The chip bags are out! Day 1 of the 2010 PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour Venetian Main Event has come to a close. There were 89 tables available for as many as 890 players today. The tournament came very close to selling out, with 872 being the final tally of those who paid $5,000 to play big buy-in, deep-stacked poker.
Every table in the Venetian poker room was in use. Another forty tables were set up in front of and around the side of the poker room. They were filled with a rogue's gallery of the biggest names in North American tournament poker.
Many of those players didn't see the clock reach triple zero at the end of Level 8. None of Justin Bonomo, Chau Giang, Hevad Khan, David Benyamine, Phil Hellmuth, and the theoretically-retired Shaun Deeb will be returning for Day 2 tomorrow.
Yet more than half the field will return. At the end of the day the tournament clock showed 510 remaining players; we expect that number to be slightly smaller once the bags are counted and last-minute eliminations are verified.
There are plenty of notables still in the hunt. WSOP Main Event champions Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, Joe Cada and Chris Moneymaker are all still alive. Moneymaker, in fact, is one of three players who finished the night with chip stacks of more than 200,000. He was joined in that feat by Andy Seth and Mark Ketteringham. Any one of those players should wake up tomorrow morning to find out that he is the chip leader to start Day 2.
And what of Day 2? It will start at noon tomorrow, right back here in the Venetian. The schedule calls for playing six 75-minute levels or until 56 remain. As long as there's no change, bet on six 75-minute levels to pare the field down to a shade more than 200 players.
Of course, PokerNews will be right back on the tournament floor to bring you all of the Day 2 action. Until then, you can find us at the bar.
After a raise to 2,100, Vanessa Rousso made it 6,600 from the cutoff. The original raiser wasn't intimidated though. He repopped it to 11,500. Rousso called.
Her opponent fired out 14,000. Rousso sat still for a moment, asked the guy to count down his stack, and checked her hole cards one last time before moving all in for around 120,000. He let out a long-suffering sigh, moped for a few seconds, and tossed his cards into the muck.
It always pays to know exactly how many chips you have and exactly how many chips your opponents have. A three-way all in hand took place on one of the outer tables. The reveal gave us the following hands:
The board rolled out , giving Player 3 a set of jacks. Player 1 collected his belongings and left the tournament area.
However, when the stacks were counted down, it turned out that Player 3 was the shortest of the three stacks. He won the main pot, but a side pot of 11,000 was created between Players 1 and 2. The jack on the turn gave the now-departed Player 1 a pair of jacks to win the side pot.
11,000 chips are now being blinded and anted off, one hand at a time.
Finishing the day with four times the starting stack would be listed as an accomplishment for anyone who started in today's field. But what does it take to be near the top of the leaderboard after Day 1 of NAPT Venetian? Our quick survey of the rooms shows that it's going to take at least 200,000 chips -- almost seven times the starting stack and more than three times the average -- to be among the overnight chip leaders.
Now Justin "BoostedJ" Smith, Jason "JP OSU" Potter, Matt "mattg1983" Graham, and James "croll103" Carroll are sitting in a row. Just add sweat pants, and this might as well be the Sunday Million. It's been a good half an hour since that table saw a flop, but they're getting in hands at almost online speed.
One of the four of them raises every hand and everyone insta-mucks as if they've already clicked the "fold" box. And on to the next hand. Occasionally one of the other players at the table works up the courage to raise, and the guys take turns three-betting to make sure no one gets carried away. This is their table. Don't even bother.
David Steicke was once again curious about his progress compared to the rest of the field.
"Anyone over 200 yet?" he inquired. We haven't seen any 200,000-chip stacks yet but with a half hour to go it's time for the final push. The shortest of the short will be looking to double up or go home while the big stacks will be looking to punish the passivity of the players who want to just coast into Day 2 from here.
After the cutoff seat raised to 2,400, Carter Phillips three-bet to 6,900 from the button. Blair Hinkle was in the big blind and asked for a count on Phillips' stack. After getting an approximate number, he folded his hand. The cutoff seat made the call.
The two players took a flop of and the cutoff checked. Phillips stayed on the gas with a bet of 7,800. His opponent made the call.
The turn card was the and again, the cutoff seat tapped the table, moving the action to Phillips. The former EPT Barcelona winner fired 17,100 and this time, his opponent folded, letting Phillips scoop the pot.
It's been a ponderous day for Joe Hachem. He put 12,000 chips into the pot on a board of only to see his lone opponent move all in for 28,500 total. Hachem thought, and thought, and thought some more. It was a solid two or three minutes in the tank before Hachem reluctantly surrendered his hand.
Hachem's holding on at around 25,000 but hasn't been able to get much going so far.