PokerStars.net EPT London High Rollers, Day 1: Benyamine Tops Opening Session
With the World Series of Poker Europe finished and the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour London final table in progress, what better way for 85 of poker's biggest stars, champions and action junkies to spend a rainy Sunday than by playing the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour London £1 Million Showdown? The field of champions and stars included Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein and Tom Dwan, among others. World Champions abounded in the field, as Greg Raymer, Ferguson, Scotty Nguyen, John Juanda, Chris Moneymaker and Joe Hachem all took their shots at the £1 million guaranteed prize pool.
With so many tough players in the field, it was hard to pick one particular "Table of Death," but eventually Table 6 took the title, with this lineup:
Seat 1: Vicky Coren
Seat 2: Scott Fischman
Seat 3: Sorel Mizzi
Seat 4: Gus Hansen
Seat 5: Johan Van Til
Seat 6: Daniel Negreanu
Seat 7: Olof Thorson
Seat 8: Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier
Seat 9: Sandor Demjan
Daniel Negreanu stepped out to an early chip lead, which he held for much of the day before running out of steam late in the day and busting in 14th place.
Several players from the WSOP final table were in the field, including WSOP-Europe third-place finisher Ivan Demidov, Peter Eastgate, Ylon Schwartz, David "Chino" Rheem and WSOP final-table chip leader Dennis Phillips. Phillips was the only one of the November Nine to make it through Day 1, finishing with one of the shortest stacks as his compatriots all busted.
With such a stacked field, every elimination was a notable one, but some drew attention even in this star-studded field. Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Greg Raymer and Patrik Antonius all exited on Day 1, as did Joe Hachem. Hachem took a nasty beat at the hands of Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott when his A-K was cracked by Ulliott's A-7 on a board of Q-7-6-10-4, ending his day.
Building a big stack early was no guarantee of longevity, as one-time chip leader Alexander Kostritsyn headed to the rail near the end of Day 1. Most of his chips migrated to Scotty Nguyen's stack, as Nguyen finished the day in a very comfortable fourth place. Likewise, early ill fortune reversed itself as the day went on for Jason Mercier, who took some hits in the early rounds but chipped up nicely to end the day third in chips.
At the end of the day, it was David Benyamine with the big stack, taking a decent lead over Alexander Roumeliotis when all the chips were bagged. As the evening moved into the early morning hours, tournament directors decided to halt play after 11 levels rather than playing all the way down to the final table on Day 1, leaving 14 players alive for Day 2 play.
The chip stacks looked like this at the end of Day 1:
David Benyamine - 295,900
Alexander Roumeliotis - 229,400
Jason Mercier - 161,200
Scotty Nguyen - 159,100
Masaaki Kagawa - 159,000
John Juanda - 138,900
Michael Watson - 118,000
Peter Jetten - 105,100
Isabelle Mercier - 99,200
Isaac Haxton - 83,200
Dennis Phillips - 73,200
Ghassan Bitar - 58,700
Andrew Feldman - 33,000
Jani Sointula - 6,500
Join PokerNews at 1PM London time on Monday as the field thins to the top nine paid slots, and then to the eventual champion at the PokerStars.net £1 Million Showdown.