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Erik Seidel off to great start at 2024 WSOP Main Event

5 July 2024

Play on Day 1b of the 2024 World Series of Poker Main Event at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas has drawn to a close after five two-hour long levels. From the time 2004 Main Event champion Greg Raymer did the honors by announcing the ceremonial "Shuffle Up and Deal!" to the last hand of the day shortly after midnight, roughly 830 hopefuls ponied up a cool $10,000 to begin a journey they all hope will end with victory and a place in the annals of poker history.

By the end of the night, 616 had kept that dream alive with a bag of chips and a seat to return to on Day 2abc. Of those who entered the fray, Poker Hall of Famer and 1988 Main Event runner-up Erik Seidel put himself in a strong position heading into the second day by accumulating 183,600 in chips. Seidel benefited from a late surge that saw him crack his opponent's aces with a flopped set of kings to score a knockout and a large pot.

"This was a very good Day 1 for me. To triple up is great," said Seidel as he bagged his chips, adding that it is "very easy to go bust, so it's nice to be alive and have some chips." Although he admitted making one mistake, Seidel noted that his "tables were very good" and that he was still "fairly happy" with his level of play.

Seidel is already one of the all-time greats, and perhaps his indisputable level of success has allowed him to approach the tournament with some levity. "You buy a lottery ticket, you hope to beat some ridiculous odds. I don't take this tournament too seriously. If you get on a nice run, great!"

Although fellow Hall of Famer Phil Ivey won his eleventh bracelet a couple of weeks ago to move clear of Seidel on the all-time leaderboard, that fact seems to be of little concern to "Seiborg".

"I just love to play. I'm not really that focused on bracelets. They're nice when they come, but it's not my prime motivation. I'm just trying to do well."

George Dolofan was likely the entrant most pleased with their work today after he span his starting stack up to a mammoth 314,000. Matthew Sabia was another player with a bag stack at the end of the night, having amassed 297,400. Neither of those two have cracked seven figures in live earnings, but a deep run in this event could very well change that.

Other players who managed to navigate their way through the day to end with an above-average stack include Patrick Hagenlocher (270,300), Vladas Tamasauskas (268,300) and Aaron Werner (246,900). Werner took down a large pot during the last level with a raise on the river to propel his stack over the 200,000 mark.

As one would expect, many notables were present in the field. Some found a bag, including high stakes crusher Artur Martirosian (166,300), 2019 Main Event champion Hossein Ensan (166,000) and four-time bracelet winner Ben Yu (125,600). British online phenom Patrick Leonard also survived but will have his work cut out for him on Day 2 as he returns with just 18,800.

Others were less fortunate, falling at the first hurdle to see their hopes dashed far earlier than they would have liked. The 2021 WSOP Player of the Year, Josh Arieh, was one such individual after he dwindled down to bust before the dinner break. The aforementioned Raymer, who knocked out Arieh in third place en route to his main event victory twenty years ago, lasted a little longer but all in vain as he ran his jacks into aces late in the day to hit the rail.

What neither of these players suffered, however, is the fate that befell Tony Guglietti, namely busting on the very first hand of play. Guglietti ran his straight into the nut flush of John Gutierrez to send him packing mere minutes after taking his seat. While one could reasonably debate the level of misfortune involved compared to the merits of his play, what is certain is that Guglietti will have been left with a bitter taste in his mouth as he joined two others from Day 1a in a club no one wants to be a member of.

Anyone fortunate enough to have survived the day will return Sunday, 7 July, at noon local time, when they will be joined by the survivors of days 1a and 1c to play a further five levels. Late registration remains open for two more levels on Day 2, so while initial numbers are down from 2023, there is still hope of getting close to or even surpassing that record-breaking field.

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