WSOP TODAY: July 9; Portaro & Warne lead Aussie charge on day 1C

Highlights from day 44 of the 2012 WSOP (July 9)

How big is the 2012 WSOP Main Event? Well, thanks to Shane Warne and Elizabeth Hurley (pictured left with thanks to, it received coverage on last night’s edition of the Nine News! The official number of entrants for this year’s Main Event Championship is 6598 players, making it the fifth largest live poker tournament in history (but down 267 players from last year).

With the final numbers tabulated, total prize money for all 2012 WSOP events set an all-time record. This year’s grand sum will exceed $220 million – the highest ever. In fact, total prize money was up by about 10 per cent over last year.

As for the Main Event, the top 666 finishers will divide a prize pool amounting to $62,021,200. Each player who cashes will collect at least $19,227. The champion will collect $8,527,982 in addition to a platinum and diamond-encrusted bracelet valued at $150,000.

To accommodate the large field, multiple starting days were required. Day 1A drew 1066 players with 657 survivors. Day 1B drew a field of 2114 starters, with 1387 through to day two. Day 1C attracted 3418 starters, the largest single-day field in Main Event history with 2300 survivors.

Day 1C started with an introduction to two-time gold bracelet winner Howard “Tahoe” Andrew as the record holder with the longest current streak of attending the WSOP – 38 straight years, and counting. Next, US Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) took the stage and reiterated his support for protecting the rights of poker players. Sen. Heller then uttered poker’s most famous words, which launched a flurry of first hands for the record-setting field.

The overall chip leader after the three day one flights is William John. And thanks to some digging by our PMA partners in Vegas, we were first to discover that William John is indeed an Australian – not an Austrian as listed in the official WSOP chip count.

He was the only player to break the 200,000-chip mark and he didn’t just crack it, he breezed right past the threshold to finish with 266,700 chips. Only one player in recent memory held the day one chip lead and then went on to win the world championship – Joe Cada (2009), who’ll be back for day two this year holding 117,375 in chips.

Speaking of world champions, other WSOP Main Event winners set to return for day two include Doyle Brunson (81,400), Tom McEvoy (24,125), Johnny Chan (82,300), Dan Harrington (83,750), Robert Varkonyi (73,325), Jamie Gold (24,800), Jerry Yang (71,775) and reigning champion Pius Heinz (39,275).

As far as we could ascertain, the Australians who were in action on day 1C were Shane Warne (listed as being British!), Andrew Scott, John Aufdemkampe, John Azzi, Sarah Beard, Kel Beattie, Gary Benson, Simon Beshara, Paul Birdman, Michel Bouskila, Terrence Clee, Justin Cohen, Adam Cusenza, Roberto Damelian, Mario Doria, Peter Dykes, Tony Hachem, Bill Jordanou, Rayan Nathan, Robert Nowak, Martin Rowe, Brendon Rubie, Jim Sachinidis, Robert Spano, Manny Stavropoulos, Jay Tan, Michael Teren, Hai Bo Chu, Craig Cockburn, Richard Ellicott, Steven Giorgioni, Mikel Habb, Trevor Hawley, Riaz Jacobs, Konstantinos Kamaras, Stuart Kerr, Isaac Lennon, Stephen Lindebland, Nino Marotta, Dean McIver, Jock McLean, James Middleton, Simon Moshi, Nick Nicolaou, Nick Polias, Bruno Portaro, Matthew Russell, Michael Ryan, Adam Schmidt, John Tarabene, Robert Trask and Michael Weiss (apologies to anyone we missed).

The full list of Aussie survivors from day 1C is below, with Bruno Portaro leading the way on 133,375 ahead of David Balkin (80,750) and Shane Warne (72,400) while Jason Laso topped the overall day 1C chip count on 240,350.

Day 1C chip count (top 10)

1 Jason Laso (USA) 240,350
2 Randy Haddox (USA) 188,275
3 Erik Hellman (Sweden) 175,950
4 Marco Bognanni (Malta) 169,600
5 Daniel Morgan (UK) 160,025
6 Mathias Maasberg (Germany) 159,150
7 Anthony Guetti (USA) 158,775
8 Joonhee Yea (Korea) 157,175
9 Max Ovseyevitz (Mexico) 156,300
10 Dag Martin Mikkelsen (Norway) 155,900

Aussies through to day 2 from day 1C

Bruno Portaro 133,375
David Balkin 80,750
Shane Warne 72,400
Adam Cusenza 66,600
Kel Beattie 66,375
Blake Minty 62,200
Rayan Nathan 61,600
Terrence Clee 59,500
Jay Tan 58,925
Robert Trask 57,500
Paul Birman 51,825
Martin Rowe 49,450
Trevor Hawley 48,775
Nick Polias 46,050
Michel Bouskila 41,725
Will Jones 41,525
John Azzi 38,500
Jock McLean 37,425
Hai Bo Chu 35,000
Richard Ellicott 33,950
Matthew Russell 33,375
Stephen Lindebland 33,350
Alex Falon 33,325
Sarah Beard 32,700
Peter Dykes 26,025
Steven Giorgioni 25,250
Michael Weiss 23,000
Robert Spano 20,625
Andrew Scott 17,825
Isaac Lennon 16,400
James Middleton 15,850
Craig Cockburn 13,625
Gary Benson 12,500
Mario Doria 11,000
Michael Ryan 10,650
Robert Nowak 5675

• Additional reporting, Nolan Dalla,

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