NAPT Venetian: Day 1, levels 5 and 6 (200-400-50)


6:49pm: Last break
With six levels complete, we have reached our last break of the day.

6:40pm: You want numbers? We got your numbers right here...

The first North American Poker Tour stop at the Venetian in Las Vegas had its challenges. Not only was it the inaugural NAPT event, which presents its own variables, but it was in direct competition with other tournaments in other cities...and in other countries for that matter. But as soon as registration numbers began to add up this morning, it was evident that any worries about the size or quality of the field were unwarranted.

Okay! We'll stop with the chatter and get to the numbers.

There were 872 players registered to play in the NAPT Venetian event, which created a prize pool of $4,017,740. Out of that substantial sum of money, the last 128 players with chips will receive a portion of that prize money. The 128th place finisher will receive $7,232, but take it up a few notches and the first place finisher will take home $827,648.

Not bad for a $5,000 investment. Click here for more prize pool information.

6:33pm: How much was that?
Not uncommon around the tables to hear dealers announcing bet sizes loudly for players, mainly because from a distance it isn't always obvious what denomination chips are being pushed forward. Here, have a look yourself:

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6:29pm: Opponent fires, Magriel ducks
Paul "X-22" Magriel -- the man after whom is named Harrington's "M" and occasional caller of "quack quack" at the tables -- opened with a raise to 2,200 from the cutoff, and got one caller in the player on the button. The flop then came 6♥7♥A♥. We know Magriel loves to make bets like 2,200. But did he love those hearts?

He checked, and so we weren't sure yet. His opponent then fired 5,000, and the frustrated look on Magriel's face began to indicate where he stood on that flop. He covered his face with his hands, then sat back. His t-shirt read "I'm all in" -- and indeed, with just about 12,000 behind, to continue with this hand probably meant he'd be just that. Finally he folded, wincing a little when his opponent showed one card, the A♠.

6:26pm: GG takes a hit
And he's not at all pleased about it.

On a flop of 9♥ J♦ 8♥, Gavin Griffin bet 4,200, and his opponent hesitated but called. When the 8♠ hit on the turn, both players checked. But when J♣ made itself into the river card, Griffin checked, and his opponent carefully sized up Griffin's stack before betting 6,000. Griffin tanked for a few moments and mucked his cards, clearly frustrated.

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Gavin Griffin

6:22pm: Bidding goodbye
We now must say goodbye to both Gavin Smith and Hevad Khan. Both have left the building.

6:21pm: Confidence in multi-tabling
Suspected chip-leader Andy Seth is happy with his 120,000 for now. He's gone up to his suite to play online poker for a while.

6:16pm: The games world champions play
It was not so long ago that WSOP champions Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer found themselves in a PLO tournament on PokerStars. Raymer had a pretty nice stack, but noticed Moneymaker had an obscene chip lead. Raymer, always the jokester, dropped in on Moneymaker's table and announced, "I'm going to catch up."

And so began a back and forth game. Raymer took the lead, then Moneymaker came bac. Each time they'd go into the other's chat box and poke fun at each other. (In the end, Raymer took fifth and Moneymaker finished just short of the final table).

Both world champions are in the field today, and earlier they started to exchange friendly texts with what had been going on in their tournament. That's when Moneymaker suggested, "We could play our catch-up game."

And it was on. Raymer announced his 37,000. Moneymaker made it to 41,000 and texted back, "Tag. You're it." Raymer fought back to 50,000 and held the texting fort down until Moneymaker shot back, "76K."

Raymer could only respond, "Sick."

That was until Raymer's last report a few minutes ago.


Mr. Moneymaker, the action is on you.

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6:03pm: Raising Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth appears settled in, ready to try to make something of the depleted chip stack to which he arrived. Just now he opened with a raise to 1,000 from early position, getting one caller from the cutoff seat. The flop brought three big red cards -- J♥A♦[10h] -- and Hellmuth paused just a beat before tossing out chips.

"How much?" asked his opponent. "600," said the dealer. "C-bet," clarified the Poker Brat with an ambiguous grin, to which came a fold. Hellmuth looks to have around 20,000 at the moment.

