NAPT Venetian: $25,000 Bounty Shootout, Flight 1, Levels 1-3


1:32pm: Dang out, ElkY in
Di Dang has been eliminated by Jennifer Tilly over on Table 5. Meanwhile, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier just survived an all in against Chau Giang thanks to a well-timed heart flush.

We're on our first break of the day now. We'll get you updated chip counts on all remaining players at the start of the next level.

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Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier

1:29pm: Hellmuth hangs on
As we near the end of Level 3 and the first break, a short-stacked Phil Hellmuth was just all in versus Hoyt Corkins. Hellmuth had opened for a raise from the button, Corkins shoved from the big blind, and Hellmuth instacalled, tabling A♥K♦ to Corkins's humble 6♦4♠.

"Against Hoyt, I'd like to end this early," said Hellmuth, alluding to Corkins's track record of good fortune against the Poker Brat. The flop appeared to do just that, coming K♥9♥3♦. But the 5♠ brought an "ooh" from the crowd.

The river 6♣ paired Corkins but meant Hellmuth had survived. Hellmuth moves up to 27,500 on that one.

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1:19pm: Seiver steamrolling
Plenty of action going on over at table six. This time Sorel Mizzi opened the pot to 1,400 from the button. Team Pokerstars Pro Barry Greenstein reraised to 9,300 from the small blind. The big blind Scott Seiver thought for a moment before he announced a raise of 50,600. Mizzi folded and Greenstein committed the rest of his chips.

Seiver tabled Q♠Q♦, Greenstein held A♠K♦ and we're off to the races.

The board ran out 3♠[10h]J♠4♦6♣ and Seiver is awarded the first $5,000 bounty.

Seiver would also knock out Antonio Esfandiari the very next hand when he flopped two pair against Esfandiari's queen high. Seiver is now in command with just under 100,000 in chips.

1:12pm The Magician crippled
We picked up the action on the turn over at table six. With the board reading A♣7♦6♥Q♠, Antonio Esfandiari and Scott Seiver got all of their chips in the middle after a few raises back and forth.

Esfandiari showed A♠Q♣ for top two pair, but Seiver had him in bad shape with 7♠7♣ for a set of sevens. The river was the 3♣ and Esfandiari was left with just 1,800 in chips.

1:06pm: Raymer doubles
On Table 7, Greg Raymer just survived an all in after getting his stack in the middle with 7♠7♣ on a flop of 7♥K♥2♦ against Adam Richardson's A♥J♠. The turn was the J♥, bringing a sweat, but the 3♠ river meant Raymer had survived.

12:59pm: Tilly turning it on
Jennifer Tilly opened for a raise from middle position, and it folded to Joe Hachem who called from the big blind. The flop came J♠Q♥6♣. Hachem checked, Tilly continued with a bet, and Hachem called. The turn was the 9♥ and this time Hachem led out for 6,500. Tilly thought a moment, then called. The pot had grown to about 18,000.

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Jennifer Tilly

12:49pm: Dang Doubles
Over at table five, we found Di Dang opening the action to 1,000 from the button. J.C. Tran made the call from the small blind as did Joe Hachem from the big blind.

The flop came Q♠5♦4♠. Tran led out 1,500, Hachem folded. Dang thought for a while and announced a raise of 3,500. After a few moments of thought Tran reraised to 16,500 which was enough to put Dang all in. Dang made the call.

Tran: J♠9♠ for a flush draw
Dang: Q♥5♥ top two pair

"You run so good against me online, I don't think you can fade this. You owe me one" said Tran.

The turn was the A♥, and the river was the 2♦. Dang's hand held and he avoided elimination. He is now up to 33,000 while Tran slips to 18,000.

12:43pm: Mens sana in corpore sano for Hellmuth
"I have 14k... I should be frustrated. But I'm feeling great!"

So says Phil Hellmuth. Despite the tough start, Hellmuth says he's feeling good. He's mentioned his workout regimen a couple of times. And is demonstrating that he's eating healthy, too, having ordered a salad.

We'll see if he can make that chip stack start looking healthier here soon enough.

