A group of 49 of the wealthiest and best poker players on the planet descended upon the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon for the opening day of the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl.
The $300,000 negative-rake event, featuring a $15,000,000 prize pool, kicked off just after 1 p.m. local time and it didn't take long before the first player fell.
Jason Mercier took a huge chunk out of Antonio Esfandiari's stack in the early part of the first level, and by the end of it, Esfandiari ran queens into 2015 Super High Roller Bowl champ Brian Rast's big slick. Rast spiked a king on the river, and before the first 75 minutes were up, Esfandiari was out.
Igor Kurganov was the next to go, calling off with top pair against a Dan Smith boat in Level 2, and before long, Isaac Haxton, Christoph Vogelsang, David Einhorn, Brandon Steven, and 2015 Super High Roller Bowl runner-up Scott Seiver joined them on the rail.
Others who busted in the latter half of the seven-level day included 2016 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker $10,000 Main Event champion Talal Shakerchi, sports-betting sharp Haralabos Voulgaris, businessman John Morgan, and high roller regs Connor Drinan, Jason Les, and Sam Soverel.
Twitter beef foes Mercier and Doug Polk spent most of the day seated right beside one another, with Mercier building a big stack and Polk heading into the last level short. Eventually, Mercier was moved, and Polk joined the group on the outside looking in soon after.
2014 Big One For One Drop winner Daniel Colman, and that particular event's runner up, the one and only Daniel Negreanu, also had solid days, booking spots among the bigger stacks.
But this day truly belonged Russian Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov, who finished fourth in this event last year, and is just two days removed from a $748,446 win in a $50,000 Super High Roller here at ARIA.
Kuznetsov bagged 1,129,500 and will lead the 35 players remaining when Day 2 kicks off just after 1 p.m. on Monday, with plans to play seven more levels.
*Lead photo credited to Joe Giron of PokerPhotoArchive.com.
Of course, the PokerNews Live Reporting team will be back at that time to provide live updates from start to finish and you are welcome to follow it all, right here in this space.