It was a star-studded weekend of poker in Las Vegas, as PokerStars.net brought its North American Poker Tour to the Venetian.
The tournament’s main event kicked off Saturday, with the final table scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24. A total of 872 players anteed up $5,000 apiece to create a total prize pool of $4,017,740. The overall winner will walk away with $827,648.
The weekend actually kicked off Friday with a celebrity charity poker tournament, which raised over $42,000 for Three Square, a Las Vegas charity that helps feed needy people.
Among the stars who participated were "Seinfeld’s" Jason Alexander (pictured), Christian Slater, Lou Diamond Phillips, Playboy Playmate Joanna Krupa, Brad Garrett, Montel Williams and Slash.
A roster of top poker pros also played in the $500 entry event, including Daniel Negreanu, WSOP champ Joe Cada, Gavin Griffin, Dennis Phillips, Chris Moneymaker and Vanessa Rousso.
The $5,000 main event filled the Venetian poker room, with play actually spilling over into tables just outside the sprawling poker room.
The chip leader at the end of Day 1 was local Las Vegas Andy Seth, with former WSOP champ Chris Moneymaker in second place.
Other pros to survive the first day of action (477 made the cut) were Vanessa Rousso, Daniel Negreanu, Joe Cada, Barry Greenstein, Greg Raymer, Jason Mercier, Tom McEvoy and Dennis Phillips.
Also surviving the first day’s action was former Dodger great Orel Hershiser.
There was quite a bit of fallout on Day 2 (Sunday), as the field was trimmed down to 101 players. Moneymaker, Negreanu, Cada, Greenstein and Phillips were knocked out, but Raymer, Rousso, McEvoy were still in the hunt, along with other experienced pros Nam Le, John Cernuto, Steve O’Dwyer and Men "the Master" Nguyen.
In addition to the main event, there will be a $25,000 Invitational High Roller Bounty Shootout on Tuesday and Thursday. The event will feature 64 of the best players in the world playing in a standard No Limit Hold’em poker game, but with a couple of twists.
First, it’s a shoot-out event. Plus every player will have a $5,000 bounty on his head. Plus PokerStars.net is adding $100,000 to pay off whoever scores the most bounties.
All the finalists will get $50,000. The remainder of the prize pool (less all the bounties) goes to the winner.
For those unable to attend the event at the Venetian, the main event final table and High Roller Bounty Shootout will be televised live on www.napt.com/tv.
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