5:56pm: Pokerkat pounces
After a player in the hijack seat made a standard raise, Kathy Liebert reraised for 2,800 more from the cutoff. It folded back around and her opponent made the call. The flop came [10h]2♣9♥ and Liebert's opponent checked. After a moment's reflection, Liebert fired 5,500. Her opponent leaned forward, and she separated her remaining chips out for him to see -- about 16,000 left.

He sat back up, then pushed his cards forward. Liebert is back to 25,000.

5:45pm: Level up
We're now playing at 200-400-50.

5:38pm: Rousso good
Four players, including Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso in early position, saw a flop come 6♣3♥A♦, and all four checked. The turn was the 7♠, at which point Rousso decided to take the initiative and bet 2,400. She got one caller from the player on the button.

The river was K♥, and Rousso thought a moment before checking. Her opponent checked as well, and she showed 8♣8♦. "Double-gutter," said the button as he tossed his cards into the muck, giving everyone a little puzzle to ponder.

Rousso looks to have an above average stack of about 40,000.

5:32pm: Hoivold finds fold
Andreas Hoivold raised from early position, and three opponents ended up coming along with him to see the 3♠2♦J♠ flop. It checked to Hoivold who bet 1,800 (about half the pot), and two players -- both with position on him -- called.

The turn brought the K♦. Hoivold quickly bet 3,000, and just as quickly the player to his left raised to 10,000. The third player folded, and Hoivold considered the situation. He asked what his opponent had behind -- not much. That bet had essentially said he was all in.

After a minute or so, Hoivold had made his conclusion. "I know you have king-jack," he said, folding his A♣K♠ face up. His opponent didn't show, but nodded in agreement.

About that time the cocktail waitress came by. "Anyone want a cocktail?" asked the dealer. The winner jerked a thumb at Hoivold, saying "Maybe this guy?" Hoivold smiled good-naturedly in response. He still has about an average stack of 35,000.

5:25pm: Greenstein doubles
After running his ace-high flush into a full-house a while ago, Barry Greenstein has doubled up. He called in the small blind with 8♣6♣ against Mohsin Charania's 5♠5♣. After a flop of A♥7♣[5♥, they saw the 4♣ turn and the money went in. Greenstein's straight held and he's up to 49,000.

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Barry Greenstein

I called in the small blind with 8c6c vs Mohsin's 5s5c. Board Ah7c5h4cJh. All in on turn. I have 49k.

5:19pm: And the award for best defense of profanity
In our wanderings though the room, we heard a player ask, "Why to you have to be such a D#*&?!!"

The dealer admonished the player, "Language!"

"I'm using it to emphasize a point in a story," the player explained. "I'm not directing it at anyone. I feel the story is made stronger by..."

The dealer was having none of it. Nice try, though.

5:18pm: Chino gone-o
In further empty-seat reports, we regret to inform fans of Chino Rheem that their man has left the building.

5:12pm: Suspected of the chip lead
We are making no promises (except to have and hold in time of sickness and health and all that), but we're going to put the chip lead on Andy "BKiCe" Seth. He's reporting in at 120,000, which is bigger than anything we've counted so far this afternoon.

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Andy Seth

5:00pm: Comings and goings
Finally, at long last, for the love of all that's holy, Phill Hellmuth has arrived. He's sitting with Kathy Leibert and Eric Levesque.

Meanwhile, we've lost Jeff Sarwer. We can't guarantee he's been eliminated, but the absence of chips in front of his chair (not to mention, the absence of Sarwer's rear end in his chair) leads us to believe he is gone.

We've also lost John Duthie. He never recovered from the early level disasters and is gone.

4:36pm: Halfway through
This is that fun point in the day when we've played exactly half the amount of poker we're going to play for the day. To celebrate, we're not raising the blinds and adding just a little 25 ante.

If that doesn't make you happy, how about a photo of a very serious-looking Joe Hachem.

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NAPT Venetian reporting comes courtesy of bloggers Martin Harris, Jennifer Newell, Brad Willis and photographer Joe Giron.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in North American Poker Tour