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First day of ‘The Big One’ Tournament shows mixed results for the Professionals

The biggest tournament in history is underway with the first day coming to a close. 48 players started out on a quest to win the largest sum of money at any open poker tournament of $18 million, but only 37 remain after a mixed first day for the professionals.

The $1 million buy in tournament saw Michael Mizrachi, Andrew Robl, Eugene Katchalov, Jens Kyllönen, Nick Schulman, Bertrand Grospellier, Justin Smith, Paul Phua Erik Seidel, Jonathan Duhamel, Giovanni Guarascio and all bust out on the first day leaving many wealthy amateur businessmen still in with a chance of taking poker’s biggest ever open prize. However, you only have to look at the top nine players to see that the chances of a professional taking down the $18 million looks likely.

At the end of the day Brian Rast, Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Gus Hansen, Sam Trickett, Ben Lamb and Mike Sexton and Tom Dwan are all in the top ten positions so it looks like the winner will somebody that already holds a gold bracelet at the WSOP.

Phil Hellmuth turned up a whole blind level late when play started on Sunday. For those of you that do not know this is Hellmuth's normal routine, but some thought he might break it to play in the biggest open tournament of all time. However, as the most successful player in WSOP history why change a working routine?

The day started off poorly for Hellmuth, who at one point was down to half his starting stack. However, in true Hellmuth style, he rebuilt when he made a straight against Daniel Negreanu and then went on to win a few more decent-sized hands to return to his initial stack. The biggest moment for Hellmuth came in strange style though. Action started off with a raise to 35k followed by two calls, Hellmuth then pumped it with a huge over bet to 650,000, and the initial raiser went over the top. Hellmuth called instantly showing AA against his opponents KK. Hellmuth's aces held, and he doubled up to over six million. He eventually ended the night on just less than 8.4.

The most amazing play of the evening came from Mikhail Smirnov a Russian semi professional high-stakes cash game player. Smirnov folded quad 8s on the river to the amazement of just about everybody watching. Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan raised the action pre flop to 32k he received two calls from the small and big blind (Smirnov and Morgan). The flop came J(s) 8(c) and 7(s), Smirnov led out with 50k which Morgan called leaving Dwan to fold.

The 8(s) hit the turn giving Smirnov quads. Smirnov bet 200k and received another quick call. The river came the K(s) and Smirnov bet 700k before being re-raised all in by Morgan. After thinking about it for a while Smirnov mucked and showed his 8s leaving Morgan to muck. Smirnov said in an interview, in his mind, the only two hands Morgan could have was 10-9 (s) or J-J, but Smirnov said that he was sure Morgan had 10-9(s) so he made an 'easy lay down.' Morgan never revealed his hand so nobody (apart from Morgan) will ever know!

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