A record-breaking field of 172 players entered Day 1a of the WSOP International Circuit Main Event in the lovely Es Saadi Resort in Marrakech. 49 of them made their way to Day 2 and are still in the hunt for the coveted WSOP Circuit Ring, with Rodrigo Strong - on his birthday! - claiming the overall Day 1a chiplead with 250,000.
The day started off slowly, with dealers at many tables unable to start dealing due to an insufficient number of players. The poker enthusiasts showed up in full force not long after though, eventually setting a new Day 1a attendance record for the WSOPC in Marrakech.
Great Britain's poker legend Barny Boatman didn't have the best of starting days, as he found himself on the rail soon. It took Boatman another two bullets to finally keep hold of a stack, but the experienced pro has a lot of work ahead after bagging 31,600.
Sarah Herzali had a much better day, ending her strong run at 160,000. Herzali wasn't afraid to play pots today by three and four-betting many times. She will be joined by the likes of Gerard Carbo (204,500), EPT11 Malta winner Jean Montury (151,000) and WSOPC Circuit Ring winner Dimitry Sukhorukov (147,000), who all find themselves near the top of the standings.
The French always have a strong showing in Marrakech and this tournament proved no different, with the French players making up the majority of the field. In the end, however, it was a Brazilian topping the leaderboard. The aforementioned Rodrigo Strong barely edged out France superstar Fabrice Soulier, who bagged 241,200 and sits in second.
All remaining players will return on Saturday for Day 2 of the Main Event. At 1 p.m. local time tomorrow Day 1b will commence, which will feature twelve levels of 45 minutes and a starting stack of 30,000 as well. Check PokerNews throughout the day for updates of this exciting Main Event.