A total of 343 runners took their spots at the starting line this afternoon for Event #48 ($2,500 Limit Hold'em Six-Handed), and after eight full levels of limit action, just 119 have survived the slow but steady carnage.
When the day began, the atmosphere in the Brasilia Room was subdued relative to the usual excitement generated at World Series of Poker events, with much of the energy in the Rio being devoted to the Big One for One Drop high-roller event being held across the hall. Nonetheless, the action gradually picked up its pace, with professionals trickling in throughout the late registration period to try their hand at Hold'em's traditional variant.
Among the notable names to fall short here on Day 1 were Barry Greenstein, Andre Akkari, Jeffrey Lisandro, J.C. Tran, Kenna James, Chris Tryba, Ylon Schwartz, and Dwyte Pilgrim. Phil Hellmuth also hit the rail, in the particularly cruel fashion that has become the "Poker Brat's" trademark, after getting four bets in preflop with . Unfortunately for Hellmuth, Marco Johnson went exploring with a marginal hand, and he found trips on the river to send Hellmuth home in a huff.
Circuit grinder Paul Mattioda emerged from the fray as the unofficial chip leader, weaving through the minefield known as Day 1 to steadily build a stack of 57,900 when play concluded. With this ammunition in his arsenal heading into Day 2, Mattioda will be looking to add his first WSOP cash, a final table run, and perhaps even a shiny gold bracelet to his growing poker resume.
Mattioda has company when it comes to stack size, however, with dangerous pros like Marco Johnson (46,600), Jon Turner (43,800), Tom Schneider (38,000), David "Bakes" Baker (35,800), and Joe Cada (20,400) hot on his heels. In addition to these notable names, defending champion Ronnie Bardah (30,200) will also return tomorrow with an above average chip stack, looking to win this event for the second consecutive year.
Check back with PokerNews tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m. local time to follow all of the action live from the Rio, as the $2,500 Limit Hold'em Six-Handed event continues!