It may have been eight hours long but the story of day 1a at the PCA 2010 was decided in the first ten minutes. That was when Wayne Bentley, a PokerStars qualifier from the UK, found pocket aces, ran them into pocket kings and doubled up. From that moment on he never looked back, and he's is your chip leader tonight with 329,500 - that's nearly 11 times the amount he started with.
Chip leader tonight - Wayne Bentley
Bentley tops a list that at noon today, when Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu gave the order to shuffle up and deal, was 668 names long, the first half of the first day of the first major event of the year at the biggest festival of poker outside the Las Vegas city limits. Tonight, after eight levels, 430 of that crowd remain.
For the defeated the consolation of 48 other events scheduled for the coming two weeks, and for those remaining a day off with time away from the tables to splash in the pool, swim with dolphins, take near vertical leaps of faith or have Nicolas Cage's house pointed out to you during the ferry trip to Nassau.
But as Bentley pulls away in chip stack luxury a few notables have their foot down in pursuit. Established tournament pro Amnon Filippi was Bentley's nearest challenger with around 220,000, Kevin Saul and Eric Froelich are not far back either, bagging up roughly 170,000 and 165,000 respectively.
The ranks of Team PokerStars Pro finished strong; Dennis Phillips, Dario Minieri and Sebastian Ruthenberg bagged up stacks primed to soar. Luske, Negreanu, Brown, Boeken, Duthie, Demidov and others survived the day, their counts appearing on the chip count page which will become official once tournament staff make them so.
Their success came after the loss of others. Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer and Joep van den Bijgaart leave their teammates behind, as do Ruben Visser and Jason Mercier, each of whom departed late into the last level of the day.
Today was merely the start, the first of many days just like this one, starting tomorrow, when the other half of the world's best players take their seats. Satellites play on into the night, we expect numbers to be big.
Until then you can click through the links below for a recap of the action, including a fraught period spent wrestling with spiteful internet gods.
Join us again tomorrow for day 1b, played with a back drop of a PLO freeze out, a PLO turbo and some debut Badugi. If you can't be here; either you've lost your passport or are snowed in somewhere, the PokerStars Blog, written in 70 degree Bahamian heat, is your best alternative.
Naturally all of this is available on our sister blogs, written, we're told, in Swedish, German and Italian, Spanish and Brazilian, although we have no way of knowing whether any of it makes sense. Our thanks to Joe Giron, provider of photography today, along with the EPT's photography stalwart Neil Stoddart. Thanks also to those of you emailed in - that means you Mr and Mrs Phillips. Send more to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Play resumes at noon. The forecast is for warmth and great poker. See you then.
The "Duthie Position"