The WSOP Main Event began in perfect Las Vegas fall weather, reminding older players and fans of the pre-Moneymaker days when the series took place in spring. Doyle Brunson rolled in to the Rio wearing a stylish poncho, adding to the memories of series past.
Many eyes were naturally on Texas Dolly, who closed the day bagging a healthy 151k chips. Close on the heels of Brunson is Poker.org’s own Chris “Fox” Wallace, who is moving on to Day 2 with 148k. Other notables surviving Day 1 include seven-time bracelet winner Billy Baxter, and 2012 Women’s Poker Hall of Fame inductee, JJ Liu.
King of the Hill for Day 1a belongs to Mustapha Kanit with a bulging bag holding 363,500 chips. Kanit is wearing the colors of Winamax, the European poker and sports betting site. The Italian-born resident of Austria is one of the heavy hitters in the field, with total live earnings in excess of $11 million.
Despite the long-awaited return of The Big One, however, events off the felt dominated Day 1a news from the Rio.
Rio in lockdown, suspect arrested
At 9:27 p.m. local time, poker content creator Johnny Vibes alerted Twitter to an incident at the Rio:
“Just saw a guy with a WSOP lanyard get tackled by 5 undercover on break of WSOP main event. The placed him under arrest and emptied his pockets. No idea if he was staff or why they arrested him. Intense.”
Subsequent reporting by 13 Action News (KTNV), along with other eye-witness accounts, have not confirmed the claim the suspect was wearing WSOP credentials. However, the Rio was placed in lockdown for over an hour as police investigated a suspicious package in the suspect’s car.
The incident comes on the heels of an event earlier in the series, when police arrested a man outside the Rio for pointing a gun at another man. Neither incident appears to involve participants in the WSOP.
Shack-Harris busts out, wrecks car
In an unrelated story, Brandon Shack-Harris revealed to Twitter followers that he’d just had a post-tourney car wreck:
“Was in a gross spot in PLO8 in-between calling off and folding for my tourney. Didn’t take into account Id wreck my car if I called and was wrong. It’s totaled but I’m fine. Just something to think about when you’re in the tank.”
It’s not clear from the tweet whether the tough decision and elimination had a causal relationship to the accident. However, this does come as a reminder that poker players frequently drive home from the Rio during times when Las Vegas roads are shared by other tired and emotional individuals.
Featured image source: Twitter