12:40pm: Table 7 counts
And here's what we're seeing over the shoulders of the camera crew on the feature table:

John Duthie - 33,000
Hoyt Corkins - 31,000
Adam Richardson - 30,000
Hevad Khan - 26,000
Steven Paul - 24,000
Greg Raymer - 17,000
Phil Hellmuth - 14,000

12:33pm: Table 5 counts
Looks as though Jennifer Tilly has taken the lead from Hachem. Again, these are approximate:

Jennifer Tilly - 41,000
Joe Hachem - 33,000
J.C. Tran - 27,000
Annie Duke - 23,000
Faraz Jaka - 22,000
Di Dang - 17,000
Vanessa Rousso - 12,000

12:24pm: Table 6 counts
We'll have exact chip counts at the first break (after Level 3), but here's an idea of what Table 6 looks like midway through Level 2:

Sorel Mizzi - 36,000
Antonio Esfandiari - 28,000
Bertrand Grospellier - 25,000
Scott Sevier - 26,000
Chau Giang - 24,000
Brian Rast - 22,000
Barry Greenstein - 12,000

12:16pm: Hachem leading the way
We picked up the action on the turn over at table five. With approximately 2,200 in the pot and the board reading 7♥7♦Q♥ 9♠, Team Pokerstars Pro Joe Hachem led out with a bet of 1,200. Fellow team pro Vanessa Rousso made the call. The river brought the Q♣ and both players checked.

Hachem tabled A♦7♠ for a full house, Rousso mucked.

"I'm such an idiot for not betting the river" claimed Hachem. His neighbor J.C. Tran noted "What if you bet and she raises? Then you're still an idiot". "Well I guess I'm an idiot either way" joked Hachem as he raked in his pot.

He is currently the chipleader at his table with approximately 39,000.

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Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem

12:05pm: Level 2 begins
Blinds 200-400 now, with a 50 ante. All 21 of our players still with chips.

12:02pm: Tilly active early on
Jennifer Tilly is continuing to be active on Table 5 as we near the end of Level 1. Just now she opened for 600 from early position, then Di Dang raised behind to 2,000. Faraz Jaka then repopped it to 5,000 from the button, prompting both players to fold.

Undeterred, Tilly raised again the next hand -- to 550 from UTG. Vanessa Rousso called, and it folded around to J.C. Tran who reraised to 2,050 from the button. The blinds got out, then Tilly pushed it to 6,550 total. Rousso folded, and Tran quickly relinquished his hand as well.

11:57am: Chau gets some magic
Over at table 5, Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari opened the action to 525 from middle position. Folded around to Chau Giang in the big blind, who then reraised to a meager 925. Esfandiari must have sensed some weakness, he four bet to a total 3,025. Giang made the call.

The flop fell Q♣4♦Q♦. Giang check called a bet of 3,600. The action slowed down when the 3♦ fell on the turn, both players would check. The river was the 9♣ and again both players checked.

Giang tabled J♠J♥ and The Magician mucked his hand. With that pot Giang is now just above 30,000 in chips.

11:51am: Hand in the cookie jar
Back to Table 7. With the board reading 2♥9♣3♥2♣5♥, Hoyt Corkins bet and Greg Raymer responded with a quick raise to 5,000. Corkins looked over at his opponent from underneath the brim of his characteristic cowboy hat and made the call.

"Ten high," said the captured Fossilman. Corkins showed a pair of eights to claim the pot.

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11:42am: Two pair for Paul
Action from Table 7. With the board showing Q♣4♣J♦2♥, Steven Paul bet, John Duthie raised to 3,025, and Paul called. The then river brought the 3♠. Paul checked, Duthie bet 3,100, and Paul made the call.

Paul showed Q♠J♦ for top two and Duthie mucked. Paul chips up above 30,000, while Duthie slips to 18,500.

11:39am: Better than average Joe
Over at Table 5, three players saw a flop come 7♥4♠7♣. Preflop raiser Vanessa Rousso continued with a bet, Joe Hachem called, and Jen Tilly folded. The turn was the 9♣, and both Rousso and Hachem checked.

