The turnout was strong for Day 1a of the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Prague Main Event, with 272 players from all over the world taking part. Among the players in the first flight were EPT London champion Michael Martin and defending EPT Prague champion Arnaud Mattern. Also in the field were WSOP Europe bracelet winner Theo Jorgensen, along with Rolf Slotboom, Marcus Golser and Gus Hansen.
The bustouts were plentiful, with only 88 of the original 272 players still standing at the end of Day 1a. Among the early exits was Slotboom, who found himself crippled early when his pocket kings were cracked by an opponent's A-Q on a board of A-9-8-Q. No king showed on the river, and Slotboom was left with barely a blind. His last few chips went in shortly after, and he couldn't dig himself out of that early deficit, busting in one of the first levels.
Also heading to the rail on Day 1a were EPT Player of the Year Luca Pagano, Michael Martin, Marcus Golser and 2007 EPT Prague champ Arnaud Mattern. Mattern raised preflop with and found two callers to a flop. Mattern led out again, and was called again by two opponents. Mattern checked the turn, and the first opponent led out. The second opponent smooth-called, and Mattern moved all in over the top. The first opponent folded, but the second opponent called with . Mattern had plenty of outs with two live cards and the nut flush draw, but the river bricked out and guaranteed a new champion for this year's event. