Day 1 of the Hollywood Poker Open Season 3 St. Louis Regional Main Event drew 173 entries to the Hollywood Casino in St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday. But by the time 14 levels were through, just 25 remained.
Late in the day, 2014 World Series of Poker bracelet winner Kyle Cartwright grabbed the chip lead, stacking a player with a turned straight against rivered top two pair and never looked back. He kept his foot firmly on the gas through the last two levels of the night and by the time it was all said and done, he bagged a massive 532,000-chip stack.
Day 1 Top 10 Chip Counts
The last time the HPO came to St. Louis, it was HPO ambassador and 2003 WSOP Main Event champ Chris Moneymaker who bested a field of 67 to take home the $36,259 first-place prize. Coming off a final table appearance at HPO Grantville, he showed up loaded for bear and flirted with the lead in the middling levels after firing a second bullet in defense of his title. A misstep with ace-king all in preflop against aces saw Moneymaker dip down under 100,000 in chips as the day moved on, but he managed to right the ship and bag 86,500, retaining a shot at it when play resumes Sunday.
St. Louis local and 2008 European Poker Tour Copenhagen champ Tim Vance made some noise as well, grabbing the chip lead at one point as the day wore on, but he lost a flip to come back down to Earth. He bagged 143,000 when play ended just after 2 a.m. local time.
The $173,000 prize pool will pay the top 15 spots and they should hit the money early Sunday. Those hunting the $48,440 first-place prize will have to stick around a while longer, however, but we doubt they'll be complaining about that.
Play begins at 12 p.m. local time with plans to play all the way down to a winner. As always, the PokerNews Live Reporting team will be on hand to capture all the action from start to finish, so stay tuned for more coverage from the Gateway to the West.