WSOP 2024 Day 1 Recap: Champions Reunion Led by Qui Nguyen as Legends Gather in Las Vegas PGT

WSOP 2024 Day 1 Recap: Champions Reunion Led by Qui Nguyen as Legends Gather in Las Vegas    PGT

The 2024 World Series of Poker began in Las Vegas with the Casino Employees Event and Champions Reunion welcoming both behind-the-scenes players and some of the world’s best professionals to the poker felt on the opening day.

The $5,000-entry Champion Reunion event kicked off proceedings in Las Vegas, with only former WSOP event winners permitted to enter and a $10,000 bounty on the head of each former Main Event winner in the field.

One early hand saw the most famous former world champion’s $10,000 slid across the felt to another big Main Event winner. The 2003 ‘poker boom’ world champion Chris Moneymaker had it in good with pocket kings, but back-to-back 1987 and 1988 world champion Johnny Chan’s ace-king hit an ace on the flop and Moneymaker’s bounty went to his fellow iconic former champion.

Other icons of the game missed out on a Day 2 stack as Shaun Deeb failed to get off the blocks with a cash, along with Canadian Alex Livingston, online poker legend Chris Moorman, six-time WSOP winner Josh Arieh, Triple Crown legend Niall Farrell, WPT crusher Bin Weng and former world champions Tom McEvoy, Phil Hellmuth, Ryan Riess, Scott Blumstein, Koray Aldemir, Espen Jorstad, and Greg ‘Fossilman’ Raymer, who all busted on Day 1.

Others were far more successful. A late double-up for Daniel Negreanu with pocket jacks triumphing over Brock Wilson’s king-five meant Kid Poker spun up his stack late on. The 1996 world champion Huck Seed - so seldom seen in poker tournaments in recent years - proved he has no sign of rust as he also made it through to Day 2.

It was the 2016 WSOP Main Event winner Qui Nguyen (663,000) who led the field of 100 survivors into the next day. Nguyen was not only the best of the 22 former Main Event champions but top of the 99-strong remaining field after a stunning day at the felt as he edged out Asher Coniff (641,000) into second place. Aram Zobian (565,000), Alex Keating (554,000) and David Coleman (534,000) all compiled top six stacks on their way to Day 2, where just 74 players will reach the money places.

With a top prize of $408,468 on offer - along with the 2024 WSOP’s first golden bracelet - competition will be fierce tomorrow as play goes down to the final table and the last step before the first event winner of this year’s WSOP is confirmed live on PokerGO this coming Thursday.

Event #1: $5,000 Champions Reunion Top 10 Chip Counts

Place Player Country Chips
1st Qui Nguyen United States 663,000
2nd Asher Conniff United States 641,000
3rd Yuzhou Yin China 567,000
4th Aram Zobian United States 565,000
5th Alex Keating United States 554,000
6th David Coleman United States 534,000
7th Darius Samual United Kingdom 475,000
8th Michael Acevedo Costa Rica 450,000
9th Yilong Yang United States 420,000
10th Michel Molenaar Netherlands 377,000

Casino Employees Event Bursts Bubble on Day 1

There were 1,189 entries in the $500-entry Event 2, the Casino Employees Event, as those who work behind the scenes were part of a special WSOP bracelet event. From dealers to tournament organizers, reporters to commentators, this was one for those who are usually off the felt in the game and 16 levels of action whittled away almost 90% of the field across a frenetic day.

It was the unfortunate Allan Kwong who busted the event on the bubble, missing out on a return on his $500 investment when his pocket sevens were shot down by Michelle Christie’s king-queen. The board was a cruel one, with Kwong safe right up until a queen landed on the river, seeing Kwong eliminated in 180th place.

Just 179 players put themselves in profit as the race to the $79,134 top prize truly began, with the WSOP bracelet on offer one that could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for players who rarely get the chance to play at a major tournament.

Event #2: $500 Casino Employees Event Top 10 Chip Counts

Place Player Country Chips
1st Caleb O’Donnell Canada 583,000
2nd Bryan Lapham United States 529,000
3rd Juan Carlos Latuff United States 479,000
4th Johnathan Sanchez United States 468,000
5th Willie Coleman United States 451,000
6th Andrew Rivero United States 443,000
7th Alexander Green United States 436,000
8th Michael Bailey United States 434,000
9th William Mccool United States 421,000
10th Eric Roberts United States 3418,000

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