Drew Amato has been covering the World Series of Poker since 2014. This year he’s covered the U.S. Poker Open and Super High Roller Bowl for Poker Central. Twice per week, Amato will share his favorite images from the World Series of Poker. Enjoy this recurring piece as, in his own words, Amato describes the biggest moments in the game.

The WSOP Main Event is a special beast. Once per year, the dream of turning $10,000 into millions brings thousands of players from all over the world to the Rio in Las Vegas, and on Monday those dreams took their first baby steps towards becoming a reality for many. Through my lens, and daily photo blogs, you’ll be kept up to date with everything that’s going on in the 2018 WSOP Main Event, which you can watch live on PokerGO and ESPN. For now, please enjoy these snaps from Day 1A.

Shuffle Up and Deal: As is a tradition at the World Series of Poker, every day a very special “Shuffle up and deal” ceremony takes place. On Monday, it was Scott Blumstein’s turn to fire up the crowd, as the 2017 Main Event Winner gave some encouraging words of advice to everyone playing today. Unfortunately for Blumstein, Day 1A did not go as planned as he was eliminated shortly after the dinner break.
Hollywood vs Main Event: Famed Hollywood star Kevin Pollak walked into the Amazon Room on Day 1A followed by a crowd of photographers and cameras. Pollak has had success in the Main Event before, finishing 134th in 2012 for $52,718. To ease the pain of the chips he was about to win off his opponents, Pollak brought chocolates for his opponents. The chocolates did their job, as Pollak bagged up 71,300 at the end of the night.
Emmett Goes Hellmuth: The only tournament of the year that warrants a grand entrance for some is the WSOP Main Event. Usually, this honor belongs only to Phil Hellmuth, but this year Randall Emmett is giving him a run for his money, as the Hollywood director and producer marched into the Amazon Room at the Rio accompanied by an entire marching band, playing the theme music from Rocky. The Rocky tunes seemed to do what they were supposed to, as Emmette bagged up 133,400 chips.
Fueling for the fire: All American Dave has been a staple at the World Series of Poker for the past few years, as the food truck pumps out hundreds of healthy meals every day to players around Las Vegas. Also behind the operation of AAD is Dave’s wife Amanda, who recently gave birth to the couple’s first child, their son, Malakai.
Women in the Main: The last and only time a woman made the WSOP Main Event final was in 1995 when Barbara Enright came very close to winning. With an ever-increasing presence of strong female players in this tournament, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the year someone writes a new chapter in the history books of poker. Below is a collection of women in action on Day 1a, including Gaelle Bauman, Lexy Gavin, Mina Greco, and Jen Harmen.
Mina Greco moved on to Day 2 with 35,500 chips.
Lexy Gavin advanced to Day 2 with 94,000 chips.
Champions Look to Get Another: While we won’t have a repeat champion with the elimination of Scott Blumstein on Day 1A, the opportunity for some to win their second Main Event bracelet is still alive as we saw many other previous champions in today’s field. Joe Hachem bagged up 84,600 chips on Day 1a, keeping the 2005 champion in the hunt.
The 2007 WSOP Main Event champion, Jerry Yang, was eliminated on Day 1A.
The 2015 WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen bagged up 36,200 chips.
The 2016 WSOP Main Event champion Qui Nguyen was eliminated on Day 1A.
Lastly, defending champion Scott Blumstein was in the spotlights for all of Day 1A, but he did not manage to make it through.

You’ll also enjoy “Super High Roller Bowl Highlights”“Poker’s Annual Gold Rush” and “Doyle’s Final Ride” in the series “Through the Lens of Drew” by clicking the links. Follow Drew Amato on Instagram. The 2018 World Series of Poker streams live on PokerGO now. Don’t miss a minute of the action by subscribing to PokerGO. The final table of this event will be live on PokerGO. Follow Poker Central on Twitter to stay up to date with all the latest from the world of poker.

Joe McKeehen, Jack Effel, Joe Hachem, Scott Blumstein, Qui Nguyen, Randall Emmett, Jerry Yang, Kevin Pollak, Lexy Gavin, Lacey Jones, Amanda Swanson, Dave Swanson, Mina Greco