The WSOP field of 705 players dwindled to just 71 after the first 12 hours of action. The last nine competitors of the hybrid online / in-person event will form a final table at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on 28 December.
The 2020 field is a small fraction of the 8,569 players who competed a year ago.
The unique tournament holds a $6.8m prize pool with the first-place winner receiving just over $1.5m. The event came with a $10,000 buy-in.
WSOP participants in the United States tournament are playing from Nevada or New Jersey.
Three-time WSOP bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva led the field after day one with a chip count size of 1,930,067. He was followed by ‘vforvictoria’ at 1,792,716 chips and ‘Samthedog76’ with 1,529,044 chips.
Players who survive to the final table will undergo go Covid-19 tests and play in a bubble-type environment at the Rio, according to USA Today.
In Europe, the final table will begin Tuesday in the Czech Republic. The winner of the US Main Event will face the international winner for a $1m prize in Las Vegas on 30 December.