The Main Event of the World Series of Poker Europe kicked off on Tuesday, with players from all over the world in London for the start of the £10,000 No Limit Hold Em tournament. Former WSOP champions, online superstars and internet qualifiers all lined up for their shot at the gold bracelet in an event so large that one casino couldn't hold all the action. Players were divided up among three different card rooms to accommodate the crowds.
Players such as Barry Greenstein, Patrick Bruel, Thor Hansen and William Thorson took to the felt at the Empire Casino, while online superstars Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi and Brian Townsend joined Lee Watkinson, Erik Seidel and Nikolaus Jedlicka at the Fifty Casino. There was plenty of star power at the Sportsman Casino as well, as Paul Wasicka, Annie Duke, Humberto Brenes and David Williams joined David "Devilfish' Ulliott at the casino in Marble Arch.
The Fifty saw some impressive table draws, with Gus Hansen, Farzad Bonyadi, Brandon Adams, Liz Lieu, and John Juanda all at the same table to start the day. 2007 WSOP bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro joined 1999 World Champion Noel Furlong and 2004 World Champion Greg Raymer around the same table, while 2007 bracelet winner Robert Mizrachi joined Gary 'The Choirboy' Jones, who made the final table in the £2,500 HORSE event earlier this week and top French player Pascal Perrault at a table.
Phil Hellmuth made his typical grand entrance, riding a red double-decker bus to the tournament and arriving flanked by 11 scantily clad beauties, one for each of his WSOP bracelets. Hellmuth got good value for his grand entrance, finishing the day near the top of the leader board. A host of other superstars weren't so lucky, as Todd Brunson, Freddy Deeb, Andy Bloch, John Juanda and £2,500 HORSE winner Thomas 'Buzzer' Bihl were all eliminated on Day 1a.
After a blazing start, Michael 'The Grinder' Mizrachi was eliminated midway through Day 1a. On a flop of , Grinder checked and Husevin Yilmaz led out, Annie Duke folded and the Grinder raised. Yilmaz called, then went all in over the top of Mizrachi's check-raise when the came on the turn. Mizrachi called and tabled for a flopped set, but was drawing to one out when Yilmaz revealed for a bigger flopped set. The on the river sealed Mizrachi's fate, and he was eliminated.
Young Italian internet superstar Dario Minieri pushed his into Humbeto Brenes' , and went to the rail when Brenes caught a king on the flop. Liz Lieu was also among the Day 1a casualties, getting all her chips in the middle with on a board of , only to be called by an opponent with for a turned straight. Lieu was drawing dead on the turn and went to the rail late on Day 1a.
As play wound down for the day and chip stacks grew or evaporated, some familiar trends began to emerge. Phil Hellmuth finished Day 1a with the chip lead at the Empire, as he strives to become the first intercontinental Main Event Champion. Gary Jones and Jennifer Harman finished near the top of the leader board in their respective card rooms, continuing a week of powerful play in the WSOP Europe, and Annette 'Annette_15' Obrestad finished up in a strong position after Day 1a, joining the growing list of internet stars that have found success in live tournament play. Janne Lamsa, playing at the Fifty, garnered 115,850 in chips to grab the overall lead for Day 1a starters.
These were the top ten chip counts from each casino at the end of Day 1a.
The chip counts from the floor of the Sportsman:
Huseyin Yilmaz — 99,575
Simon Wing — 64,150
Terry Cook — 63,700
Ram Vaswani — 61,050
Joseph Serock — 60,450
Francisco Lopez Martos — 57,775
Martin Filipsen — 57,400
Humberto Brenes — 56,200
Panikidis Konstantinos — 54,625
William Durkee — 48,750
The chip counts from the floor of the Fifty:
Janne Lamsa — 115,850
Priyan De Mel — 67,900
Gary Jones — 65,425
Paul Ephremsen — 64,875
Dave Colclough — 54,100
Jeff Garza — 48,375
Neil Pearson — 47,650
Gus Hansen — 46,925
Neel Chudasama — 46,925
Krzysztof Gluszko — 46,725
The chip counts from the floor of The Empire:
Phil Hellmuth — 82,825
Andrew Feldman — 76,650
Patrick Bruel — 71,225
Jennifer Harman — 48,500
Ian Munns — 47,725
Thor Hansen — 44,600
Annette Obrestad — 43,375
Erick Lindgren — 42,028
Sarah Taylor — 41,775
Rehne Pedersen — 38,875
Other players who finished Day 1a in good position included Greg Raymer, David 'Devilfish' Ulliott, Annie Duke, Erik Seidel and Barry Greenstein.
Join PokerNews at 2PM local time for all the interviews and live updates from Day 1b of the WSOP Europe Main Event.