The first of two starting flights for the Hollywood Poker Open Season 4 Championship Event drew 273 entries at the luxurious M Resort Spa Casino on Thursday.
With registration and unlimited reentries available all the way through the start of Day 2, the field built slowly, but built indeed, laying to waste the $2,500 buy-in event's $500,000 guarantee with one starting flight still to come.
With hundreds of qualifiers flying in from around the country, and a ton of top pros in Las Vegas looking for a chance to take a day off from the 2016 World Series of Poker and still grind, the Hollywood Poker Open Championship has traditionally drawn big numbers, and even more are expected Friday.
Through the first three seasons of this event, the average field size approached 700 entries with an average first-place prize of $340,000.
After 11 levels of play, Kansas City's Frank Patti grabbed the chip lead on over 250,000. Only Spain's Javier Gomez was really close.
Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
A total of 83 players survived the day, including top pros Jamie Rosen, Ray Henson, Randal Flowers, Steven van Zadelhoff, Aaron Mermelstein, Toby Lewis, Dan O'Brien, Shannon Shorr, Justin Oliver, Chris DeMaci, JP Kelly, Anthony Spinella, Michael Tureniec, Justin Young, and Neil Blumenfield.
The entire group will return to play Day 2 Saturday at 11 a.m. local time, but the HPO Season 4 Championship Event continues Friday with the second of two starting flights.
Play will kick off at 11 a.m. local time and PokerNews will be on hand to provide tournament coverage from start to finish.