2022 WSOP Championship Event, Day 2A: Gavin Munroe Moves into Lead, Field Creeps Closer to Record

The 2022 World Series of Poker’s $10,000 Championship Event is chugging towards its unification, with the first of two-Day Twos put in the books on Thursday. It saw one of poker’s venerable champions make his usual flamboyant entrance, but for one player it was extremely special. Gavin Munroe was that man, who admitted to being hit with the deck during Thursday’s action on his way to amassing over a million chips and the chip lead in the tournament.

Flamboyant Entrance? Yes. Good Reaction? Well…

Thursday was the first of two-Day Twos and, as he had not stepped up yet, former World Champion Phil Hellmuth was expected to make his appearance at some point. He would choose the play in Day 2A (the conglomerate of Days 1A, 1B, and 1C) to step into the battle for 2022, and he would choose to make that entrance in his usual over the top manner. What was not expected was the reaction that Hellmuth’s entrance would bring.

In the past, Hellmuth has stepped into the WSOP Championship Event dressed as Caesar, General Patton, Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, and the superhero Thor. This arrival often was accompanied by a bevy of Las Vegas’ finest models, usually one for each of his WSOP bracelet wins. In 2022, however, it was a simpler production.

Striding into the Bally’s tournament arena to the strains of the Imperial March from Star Wars, Hellmuth came attired as Darth Vader – at least mask wise. The rest of his getup looked more track suit than Sith Lord, lacking his usual commitment to his entry process (for 2023, Hellmuth says a more elaborate entrance is in store). His fellow players, surprisingly, barely looked up from their cards; in fact, there were boos heard from some of the areas of the tournament room, possibly indicating folks are a bit tired of the Hellmuth Show.

Maybe that reaction had a bit to do with Hellmuth being off his game. “Darth Hellmuth” was out of the tournament just a little over an hour later. First Hellmuth ran into a runner-runner Wheel while he held pocket Kings, then he would get the last scraps of his stack in only to see his opponent hit a two outer to eliminate him from the tournament. For 2022, the WSOP Championship Event is over for “Darth Hellmuth.”

WSOP Virgin Munroe Only Player Over a Million Chips

The 2641 players who came back on Thursday were joined by 148 newcomers to the tournament, driving the total number up to 8209 players. This is not the official total of entries yet, however. Friday’s Day 2B, consisting of the massive throng that played Day 1D on Wednesday, will feature late registration through the first two levels of action (roughly 3PM Pacific Time). There is still an outside shot at breaking the record from 2006, when 8773 players came to the line.

One of the players who was extremely happy to be in Thursday’s action was Munroe, who is playing in his first ever Championship Event. He admitted to getting pocket Kings on four separate occasions, with three of those situations resulting in Monroe busting out his opposition. It also led him to being the only player with over one million chips (at this time) for when action resumes on Saturday’s Day Three.

1. Gavin Munroe (USA), 1,061,500
2. Karim Rebel (France), 932,000
3. Nick Howard (USA), 810,500
4. Ariya Iwato (USA), 755,500
5. Steven Stolzenfeld (USA), 708,500
6. Ayaz Mahmood (USA), 618,000
7. Franco Gasparini (United Kingdom), 584,000
8. Sergio Castelluccio (Italy), 570,500
9. Aliaksandr Shyiko (Belarus), 558,500
10. Richard Lee (USA), 555,500

Day 2B is currently in action and, at the end of their play this evening, all will be known about the 2022 WSOP Championship Event. We will know the total number of players, the prize pool, and perhaps most importantly the life-changing money that the next World Champion – heck, the final table really – will receive in a little more than a week.