A host of the biggest names from Europe and the US took to the felt today for the first day of play in the PokerStars European Poker Tour London Championship. Among the stars putting up their £5,200 entry fee were 2003 WSOP Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker, 2007 WSOP bracelet winners Jeff Lisandro and Katja Thater and noted UK players Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott and Barny Boatman.
When the dust settled on Day 1a, it was Frenchman Nicolas Levi on top, sitting with the only 100,000+ chip stack in the room. Others near the chip lead included Moneymaker, Daniel Mangas and Dave 'El Blondie' Colclough.
The field at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London began to thin early, with one unfortunate eliminated on the first hand of the day. Michien Brummelhuis got all in with a set of eights, only to head to the rail when his opponent turned over a set of kings to bust him before he even got his seat warm.
Among notable players busting on Day 1a were Donnacha O'Dea, Harry Demetriou, Mickey Wernick and Katja Thater. Thater went out when she got all her chips in the middle holding on a flop of . Her opponent quickly called with , and no jack on the turn or river meant Thater exited early. Brandon Schaefer and 2006 EPT London Champion Vicky Coren were also eliminated on Day 1a.
Chris Moneymaker got off to a fast start early in the day, but then doubled up Willie Tann midway through the day to find himself clinging to his last few chips. Tann raised pre-flop and was called by Moneymaker and one other player. On the flop of , Tann led out and was called by both players. Tann shoved all-in on the turn , and Moneymaker was the lone caller with . Tann flipped over , and when the river was a blank Moneymaker was left with very few chips.
Moneymaker doubled up not long after when his held up against his opponent's , and he gradually rebuilt his stack to a solid standing by the end of the day. Shortly before play ended for the day, Moneymaker tangled with Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott, and sent the Devilfish to the rail when his aces held up against Ulliott's jacks.
Moneymaker and the rest of the survivors from Day 1a will return to play Day 2 on Thursday. Join PokerNews tomorrow at 1PM London time for all the live updates, interviews and chip counts from Day 1b of the EPT London Main Event at the Vic.