During the first hour of the Main Event, the play is typically defined by a protracted feeling out process, with the majority of players simply content to soak in the experience and fold until they find a monster.
Experienced veterans like Aussie Gary Benson, however, know that this stage of the tournament can become a goldmine, provided a couple of premium hands are dealt.
Benson, who has dominated Australia's and New Zealand's burgeoning tournament circuit for nearly three decades, has proven that to be true here today, after taking control of his table early in the day.
We passed by Benson's table with four players each putting 950 into the pot before the flop. When the dealer fanned the across the felt, the action was checked to Benson, and he fired a bet of 1,500 forward. After a lone player flatted out of position, the turn came , and the opponent checked once more to Benson.
Continuing his aggressive line, Benson moved a pile of chips equal to 3,600 into the middle, and his opponent smooth called a second time.
The river brought the to the board, and both players elected to slow down by tapping the table.
"If you've got a four you're good," said Benson, as he tabled the .
His opponent was visibly distressed at having been coolered so early in the Main Event, and he disgustedly threw his into the muck.
Benson chipped up to nearly 40,000 on this hand, adding a third of his opponent's starting stack to his own to begin his Main Event in style. As the first Aussie to capture a gold bracelet here in Vegas, one of the game's great ambassadors has put him himself in great shape to make a run through this third Day 1 flight.