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2009 PCA: A few hundred to fight for three million

If we let our imaginations wander, we see a benevolent poker deity sitting on a cloud of cash with a quaint abacus at his fingertips. It is he who will decide for what these tenacious PCA runners will fight.

In our wildest of dreams we predicted a $2.5 million first prize. Even Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem called out at the welcome party that a $2.5 million prize would be a fanciful but happy result.

And so when the man from the cash clouds set aside his abacus and spoke from the mount, we dutifully fell over in shock and reverence.

The first prize of the 2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is something few tournament runners have ever seen.

Three. Million. Dollars.

The $12,674,000 prize pool means 199 of the starting 1,347 players will walk away with cash. The top three players will win at least one million bucks. No matter how you slice it, whoever wins this event will join poker's elite by week's end. Now, it is only a matter of determining who that person will be.

It is, without question, reason to celebrate (just as Victor Ramdin's table did with 21 minutes left in the night).

PCA09_10K_IJ2_4358.jpg

When Day 1A ended, Brazilian Felipe Ramos walked away with a staggering 360,000 chips. No one here today could eclipse that mark. Still, there are several players here who have more than enough chips to do significant damage to Ramos and the other 350-400 players.

Among those players is our apparent Day 1B chip leader Chris Fernandez, a 25-year-old from Toronto. The internet marketing company owner is here with his brother Chad and father Carlton, both of whom showed up late as to not jinx their kin. Fernandez ends the day on 280,000.

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Chris Fernandez

Other big stacks include the likes of Brad Henry, Alex Longobardi, Scott Bateson, Eric Lui, Brian England, and Chris Underwood.

While that list does not contain the names of the much-storied Team PokerStars Pros, there are more than a few who will be joining us on Day 2. Katja Thater, Humberto Brenes, Alex Gomes, and Andre Akkari are all coming back with a bag of chips.

Humberto Brenes

With only a couple of months in his datebook since winning the World Series Main Event, PokerStars Million Dollar Man Peter Eastgate came here today looking for another title. His quest is not over. He will also be coming back looking for more millions. He holds in the neighborhood of 70,000.

Peter Eastgate (right) keeping his poker face

Noah Boeken was celebrating his 28th birthday today. The party ended early as he and a handful of other Team PokerStars Pros found the rail. Among the departed Team Pros: Dario Minieri, defending PCA champion Betrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Isabelle Mercier, Chris Moneymaker, and Hevad Khan. Similarly situated are PokerStars Passport holder Dustin Mele, tennis star Boris Becker, PokerStars Six member Ivan Demidov, and 2006 EPT Grand Final winner Jeff Williams.

2008 PCA champion Betrand "ElkY" Grospellier

With the two flights of Day 1 now behind us, we can look forward to Wednesday's Day 2. Though we never make guarantees, it looks all but certain that we will hit the money (199 players) before the end of play. Of course, we will be here from the first flop to the last river.

For a complete look back at our coverage from Day 1B, see any of the links below. You can also see full coverage from Day 1A HERE.

Once more with feeling
Profile of Ricky "FiveFingerz" Puleo
Random? Rigged, more like
FPP value: Brandon Schaefer and Bernard Lee
Poker camp
Early musings
Thomas Kremser: Post useless without photos
Akkari's $1m year
$36 buys a good story
The post-modern American dream revisited
The Ballad of Apestyles and Maridu
Monique
The defending champ speaks
Railbirds flock to Dario
Champ down
Nice guys finish...
Post-dinner Team PokerStars Pro Update
BREAKING--$3 million first prize
It's that time again
Five from six
Late night musings
Moving pictures
Second
After midnight on Day 1B

The latest approximate chip counts are on the chip counts page. When the full official counts are released, we will post them in the same place. To see how the World Cup of Poker turns out, see the World Cup coverage on the PokerStars Blog. In fact, it's still going on live over at PokerStars.tv.

You can always look back at all the video blog coverage on PokerStars.tv or check out any of our foreign language live reporting at these sites: German, Swedish, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian and Polish.

To properly bookend this day end report, we suggest you go over and check out the 2009 PCA prizes page.

Three million bucks to first place.

That's something we can all dream about tonight.

See you back here at 12 noon for the kick off of the main event's Day 2 and the start of the $25,000 High Roller event.

All photos Joe Giron IMPDI and Neil Stoddart

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