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John Gorsuch on top at end of record-setting Day 1C at WSOP Main Event

John Gorsuch of Belle Glade, Fla., finished as the chip leader at the end of a record-setting Day 1C of the World Series of Poker’s $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold ’em World Championship.

Gorsuch unofficially bagged 198,100 chips when played stopped early Wednesday at the Rio Convention Center and has the overall lead after the completion of the three Main Event starting flights.

The Main Event officially drew 6,420 entrants, which is slightly down from 6,683 players in last year’s tournament. Day 1C drew 3,963 players and is the largest Main Event starting flight in tournament history, surpassing last year’s Day 1C total of 3,768.

The tournament continues at noon today at the Rio with Day 2A/2B. The 1C survivors resume play Thursday, and all the remaining players are brought together Friday for Day 3. The tournament runs through July 14, and the nine remaining players return Nov. 8 at the Rio’s Penn &Teller Theater for the final table.

The Main Event has prize pool of $60,348,000 and the winner will receive $7.68 million, organizers announced late Tuesday. Each member of the “November Nine” final table will earn a seven-figure payout, with ninth place worth $1,001,020.

The top 1,000 places are guaranteed a payout as the 649th- through 1,000th-place finishers will earn $15,000.

Zarik Megerdichian of La Canada, Calif., ended play second with 180,400 chips and was near the lead for most of the evening. Megerdichian was seated at a star-studded table in the Pavilion Room as he was joined by 14-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, 10-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey and top professional poker players Keith Lehr and Melanie Weisner.

Hellmuth unofficially had 79,275 chips at the end of the action, while Las Vegas resident and all-time leading money winner Daniel Negreanu had 73,825 chips.

Also among the leaders were Wade Townsend (146,000), a two-time first-round pick in the Major League Baseball draft, and Craig Varnell of Fort Collins, Colo. (140,750), who finished third in the inaugural WSOP.com online bracelet event.

Defending champion Martin Jacobson was eliminated during the fourth level of play, while 2012 Main Event winner Greg Merson and 2007 champ Jerry Yang also hit the rail.

CHIP COUNTS

1, John Gorsuch (Belle Glade, Fla.) 198, 100

2, Zarik Megerdichian (La Canada, Calif.) 180,400

3, David Peyser (Union City, N.J.) 177,325

4, James Juvancic (Westchester, Ill.) 166,350

5, Michael Shanahan (Avon, Ind.) 159,350

6, Salvatore Dicarlo (Las Vegas) 155,300

7, Phong Than Nguyen (Bristow, Va.) 153,650

8, Timo Pfutzenreuter (Germany) 150,075

9, Norbert Szecsi (Budapest, Hungary) 149,150

10, Wade Townsend (Dripping Spring, Texas) 146,000

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