The first of two starting flights for the $1,000 buy in 2016 Seneca Fall Poker Classic Main Event drew 121 entries on the hotel balcony at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, New York on Friday.
They played through 15 total 40-minute levels, and when it was all said and done, 24 players pushed through to Sunday's second day.
Local star Alex Visbisky booked the overnight chip lead, as he has a habit of doing in the big events at Seneca.
Things started slowly all around, but midway through the day, Frank Monaco railed multiple Seneca Niagara title holder Buck Ramsay in a massive pot to take a big chip lead. He got it in on the turn with a set versus Ramsay's straight, but rivered a full house to drag the 145,000-chip bounty.
It wasn't long before Monaco found himself in another huge pot, getting it in for almost 400,000 versus Loai El-Ayday with aces over kings and holding.
At that point it appeared he would bag the chip lead with ease, but Visbisky kept coming on to make it close.
First, he busted Adam Foster with aces over ace-king to move over 200,000, then he took a massive pot off a once-healthily stacked Robert Petronio without showdown, displaying a series of check-raises that ultimately forced Petronio to fold on the river.
As the night wore on, Monaco slipped from the perch at the top of the leaderboard and Visbisky bagged the biggest stack at a whopping 434,000. Top local rounder Dan Wagner was also on the right side of variance all day to move up to a spot among the leaders once the flight was through.
While the survivors of this day will have to wait until Sunday to get back at it, the 2016 Seneca Fall Poker Classic Main Event will continue with its second and final starting flight beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
If last year's event is any indication, they may draw twice as many entries for that.
Plus, things are a little different this time around. CardPlayer magazine has come on as a title sponsor of the event, meaning there's more than just big money and Seneca Niagara poker glory on the line. This year's Seneca Fall Poker Classic Main Event winner will actually grace the cover of CardPlayer and tournament organizers are hoping that will be a draw.