Frenchman tops final starting flight of World Series of Poker Main Event

France’s Jerome Brion has a slight chip lead after a record-setting Day 1C of the World Series of Poker’s Main Event on Monday.

Brion bagged 247,800 chips at the conclusion of play in the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold ’em World Championship at the Rio Convention Center.

Rudy Sawa of Commerce Township, Michigan, is second, followed by mid-stakes tournament grinder Carl Carodenuto of Bloomington, Minnesota.

Day 1C attracted 4,262 runners, a record for the final starting flight. In all, the Main Event has 7,221 entrants, the most since 2010 and No. 3 all time.

The Main Event continues at 11 a.m. Tuesday as the surviving players from the first two days are combined for Day 2A/2B. The players from Day 1C return Wednesday to resume play.

Eric Nathan of Columbia, Maryland, a blogger for the Barstool Sports website, is in fourth place, and David Mock of Medford, Massachusetts, rounds out the top five.

All in the family

Five-time bracelet winner Jason Mercier spent Day 1C at the same table as fellow pro Daniel Negreanu.

His wife spent the day raking in chips.

Natasha Mercier bagged 218,400 chips and was in the top 10 at the conclusion of play.

”I was thinking about not playing this tournament because … it’s so long, but when I sat down I had a super friendly table,” Natasha Mercier told “We were doing side bets and everything. It definitely helped the time pass quicker.”

Mercier is nearly seven months pregnant with the power couple’s first child and is due in October.

Jason Mercier, meanwhile, finished with approximately half of his 50,000-chip starting stack.

Hand of the Day

Jordan Zynda eliminated an opponent in the opening few minutes, but even that can’t top the fireworks from Laurence Grondin and Eric Baldwin shortly before the dinner break.

Grondin, a professional poker player from Montreal, made a royal flush on the turn and doubled up against Baldwin’s quad deuces.

Grondin finished with 140,500 chips, and she sits just outside the top 150.

Blinded by the light

One of the secondary feature tables played more than an hour of Level 2 with the wrong blinds.

The second level featured 150/300 blinds, according to the tournament structure sheet, but the table was playing 100/200 until professional poker player Mike “Timex” McDonald caught the mistake while texting with a friend.

Ivey absent

Professional poker player Phil Ivey was spotted in Las Vegas earlier this summer, and the hope was the 10-time bracelet winner would make an appearance at the WSOP.

Alas, Ivey did not register for the Main Event.

Ivey is due in a United Kingdom Supreme Court this week to appeal his edge-sorting case against Crockfords Casino, which might explain his absence.

Also skipping this year’s festivities was Jason Somerville, best known for his “Run It Up” online poker streams on Twitch.

Day 1C Chip Counts

1. Jerome Brion (France), 247,900

2. Rudy Sawa (Commerce Township, Michigan), 238,600

3. Carl Carodenuto (Bloomington, Minnesota), 237,800

4. Eric Nathan (Columbia, Maryland), 228,500

5. David Mock (Medford, Massachusetts), 228,500

6. Daniel Barry (San Francisco), 224,500

7. Jason Mann (Burnaby, British Columbia), 223,600

8. David Toneman (Santa Clarita, California), 221,300

9. Adam Levy (Coral Springs, Florida), 220,700

10. Natasha Mercier (Tampa, Florida), 218,400

Contact David Schoen at or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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