Day 1b of the PokerStars EPT Barcelona tournament featured both more big names and more players overall than Day 1a. 279 players from around the world joined the 264 that competed Tuesday in the first stop on the European Poker Tour's fourth season at the Casino de Barcelona. Players went through nine levels of play to thin the field to 110 remaining players, who will join the survivors from Day 1a in today's combined Day 2.
Notable competitors on Day 1b included 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Chan, 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Raymer, Patrik Antonius, David 'El Blondie' Colclough, Humberto Brenes and Dag Martin Mikkelsen. Dario Minieri, who led the field at several points in the 2007 WSOP Main Event, was very active early, scooping several sizable pots in the early levels before running pocket eights into pocket nines on a 7-high board and heading to the rail shortly after the dinner break.
With 543 total players, the prize pool was a very respectable €1,170,700 for first place. The top 54 players will cash, with €10,500 for the bottom-tier finishers. Johnny Chan made moves early to lay claim to that first-place money, building a big stack in first rounds until an opponent dented his stack with a rivered flush. Chan rebounded to finish among the top chip leaders, but his WSOP world-champ cohort Greg Raymer was not as fortunate.
'Fossilman' went to dinner break with the bad taste of a flush-over-flush hand in his mouth, and came back to lose with pocket jacks in back-to-back hands shortly after the break. In the first hand, his opponent moved all in preflop with K-J and caught a four-flush to cripple the former champ. Raymer moved all in with jacks again on the next hand, and was eliminated when his opponent paired his queen on the river.
2005 EPT Barcelona Champion Jan Boubli was eliminated when he pushed his short stack all in on a draw against a flopped monster. Boubli checked his big blind, and called a bet from Luca Pagano in the small blind on the flop of . The button, who had limped in pre-flop, min-raised, and Pagano folded. Boubli moved all in with for an open-ended straight draw, but was drawing to a chop against the button's . The turn and river didn't help Boubli and the 2005 champ went to the rail.
The worldwide flavor of the EPT was on full display. Two of Finland's top poker players, Juha Helppi and Thomas Wahlroos, were seated at the same table for the early part of the day. The countrymen didn't hold anything back, as Wahlroos eliminated Helppi on his way to the top of the leader board.
Italians Luca Pagano and Dario Minieri joined Canadians Danieal Negreanu and Isabelle Mercier, Americans such as Terrance Chan and Raymer, and British players including Ross Boatman and Dave Colclough, who recently took down one of the NPL UK Open events, but would fall in the early going here. Costa Rica's Humberto Brenes joined the field in Day 1b, but 'The Shark' went to the rail when he rain into pocket queens and couldn't improve enough to win the hand.
Liz Lieu still had chips when the day's play ended, but she wasn't there to play them. She was called away from the event by a family emergency, leaving her stack to be blinded off. She finished the day with a relatively healthy 8,500 chips, though it is unknown when or if she can return.
As the day wound down and the chip leaders consolidated their positions, the last few notables took their stand, looking to double up or get tomorrow off. Ross Boatman of Hendon Mob fame was eliminated when he got all his chips in pre-flop with against an opponent holding . Boatman lost his coin flip on the turn when the board of made his opponent's straight. The on the river helped no one, and Boatman was eliminated. Rolf Slotbloom was eliminated shortly thereafter when his 9-9 couldn't hold up against his opponent's A-10 when a ten on the river appeared.
Among those positioned well at the end of the day's play were Thomas Wahlroos, Patrik Antonius, Johnny Chan, Dag Martin Mikkelsen and Fabrice Soulier. Preliminary chip reports had the following players among the leaders:
Dan 'Ansky' Stern – 99,000
Thomas Wahlroos – 92,000
Fabrice Soulier – 70,000
Patrik Antonius – 45,000
Dag Martin Mikkelsen – 37,000
Johnny Chan – 35,000
Theo Jorgensen – 35,000
Adam Junglen – 34,000
Jan Sjavik – 30,000
Thor Hansen – 24,000
Other notable players returning for Day 2 include Daniel Negreanu, Jeff 'ActionJeff' Garza and Rene Mouritsen. Join PokerNews at 5PM Barcelona time (noon ET) for chip counts, live updates and interviews as the remaining 212 players vie for the EPT Barcelona championship and the €1,170,700 first place prize money.