Action resumes Thursday at noon ET. Brad St. Vincent tops the counts.

Cherokee, N.C. (July 29, 2015) — Day 1 of the 2015 National Championship kicked off Wednesday at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina. The fifth installment of the one-of-a-kind event featured a guaranteed prize pool of at least $1,000,000 and granted free seats to 100 of the World Series of Poker Circuit’s top players. Additionally, the top 100 point earners from the previous year’s gold bracelet events were permitted to buy in for $10,000. When all was said and done, Day 1 saw a total of 122 players take their seats including the Circuit’s top points earner Paul Sokoloff, defending champion Dominik Nitsche and POY qualifiers Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth. When the dust settled, just 49 remained with Brad St. Vincent leading the way.

St. Vincent, who earned his berth via Casino Champion honors at Foxwoods, claims 178,800 to edge out second place David Peters who holds 168,400. The Circuit has a strong showing at the top of the counts as eight of the top 10 stacks belong to the tour’s qualifiers including Charles “Woody” Moore (159,900) who’s the only player to qualify for the season-ending championship in each of its five years. Those POY qualifiers to grace the top 10 include Peters and Loni Harwood (136,400).

Other notables still in the hunt include all-time ring leader Alex Masek (126,700), Josh Tuner (105,700), seven-time ring winner Ari Engel (100,400), Negreanu (93,400), Nitsche (90,800), Tristan Wade (51,100), Jeff Madsen (45,800) and Scott Clements (30,900).

The above player’s journeys to the National Championship began last year at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. and their trip continues Thursday on Day 2 at noon ET with blinds of 800/1,600 and a 200 ante. While their hopes of a gold bracelet are still alive, not all players were so lucky. Those whose fires were extinguished in the Smoky Mountains included Sokoloff, Hellmuth, Ryan Riess, Jake Bazeley, Valentin Vornicu, Doug Carli, John Holley, Shannon Shorr and Jesse Martin.

While Hellmuth’s participation in the event was much hyped, his shot a gold bracelet was short lived. The 14-time WSOP champion registered shortly after the dinner break and made it less than two levels before he met his demise at the hands of Justin Liberto.

Registration in the championship event closes when cards go back in the air tomorrow and complete prize pool information will be posted shortly thereafter.

Top 10 chip counts:

1. Brad St. Vincent - 178,800
2. David Peters - 168,400
3. Charles Moore - 159,900
4. Darryll Fish - 139,800
5. Loni Harwood - 136,400
6. Robert Hankins - 131,900
7. Alex Masek - 126,700
8. Jake Schindler - 123,900
9. Jesse Wilke - 119,800
10. Juan Mendoza - 116,500

Complete chip counts are available on