On Monday, 528 players packed onto 54 tables for Day 1b of the PokerStars.net EPT Prague Season 9, and, combined with the 336 players from Day 1a, the final field across the two flights stood at a record 864 players, smashing the 722-player record from last year. The massive €835,000 first prize easily surpassed the €720,000 paid to the defending champ Martin Finger, who advanced to Day 2 in the first flight. After eight levels of play, Vadim Belov pipped Luis Rodriguez as the chip leader with 179,300 chips.
EPT Prague Day 1b Top 10 Counts
|3||Sergio Aido Espina||158,000|
|5||Manuel Cortada Dominguez||138,500|
|6||Michele di Lauro||133,900|
Rodriguez appeared as if he was going to end the day as leader after he won a huge pot versus Makarios Avramidis in an aces-versus-kings confrontation; however, he dropped back to 176,800 by night's end.
The play was frantic from the get-go, with "cooler hands" popping up all over the room, matching the temperature outside. Martin Hruby and Byron Kaverman were two players with high hopes for the tournament, but both busted in the same hand after both flopping sets on flop. Unfortunately for them, Mikita Badziakouski flopped a straight with and sent them both packing. Those sort of hands continued throughout the day as you can see in our Day 1b live reporting blog.
Team PokerStars Pro had 14 representatives in the field on Day 1b, but not all made it through the minefield. Dario Minieri, Dag Palovic, Max Martinez, Michael Keiner, Luca Pagano and EPT5 Prague champion Salvatore Bonavena all joined Hruby on the rail. Other players — Alex Kravchenko, Juan Manuel Pastor, Christian de Leon, Ville Wahlbeck, Pier Paolo Fabretti, Johnny Lodden and Ana Marquez — made it through to Day 2.
Those having to contend with the bulging side events this week after busting included former champions Kevin MacPhee, Benny Spindler, David Vamplew, Michael Tureniec and Davidi Kitai, along with Faraz Jaka, Max Silver, Lars Bonding, Elio Fox and Griffin Benger.
The remaining 462 players from both Day 1a and 1b will return for Day 2 on Tuesday at 1200 CET (0600 ET), and will make steady progress towards the 128 players that will leave with a minimum €8,000 payday. Here's a look at the final table payouts:
The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the action, which you can follow in our Live Reporting section.
Want to have your chance at an EPT title? You can qualify today by heading to the PokerStars review page, downloading the software and jumping in on the action!