Season XI of the World Poker Tour continued on Monday with Day 1a action from the Venice Grand Prix. The tournament, which has graced the WPT schedule since Season VIII, took place at the oldest casino in the world — Casino di Venezia in Ca’ Vendramin Calergi. The first starting flight attracted 65 runners, and after eight levels of play, Stephen Behm emerged as the chip leader with 188,000 in chips. Coming in second in chips with 115,000 was two-time WPT champ Marvin Rettenmaier.
Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
The tournament attracted some notable players from around the world including Matt Salsberg, Kara Scott, Gaelle Baumann and WPT commentator and poker ambassador Mike Sexton, who was understandably excited to play.
Playing WPT Venice today. Don't get to play that much so I'm looking forward to it - especially because weather is wet and cold! #rungoodFollow @MikeSexton_WPT
In Level 3 (75/150/25), two WPT Champions Club members Guillaume Darcourt and Andrey Pateychuk clashed. The WPT Live Updates Team didn’t catch the hand as it happened, but they did learn some details from Pateychuk, who won the Season X WPT Prague. According to him, he flopped a set of eights on a flop and a raising war broke out. When a peeled off on the turn, Darcourt moved all in for roughly 18,000, and Pateychuk called. Darcourt turned over the for both a straight and flush draw, but the river blanked to send the Frenchman to the rail. Unfortunately for Pateychuk, he couldn’t put the chips to good use and failed to advance to Day 2.
Another player to hit the rail was 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Martin Staszko. It happened in Level 5 with the blinds at 150/300/50 when Staszko opened under the gun only to have Rettenmaier three-bet to 2,625. Staszko responded with a four-bet to 7,000, Rettenmaier called, and the flop came down the . Staszko led out for 7,500 and then made a hesitant called with the when Rettenmaier, who held the moved all in. Neither the turn nor river helped Staszko, and he was eliminated from the tournament.
Rettenmaier continued to roll in Level 6 (200/400/50). It happened when Mirco Prandini opened from the button, Rettenmaier called from the small blind, and Anssi Mustonen came along from the big. Two checks on the flop put action on Prandini, and he continuation-bet for 1,700. Rettenmaier proceeded to check-raise to 4,500, Mustonen three-bet to 11,000, and Prandini folded. Rettenmaier then moved all in and Mustonen called off his remaining 50,000 or so with the . Unfortunately for him, Rettenmaier held the nuts with the . With that hand, Rettenmaier chipped up to 135,000.
The only other man to do better than the young German was Behm, who took over the chip lead in Level 8 (300/600/75) thanks to a big hand against Dorin Rauta. In one of the last hands of the night, a flop of saw Estsathios Stamoulos bet 10,400 from the small blind, and both Rauta and Behm made the call. When the turned, Stamoulos checked, and Rauta moved all in for 37,025. Behm called, and Stamoulos got out of the way.
Both players had flopped flush draws, and while Rauta’s was inferior, he pulled ahead by pairing his jack on the turn. Behm was in need of either an ace or club on the river to take the pot, and he found the former when the spiked to send Rauta packing.
Other Day 1a eliminations included Andrea Dato, Benjamin Pollak, Henri Koivisto, Jackson Genovesi, Sandor Demjan, Sergio Castelluccio, Ludovic Lacay, Mario Adinolfi and Baumann.
Just 32 players advanced to Day 2 including Daniel Cates (13,000), Salsberg (15,900), Socrates Ioannides (20,500), John Eames (22,000), Alessio Isaia (40,000), Artem Litvinov (65,000) and Eddie Tasbas (65,000), just to name a few.
Day 1b will get underway at 15:00 CET, and since it’s a re-entry, expect many of the fallen to take another shot at the WPT Venice Grand Prix title. Oh, and one Mr. Phil Hellmuth is also confirmed to play. Stay tuned to PokerNews.com for a full recap of the day’s action upon completion of play.
Data and photo courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.