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Hard Rock begins poker blitz

Its $10 million guaranteed main event won't start until Aug. 30, but the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will offer plenty of poker beginning Thursday.

That's when Event 1 of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open series begins. When the series debuted last year, Event 1 drew 3,391 entries (including rebuys), setting the stage for the biggest month of action the Hollywood card room has ever seen.

The $350 buy-in has six Day 1s, at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15 and Aug. 16.

Another big event will take place the following weekend, with Day 1s Aug. 21-23. Entry is $560, and prize money is guaranteed at $1 million.

Meanwhile, the card room offers satellite events for those who don't want to pay $5,300 to enter the $10 million guaranteed main event on Aug. 28. Most nights, there is either a $145 "first step" event that leads into a $575 qualifier, or the $575 event itself.

Also, the card room is giving away one $5,300 seat via a drawing to everyone who provides their name and e-mail at (Click on "Win a seat into the championship.") Entries are open until midnight Aug. 26.

Over the last six weeks, players that have garnered a full house or better or players that have met certain hours requirements received entries for drawings on Wednesday. That's when the card room gives away one $5,300 seat every hour for 10 hours starting at noon. There also will be a special $85 qualifier at 10 a.m., with 20 seats guaranteed for Event 1.

The main event, if you don't remember, smashed expectations last year. Entries reached 2,384, making for a prize pool of $11.7 million. Winner Blair Hinkle earned $1.7 million.

And last year's field of stars is expected to return. In fact, Phil Ivey Tweeted last week that he's playing.

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