Welcome back for round two of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event. Today is the second starting flight of three — Day 1b — and it plans to be even bigger and better than the first.
On Day 1a, 943 players found their way to the felt, but only 584 of them survived the first five levels of competition. Leading the way was Evan Panesis, who bagged up a hefty 190,975 in chips. He's trailed closely by Nick Crisp (184,075), Abdulaziz Almashal (180,575), Sergio Castelluccio (175,825) and Michael Wehner (170,325), to round out the top five.
Plenty of eyes were fixated on Greg Merson on Saturday, as he made his way back into the Rio for his Main Event title defense. Last year, Merson topped a field of 6,598 players to win $8,531,853 in this event. This year, he's off to a fast start, having worked his 30,000-chip starting stack up to 81,650 to finish out the day. Like all the other survivors from Day 1a's play, Merson will have two days off and then return Tuesday at 12 p.m. to get back into action.
Other notables advancing from Day 1a were Joe Cada, Tony Dunst, Ronnie Bardah, Rep Porter, John Hennigan, Scott Fischman and Olivier Busquet.
It is very much expected that today's field will easily surpass the 1,000-player mark. In the 2012 WSOP Main Event, Day 1a had 1,066 players, Day 1b had 2,114 players, and Day 1c had 3,418 players. The Day 1c field set the record for the largest one-day Main Event field in history.
Play is scheduled to kick off for Day 1b at 12 p.m., but that's not all that's on tap for Sunday at the WSOP. Event #58: $1,111 Little One for One Drop No-Limit Hold'em is down to eight players and will continue starting at 1 p.m., Event #60: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em is down to 15 players and will also resume at 1 p.m., and Event #61: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha is down to 32 players and will resume play at 2 p.m.
Here's PokerNews' very own resident Aussie Lynn Gilmartin with the July 7 update: