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Doyle Brunson survives, Phil Hellmuth arrives at WSOP Main Event

Phil Hellmuth came dressed as a wizard, but poker’s wise man was still toiling a few tables away.

At age 88, Doyle Brunson continued his run in the World Series of Poker Main Event on Tuesday at the Rio. The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner and two-time Main Event champion had 129,800 chips at the dinner break on Day 2 for part of the remaining field in the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship.

Brunson played most of the day seated next to Scotter Clark, who was dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. Meanwhile, Hellmuth entered the final starting flight of the Main Event with his typical fanfare, arriving dressed as Gandalf the White from “The Lord of the Rings,” with a string of models trailing behind him.

At past Main Events, Hellmuth, the all-time leader with 16 WSOP bracelets, has arrived dressed as a Roman gladiator, a military officer and a boxer, and he once crashed a stock car in the parking lot. (The WSOP awards trophy bracelets for tournament victories.)

The Main Event is being held with six starting flights and two Day 2 sessions. Day 1F was held Tuesday alongside Day 2 for players who entered 1A, 1B or 1D. Day 2 for the players in the other three flights will be Wednesday.

Players can still enter the Main Event through the first four hours of play Wednesday (about 3:40 p.m.). The prize pool, including the multimillion-dollar first prize, should be finalized by Wednesday evening.

More than 6,400 players had already entered the Main Event by Tuesday evening.

Brunson said he had a rough start, losing 60,000 of his 151,000 by overplaying queens. He later built back up near that starting stack, fell back after losing with top pair to the nut flush, then regained those chips with a straight against a set of eights.

The WSOP Main Event is a grind, with nine days of play needed to determine a winner. Brunson said he wasn’t sure how he would hold up if he kept advancing.

“That’s hard to say,” Brunson told PokerGO. “I always had good stamina, but I don’t know. I just have to wait and see.”

Brunson’s table was again being livestreamed by PokerGO, a subscription video service. Sideline reporter Jeff Platt, also an accomplished player who finished fourth in an earlier WSOP event, said he was “terrified to chat” with Brunson “because I consider him such poker royalty.”

“Very few players carry that kind of aura that Doyle does, where when he walks into the room, everybody else just stops what they’re doing,” Platt said.

International players arrive

The WSOP added two extra starting flights to allow more international players to arrive after the U.S. announced it would lift travel restrictions starting Monday.

WSOP vice president Jack Effel welcomed the international players on Day 1F on Tuesday.

“Thanks for being here! You got here!” he said. “… We so appreciate that you made the trek all the way to Las Vegas to participate in the greatest poker tournament on the planet.”

After Wednesday’s second Day 2, the entire field will combine for Day 3 on Thursday. Players are expected to reach the money early Friday.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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