Poker icon Doyle Brunson changes mind and plays in Main Event

After three starting days, the World Series of Poker’s Main Event continues to whittle down the field today at the Rio.

Players who survived Saturday and Sunday’s opening rounds return at noon – Saturday’s players in the Amazon Room and Sunday’s field in Brasilia Room.

The fifth-largest field in the history of the $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Championship was set Monday — 6,598 players — after a single-day record 3,418 players packed the Rio for Day 1C action.

Currently, 4,321 players are still in contention for the Main Event title and a share of the $62 million prize pool. Winning the Main Event will be worth more than $8.5 million.

Seven of the nine final table participants at the Main Event will earn more than $1 million for their efforts with the runner-up collecting almost $5.3 million. The final table will be determined July 16 and the nine players will return to the Rio at the end of October to play for the title.

The three leaders from each of the starting flights were Jason Laso from Monday (240,350 in tournament chips), William John from Saturday (266,700) and John Hoang from Sunday (180,000.)

Monday’s starting had numerous former World Series of Poker champions, poker notables and celebrities.

Surviving and moving on to Day 2B play on Wednesday included 10-time bracelet winner Doyle Brunson, who had 81,400 in chips. On Sunday Brunson, told his followers on Twitter he was skipping this year’s Main Event. But the poker icon and winner of the Main Event in 1976 and 1977 changed his mind.

Also still in contention are 2009 champion Joe Cada (117,375 in chips), 2006 winner Jamie Gold (24,800 in chips) and 10-time bracelet winner Johnny Chan (82,300 in chips).

Jeff Madsen, the 2006 Player of the Year has 33,525 in chips while current 2012 Player of the Year points leader, Phil Ivey, is alive but somewhat short-stacked with 11,525 in chips.

Antonio Esfandiari, who won $18.3 million in the “One for One Drop” $1 million buy-in event, has a healthy stack of 78,925 in chips.