellmuth Enters as Thor, Matusow Out with Injury, Bad Beat Clips Negreanu

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If we learned anything from Day 1 of the world’s most prestigious poker tournament, it became abundantly clear (if it wasn’t already) that poker is anything but dying. Nearly every table inside the Rio convention center was in use on Wednesday for the largest single-day flight in WSOP history, making the 2018 Main Event the second largest ever.

Phil Hellmuth 2018 WSOP
Phil Hellmuth dressed as Marvel Comics character “Thor” as he entered the Rio with a bevy of Wonder Women to take his seat in the 2018 WSOP Main Event. (Image: CardsChat News)

With 7,784 entries, the 2018 Main Event is the second largest in history behind 2006 (8,773), the year Jamie Gold won $12 million.

This year’s winner will have to settle for $8.8 million, barely enough for a down payment on a private jet. Although we don’t know who that individual will be, we know it won’t be Mike Matusow, who announced on Twitter an unfortunate injury has ended his 2018 WSOP.

Poker Brat Pomp and Circumstance (Video)

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny Phil Hellmuth’s originality. Flanked by 14 models and dressed in costume as “Thor” from Marvel Comics fame, the Poker Brat made a grand entrance into the Amazon room at the Rio on WSOP Main Event Day 1C, the largest Main Event starting day in history (4,571 players).

Hellmuth has been known to arrive in costume on Day One of the Main Event since 2007, the year he dressed as an Ultimate Bet race car driver and crashed the car in the Rio parking lot on the way in.

In 2009, perhaps his most famous entrance, he strutted down the Rio hallway dressed as Julius Caesar. This year, he chose to wear a “Thor” costume and to be escorted to his seat in the Amazon room by 14 Amazonian “Wonder Woman” models.

Some poker fans on social media loved the antics while others said it’s “bad for poker” and suggested Hellmuth’s act has gotten old. But the shenanigans clearly didn’t prevent him from focusing on his game. The 1989 Main Event champion finished Day One with 63,700 chips and will have more than 100 big blinds when Day 2C begins on Friday.

Not Kid Poker’s Day

Seated at the ESPN feature table, poker fans got to witness a frustrating day for one of the greatest players in history. Still, Daniel Negreanu was more than happy to sign autographs and take selfies with fans on the rail throughout the session.

But he never was able to build up a large stack and was put out of his misery with two hours remaining on Day One when Alessio Isaia scooped his remaining 18,000 chips on a bad beat.

After Davidi Kitai opened for 1,125 from middle position, Kid Poker moved all-in with J♠J♦ and got called by Isaia, who was holding 10♦10♥, while the original raiser folded.

The board ran out 2♣10♣K♠2♦Q♦, giving Isaia a boat and Negreanu an empty stack. It’s been a rough series for Daniel, who only has three cashes at the WSOP after finishing 2nd in the Super High Roller Bowl for $3 million in May.

Notable Names Bagging Chips

While stars such as Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, John Racener, and Chris Moneymaker busted on Wednesday, the $8.8 million dream is still alive for many Day 1C heavy hitters, including four past champions (Hellmuth, Martin Jacobson, Jonathan Duhamel, and Joe Cada).

Phil Ivey also bagged chips at the end of Day One, although he dropped a bit after quickly running his stack up to over 120,000, but still ended with a comfortable stack (92,300).

Ivey, like Negreanu, has struggled to cash at the 2018 WSOP. The 10-time bracelet winner who made his return to tournament poker earlier this year only has three cashes this summer. Many poker fans worried Phil might skip the Main Event as he wasn’t present early in the day, but finally arrived around 8 pm, nine hours after play began.

Notable Day 1C Chip Counts

Patrik Antonius (208,700)
Loni Harwood (194,200)
Chino Rheem (149,500)
Joseph Cheong (147,500)
Phil Ivey (92,300)
Ryan Laplante (87,000)
Cliff Josephy (78,400)
John Hennigan (70,000)
Rainer Kempe (68,700)
Phil Hellmuth (63,700)
Barry Greenstein (63,000)
Gabe Kaplan (59,900)

Day 2A/B, a session that combines returning players from Day 1A and 1B, will commence at 11 am PT on Thursday. Players from Day 1C will resume play on Friday.

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