The first day of the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Dortmund Main Event got off to a late start for the best of reasons – too many entrants. With longer registration lines than organizers expected, the tournament started an hour late. However, once the competitors took the field, everything ran smoothly for Day 1a. 198 top players from Europe and around the world descended upon the Hohensyburg Casino for Day 1a, including Juha Helppi, Alex Kravchenko, Julian Thew and Team PokerStars member Katja Thater.
The stacked field created some tough table draws, including one table with Juha Helppi, Alex Kravchenko and Gino Alacqua, the recent EPT Prague runner-up. Another tough table included Katja Thater, Sorel 'Imper1um' Mizzi and Italian pro Dario Minieri, who was an early casualty on the day. Minieri was crippled after a big hand with Switzerland's Claudio Rinaldi, and made his exit soon after. Sorel Mizzi then got into a big hand with Rinaldi when he picked up against Rinaldi's . Rinaldi raised, Mizzi re-raised, Rinaldi three-bet and Mizzi went all in. Rinaldi called, and when no ace appeared, Mizzi was left on a very short stack. He busted shortly afterwards.
Juha Helppi spent most of his day with Rob Hollink and Alex Kravchenko, with Katja Thater moving to this table later in the session. After building and losing a big stack early on Day 1a, Helppi managed a late double-up to stay in contention. Helppi got all in on a flop of holding , and found one caller with . Helppi faded the ten and survived to see Day 2.
Thater was another survivor of the day's action, despite being on a very short stack through the day's later levels. Thater ended the day with about 19,500 in chips after winning several pots during the day's last level. Another noted pro, Sweden's Mats Iremark, rode the rollercoaster by climbing to 52,000, dropping to 8,000, then making it all the way back up to 48,000 by the end of play.
75 players made it through Day 1a. Complete chip counts for the surviving players were unavailable as this story went live.