An oversold field landed in the Las Vegas Casino in Budapest, Hungary for the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Hungary stop. Like last month's EPT London, the initial field was capped at 500 entrants. And like in London, the demand for the event was so great that tournament organizers expanded the field to accommodate the players.
540 players eventually registered for the first-ever EPT event in Hungary, among them WSOP bracelet holders Katja Thater, Thomas Bihl and Annette Obrestad. Also taking the field on Day 1a were Luca Pagano, Marcel Luske, Arnaud Mattern and Javier "Anguila" Etayo. Among the local poker (and otherwise) celebrities in the field were cash-game specialist Attila Foris, LAPT Costa Rica champ Valdemar Kwaysser and Hungarian reality TV star Peter "Majka" Majoros.
By the end of Day 1a, only 90 players remained, as big names including Marcel Luske, Nicolas Levi, Barny Boatman and Dave Colclough headed to the rail. Betfair Sponsored Pro Annette Obrestad finished the day atop the leader board as the only player to break 100,000 in chips for the day. She was followed closely by 2007 EPT Prague champ Arnaud Mattern, Sorel Mizzi and Paul Testud.
Among the stars eliminated on Day 1a were Kwaysser, who ran into pocket kings while holding A-Q for the last of his chips. Also heading to the rail was Katja Thater, who busted when her pocket sevens couldn't outdraw Javier Etayo's pocket aces. Etayo was one of the last eliminations of the day when he lost a coin flip for all his chips just three hands before play ended on Day 1a.
Ludovic Lacay made a big comeback in one big hand when he doubled through Mikael Norinder. Lacay raised preflop with , and Norinder re-raised with . Lacay moved all in, and Norinder snap-called. The flop was a heart-breaking for Norinder as Lacay made quad tens for the double-up. The turn and river did not deliver running aces for Norinder, but he still finished the day with a healthy stack.
Arnaud Mattern took the chip lead early in the day and stayed near the top of the chip stacks all day. Just before an early break, Mattern moved all in over the top of an opponent's bet on a flop of . His opponent thought for a moment before folding face up, and Mattern tabled for the bigger overpair. Late in the day he secured a top spot on the leader board when he raised from late position with , only to find an opponent behind him move all in over the top. Mattern made the call to find himself facing , but the board ran out to make a straight and send his opponent packing. Mattern finished Day 1a second in chips to Annette Obrestad, as the top ten chip stacks looked like this:
Annette Obrestad - 101,300
Arnaud Mattern - 90,600
Sorel Mizzi - 74,950
Paul Testud - 66,500
Ionel Anton - 64,800
Jari Pekka Juhola - 61,700
Robert Andersson - 52,600
Brooke Hoerr - 51,600
William Fry - 50,900
Lajos Laszlo - 50,700
Join PokerNews on Wednesday at 1PM Budapest time for all the live updates on Day 1b from the Casino Las Vegas.