It's official - the tenth annual North Dakota Texas Hold 'Em "Free Roll" tournament has begun, and the Vegas Motel has already seen a larger turnout than expected.
Hands were dealt beginning at 6 tonight, with about 400 people signed up for the "free roll" part of the tournament.
Tonight's games don't count, but the top 10 land a free entrance into the 3 day tournament, starting tomorrow morning.
One Minot resident got lucky his first year playing, just 2 months after his 21st birthday, and says he's excited to see what this year has in store.
(Shane Duchsherer, Participant) "You know, I joined for the first time, and I started getting some good hands, and just kept playing. Everything worked out, I made the final table, and ended up taking second. So yeah, it was pretty crazy."
At the end of the tournament, the top 10 players win monetary prizes.
In past years, the first place winner has won over 50 thousand dollars.
But Duchsherer says that it's not necessarily the money that keeps most people coming back.
(Shane Duchsherer, Participant) "The biggest thing, like I said, is the atmosphere here. It's crazy, I mean it's like a big party. It's a big bang at the end of the year, and, you know, it's so much fun. And, you know, to go with it, you could get lucky and win some money. So it's a good time."
The free roll tournament ends tonight, and the rest begins tomorrow at noon at the Vegas Motel.