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If you are a huge poker fan, you might already know that the long awaited North American Poker Tour finally kicked off today in Las Vegas at the Venetian for the Venetian Main Event. Poker Stars has hosted a number of tournament series across the world including the Latin American Poker Tour and European Poker Tour, so it’s extremely exciting that they’ve planned a series of tournaments for North America. With a $5,000 buy-in, the Venetian Main Event is the first event Poker Stars has hosted in the U.S.A. 

Whether via direct buy-in or satellite, 872 players started Day 1 with 30,000 chips at 50/100 blinds. With the prize pool over $4 million, the first place prize sits at an impressive $827,648! The payout begins at 128 players and the minimum cash is $7,232. 

Day 1 consisted of eight one hour levels and 510 players survived to move on to Day 2. Tomorrow they will either play six 75 minute levels or until there are only 56 players remaining, but the 56 player option seems unlikely. Day 1 started off 10-handed until there was enough space for 9-handed tables, and Day 2 will continue on with 9-handed action. Interestingly, Day 3 and onward will be 8-handed. 

There are some notable names amongst the chip leaders, the most famous being Chris Moneymaker at 225,000 chips. As you probably already know, Moneymaker was the 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion and is given credit for pioneering the poker boom of this past decade. He currently has the chip lead. For some online pros, Andy “BKiCe” Seth has 218,000 chips and Carter Phillips (known as “bdybldngpk” online) has 110,000 chips. Phillips recently won the European Poker Tour’s Barcelona event for $1.2 million US back in September 2009.

 The Venetian Main Event continues tomorrow with Day 2 – be sure to visit FlopTurnRiver.com again for the next update on this prestigious event!