NAPT Venetian: The perfect party

napt-thumb.jpgAnyone who has ever thrown a party has shared the same anxiety.

What if no one comes?

What if too many people come?

What if I didn't buy enough bean dip?

It's a nerve-rattling time, and one that can only be soothed when everything turns out to perfection.

The North American Poker Tour is a new venture. It's the world's newest poker party, and if put in the wrong hands, it could've been a flop. Many tours before it have gone belly-up in the time it takes to deal one orbit. In uncertain times, the idea of starting something new in the poker capital of the universe was a risky proposition.

And so we all waited to see what would happen. With not even two months' notice, the NAPT Venetian event registration list began to grow. And grow. And grow. By the time buy-ins were cut off this afternoon, 872 people had put up $5,000 to create a prize pool of more than $4 million. The Venetian had just enough seats and chips for everybody.

In short, it was perfect.

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All day long, people walked around with a faint smile on their face. It couldn't be this good, could it? What is effectively the first new event of a brand new tour...could it possibly be that it basically sold out and went exactly as its organizers hoped?

In fact, the answer is yes.

As we end this first day of the NAPT Venetian Main Event, we can tip our hats to Andy "BKiCe" Seth, the man who we believe is walking away with the Day 1 chip lead. He finished with 247,600 in chips. So confident was he in his lead and game today, he actually took a break to go back and play online for a while.

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Andy Seth

Among the people chasing Seth are Phil Collins (not the singer, but with talent to crack aces with kings) who finished up with 227,900, and Mark Ketteringham who ended with 211,000.

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Phil Collins

Just a step off the pace is a name you will know well. 2003 World Series champion Chris Moneymaker went on a tear today that had him ending with 207,300. He leads a small army of Team PokerStars Pros who finished among the final 510 players. It was as if the North American Team Pros came today to show how well they play on their home turf. Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Vanessa Rousso, Tom McEvoy, Steve Paul-Ambrose, Dennis Phillips, Victor Ramdin, Jason Mercier, and Kevin Schaffel are all marching to Day 2 with chips.

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Chris Moneymaker

And, as long as we are willfully cheerleading, let's hear it for this structure. People had enough chips today to play the game and we lost precious little of the field. In fact, the structure worked out so well that these cushy little ten-hour days are probably just going to be a happy memory come this time tomorrow. We're scheduled to finish this event by Wednesday. Right now, that seems like a long way off, but we still have a lot of players in the field. No word yet on how long we'll be playing on Sunday, but we're going to go to bed early just in case.

As the bagging and tagging of chips begins, The Venetian folks (who are capable as they come) have a Herculean task ahead of them. It could take hours, but we know we'll get an official chip count at some point before morning. When we do, we'll post it right here.

If you'd like a look at how people will get paid, see our NAPT Venetian Prize Pool and Winners page.

For a complete look back at how Day 1 played out, check out all our live coverage below.

First flop to fall in Las Vegas
Levels 1 and 2
Levels 3 and 4
Levels 5 and 6
Levels 7 and 8

All photography © Joe Giron

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Brad Willis
@BradWillis in North American Poker Tour