It’s Do or Die on Day 1D of the WPT World Championship

It’s the last starting flight of the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas and the last chance for players to get a piece of the $40,000,000 guarantee.

Jeff Walsh
Dec 15, 2023
Steve ‘Cuz’ Buckner, Erick Lindgren, and Fedor Holz all in the field of the WPT World Championship Day 1D.

It’s Day 1D of the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas and it’s do or die. In more ways than one. For the players, it’s their last chance at making it through the day, finding a bag, and having a shot at the $40,000,000 guaranteed prize pool. For the event itself, the road to making said guarantee ends here – just one more starting flight, and by the looks of the field at the very start of the day – it’s going to be a big one.

Roughly 1,700 entries are needed for the World Poker Tour to hit its ambitious guarantee and either way, make it or miss, the players are the beneficiary. It’s been said before, with what will almost assuredly be a more than $5 million first-place prize, someone’s life is going to change.

And not just one person, there will likely be multiple six-figure scores, some of whom may just be in the room early on Day 1D. Here’s a look around the room of the more than 700 players who were in their seats when the first card hit the felt.

The field of Day 1D of the WPT World Championship.

Of course, for the fourth day in a row, the WPT Champions Club was well represented with players who have their names inscribed on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Ryan Reiss, Dominik Nitsche, Balakrishna Patur, Craig Varnell, Kevin Eyster, Keven Stammen, James Mackey and Noah Schwartz to name a few. Additionally, WPT chairman and WPT Honors recipient Lyle Berman was on hand for the ceremonial “Shuffle Up and Deal.”

Lyle Berman delivering the official “Shuffle Up and Deal” with WPT CEO Adam Pliska.

The field soared to more than 1,000 runners well before the first break putting three different ballrooms into play. Upstairs, in the Beethoven Ballroom, big names were seen battling. Poker superstar Fedor Holz was joined by WSOP champs Espen Jorstad and Damian Salas, poker media magnet Joey Ingram, Game of Gold star Olga Iermolcheva, as well as the likes of Ashley Sleeth, Lynne Ji, upstart pro Bert Hammant, and even Allen Kessler.

The Brahams Ballroom is a smaller room but packed with top-tier talent including crushers Jesse Lonis, Chris Brewer, Mustapha Kanit, and Erick Lindgren.

Jesse Lonis and Olga Iermolcheva

The large Encore Ballroom was also replete with big names right off the bat. Shannon Shorr was back looking for a bag as was Lara Eisenberg, Bin Weng, and former WPT Player of the Year Joe Serock, all of whom have been in the field for each of the starting days.

WPT Prime Championship and GPI 2022 Player of the Year Stephen Song was ready to go and joined in the big room by Kathy Liebert, Kyna England, a pair of former WPT Player of the Year winners in Faraz Jaka and Jacob Ferro.

Stephen Song and Eliot Hudon

The reigning champ of last year’s WPT World Championship, Eliot Hudon busted late yesterday and was back in action sitting nearby to high roller phenom Aleksejs Ponakovs. Other early faces in the crowd included Kitty Kuo, Matt Stout, Dan Lowry, Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Xuan Liu, WSOP Champ Scott Blumstein, and Adrian Mateos.

Dominik Nitsche, Bin Weng, Kyna England, and Kitty Kuo in Day 1D.

It’s a freezeout flight, no more chances. For those who bust early, it’ll be time to relax into the holidays and look ahead to 2024. But for some, the adventure was still yet to come as there were still hundreds left to register and maybe one of them will be the next champ.

Espen Jorstad and Joey Ingram.

Follow all the action to the final table on WPT Live Updates.