07/05/2014 04:37 EDT | Updated 09/04/2014 05:59 EDT

Cards in the air: World Series of Poker starts main event marathon toward $10M guaranteed win

Hundreds of poker players with dreams of World Series of Poker glory have started a marathon toward poker's richest prize — a guaranteed $10 million payday and a place in history among the winners of the main event.

The no-limit Texas Hold 'em main event started Saturday in Las Vegas with registration slightly up on the first of three starting days, with thousands more expected to start Sunday and Monday.

From millionaire card sharks to home-game amateurs, players are staking $10,000 for a shot at millions. Only 10 per cent of those who enter the tournament will win any money.

Canadian poker professional Daniel Negreanu of Toronto says it's a tournament about history, requiring smarts and stamina.

The last nine players will likely play at least 70 hours to reach the final table.