The river brought the A♥. Rousso checked, and Hachem bet 3,750. Rousso thought a moment, then made the call. Hachem showed K♣7♦, prompting a "Wow" from Rousso. "Ace cost you?" asked Hachem. Rousso nodded in confirmation.

Hachem is up to 30,000 now, while Rousso slips down below 20,000.

11:32am: Mizzi takes early chip lead
Kicking off the action over at Table 6, we found Sorel Mizzi opening to a raise of 550 from early position. Team Pokerstars Pro Barry Greenstein reraised to a total of 1,700. Action folded back around to Mizzi, "Every time eh Barry?, ok I'll look you up" call.

The flop fell K♣3♥7♦. Mizzi checked, Greenstein bet 2,000, call. The turn brought the 7♥ and both players checked. The river was the 4♦, this time Mizzi led out 4,050 and Greenstein quickly called.

Mizzi tabled K♥Q♥ for two pair, Greenstein mucked. Sorel takes the early chiplead for his table and is up to 33,000.

11:28am: Setting in
Small steps here in the early going. Over on Table 5, Jen Tilly opened for a raise to 600 from UTG and got one caller in Di Dang. The flop came 3♣6♦6♥, Tilly continued with a bet of 1,000, and Dang folded. Incidentally, our three women in the Shootout all just happened to draw seats next to one another, with Tilly sitting between Annie Duke and Vanessa Rousso.

On Table 7 (the "feature table" of our three), the table folded around to Phil Hellmuth who opened for 600 from the button. Then Adam Richardson reraised to 1,700 from the small blind, prompting both Hoyt Corkins (BB) and Hellmuth to fold.

Everyone is still more or less near the starting stacks of 25,000.

11:23am: Shuffle up and deal
The first hands of the NAPT Venetian $25,000 Bounty Shootout are being dealt.

11:12am: Getting there
Players are starting to settle into their seats around the three tables that will be played here during the first flight of the day. Here is where they are being directed:

Table 5

1. J.C Tran
2. Joe Hachem
3. Annie Duke
4. Jennifer Tilly
5. Vanessa Rousso
6. Di Dang
7. Faraz Jaka

Table 6

1. Scott Seiver
2. Brian Rast
3. Chau Giang
4. Bertrand Grospellier
5. Antonio Esfandiari
6. Sorel Mizzi
7. Barry Greenstein

Table 7

1. Phil Hellmuth
2. Adam Richardson
3. Hoyt Corkins
4. Greg Raymer
5. John Duthie
6. Hevad Khan
7. Steven Paul (a.k.a. Steve Paul-Ambrose)

And here is the schedule of blinds/antes for today's Round 1:

Starting stack: 25,000
Time of level: 40 minutes; breaks after every 3 levels
Level 1: 100-200 blinds, 25 ante
Level 2: 200-400, 50
Level 3: 300-600, 75
Level 4: 400-800, 100
Level 5: 600-1,200, 100
Level 6: 800-1,600, 200
Level 7: 1,000-2,000, 200
Level 8: 1,200-2,400, 300
Level 9: 1,500-3,000, 300
Level 10: 2,000-4,000, 400
Level 11: 2,500-5,000, 500
Level 12: "Tournament Director Discretion"

We'll be letting you know of level changes and chip counts as we go here in the blog. Still a few minutes away. Stay tuned!

10:44am: High rolling in
Players are beginning to gather for interviews. The scheduled start is 11:00am, but with the television crews setting up it looks like we'll probably be some time after that before we get under way.

Winners of round 1 will be receiving $75,000. (The original plan had been $50,000 for getting through the first table, but that was changed.) Also up for grabs today will be those $5,000 bounties for each knockout, with the player eliminating the most of his or her opponents earning an extra $100,000.

Back in a few with table draws for Flight 1 and the first hands of the day.

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Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, shown here playing in the NAPT Venetian Main Event, will be one of 49 high rollers eyeing the prize in the $25K Bounty Shootout

NAPT Venetian $25,000 Bounty Shootout reporting comes courtesy of bloggers Martin Harris and Marc Hodge and photographer Joe Giron.