With eight starting flights remaining, Kahle Burns is the WSOP Main Event chip leader

Kahle Burns WSOP poker
Jon Sofen
Posted on: August 26, 2020 24:50 PDT

We're now a dozen Day 1 sessions into the first ever WSOP Online Main Event, and 1,929 players have entered the $5,000 buy-in tournament. With 351 of them advancing to Day 2, Kahle Burns has the biggest stack. But there's still eight more opening flights remaining, meaning others will have an opportunity to catch up.

This year's Main Event is similar to the past 50 world championship tournaments in name only. Not only is the 2020 version played online at GGPoker as opposed to in Las Vegas at the casino, the buy-in is half the regular price ($5,000), and players can reenter the tournament for the first time in history.

The Main Event has a $25 million guarantee, also a first for the world championship event. And GGPoker will have to scramble to reach that goal or there will be a large overlay, which is good for the players.

Thus far, a total of 1,929 players have registered during the first 12 Day 1 starting flights. To hit that massive guarantee, GGPoker needs at least 3,071 more entries. That's certainly doable, especially given that pros often register for large guaranteed tournaments late if overlay seems likely. But they're well off pace of hitting the guarantee, and running out of time.

A 'Burning' desire to win the Main Event

Kahle Burns certainly wouldn't mind seeing some overlay in the Main Event. He holds the chip lead thus far and would benefit from fewer players advancing to Day 2. Less players moving on means the Australian poker star has a greater shot at winning the tournament and the multi-million-dollar 1st place prize that comes with it.

Burns ran red hot during the Day 1L session on Monday. He finished the session with 1,387,282 chips. Only eight of the 88 players from Day 1L advanced to Day 2, and no one even came close to matching his stack. Arsenii Karmatckii, a Russian pro, ended the day with the second largest stack at 678,259.

Igor Kurganov, a past bracelet winner and another Russian, made it through the session with 393,881. Mike Leah, a Canadian and also a former WSOP champion, was among those moving on, but only finished with 295,485 chips.

Burns not only moved on to Day 2 with the largest stack from the 1L session. He currently has the biggest stack by quite a wide margin. On Day 1H, Jonathan Dokler racked up 1,021,967 chips and is the only other player to surpass 850,000.

For Burns, winning the Main Event would make up for the live poker circuit shutting down due to COVID-19. He began the year on fire, cashing for over $2.9 million in live tournaments by March 15. He is the 18th ranked player in the world, according to the Global Poker Index. And 4th on the GPI's Player of the Year list for 2020, although it's unlikely he'll have an opportunity to move up the charts as live events are on hold for quite some time.

The young Australian poker pro is already the second winningest tournament player in his home country's history, having cashed for over $10.7 million. Joe Hachem, who famously won the Main Event in 2005 for $7.5 million, is the leader with $12.6 million in cashes.