The fourth annual PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Grand Final got underway in Monte Carlo on Saturday. Nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Southern Alps, 392 players took the field Day 1a, with an even larger field size expected for Day 1b play. Many of the world's greatest players were on hand for the €10,000 buy-in event, including former WSOP Champion Greg Raymer, WSOP European Champion Annette Obrestad, Eli Elezra, Phil Ivey, Thomas Wahlroos, Erick Lindgren, Jeffrey Lisandro, Bill Edler, Patrik Antonius, Freddy Deeb, Thierry van der Berg, Katja Thater, David Colclough, Johnny Lodden, Barry Greenstein and many more. But as the day came to a close, only 180 players remained, with many of those same names sent to the rail.
Torben Hubertz, founder of T6Poker.com, was one of the first to be eliminated when he ran his pocket jacks into an opponent's pocket aces. Tony G fell when his turned flush draw failed to improve against Christian Togsverd's set. Phil Ivey lost a good part of his stack to an opponent with trips and subsequently lost it all on a hand where his flopped two pair couldn't overcome an opponent's flopped set. Team PokerStars member Katja Thater was eliminated right before the dinner break when all her chips went in on turn with a board of . Thater's needed help to overcome her opponent's , but the river wasn't it.
Roland de Wolfe said goodbye when he shoved his remaining chips with on a flop of , only to get called by Mostafa Belkhayate's ; no salvation came for de Wolfe with the remainder of the board. 2005 EPT Grand Final Champion Rob Hollink also lost his chance at another title today. Other players that were unable to navigate their way to a second day of play included Annette Obrestad, Greg Raymer, Isabelle Mercier, David Colclough, Erick Lindgren, Jeffrey Lisandro, Andreas Hoivold and Tuan Lam.
Although the final chip counts are still pending, Norway's Stephan Kjerstad was reported to have about six figures in his stack, making him the likely candidate for the Day 1a's chip leader. Johnny Lodden spent most of the day hovering at the top of the leader board, which is where he'll pick up again on Day 2. Connor Driman, Mostafa Belkhayate, and Shaun Deeb also accumulated healthy chip stacks to end Day 1a.
Join PokerNews for Day 1b action, starting tomorrow at 1:00 pm local time.