The second of three Day 1s is in the books at the 2018 World Series of Poker. While Smain Mamouni was able to emerge as the Main Event Day 1B chip leader, he wasn’t able to pick up enough chips to overthrow the overall leader despite his larger starting group.
Event #65 - $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship
After five, two-hour levels of competition, 2,378 entries on Day 1B have been whittled down to 1,794 survivors who will return on Thursday for Day 2 play. Leading the way for Day 1B – but not quite garnering enough chips to take the overall lead – is Smain Mamouni, who will have a difficult field chasing him when they return to action.
The Amazon and Brasilia rooms were abuzz as the second Day 1 of poker’s biggest tournament kicked off at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Last year’s feel-good story of the WSOP, the United Kingdom’s John Hesp, gave the call for “shuffle up and deal” before shuffling off to one of the ESPN feature tables for action. Why wasn’t he at the main table? Because former “November Niner” Kenny Hallaert, Brian Hastings and recent Women in Poker Hall of Fame inductee Maria Ho were holding down that patch of felt and providing a great deal of action.
Through much of the “prime-time” hours broadcast on ESPN2 (on a 30-minute delay), that triumvirate provided the entertainment for the poker-viewing audience. Hallaert would make an unfortunate error when, after he had turned two pair, he pushed all-in against an opponent’s flopped set of eights. His elimination didn’t make the table any easier as none other than three-time Poker Players Championship Sportsbook Michael Mizrachi came to take Hallaert’s seat.
Mizrachi, Hastings and Ho will be around for Day 2 on Thursday along with a host of their fellow pros. Alex Foxen (242,300), Pierre Neuville (147,500), Shaun Deeb (143,300), Calvin Anderson (99,100) and Hesp (63,900) all will be in pursuit of Mamouni, who made most of his stack in a “last hand of the night” that was a stunner.
On a 3s, 5s, Qs flop, Mamouni got two opponents all-in and he called, holding an As-K against a flopped set of fives and a flopped set of queens. The turn was a thunderbolt, a 9s, that immediately thrust Mamouni into the lead. Having to dodge a trey, a nine or the case five or queen, Mamouni could take a breath again when a Jc hit on the river to give him the Day 1B chip lead.
If history goes as planned, we could be looking at perhaps the second-largest Main Event field in the history of the WSOP. With 925 players stepping up on Day 1A and another 2,378 players entering the fray on Day 1B, that made for a field of 3,303 runners. Historically, the final Day 1 is the largest by far; if this year’s field meets the numbers from 2017 (4,262 players), it would be the second-largest WSOP Championship Event in history. It probably won’t get to the 8,773 players of 2006, but it’s still a good sign.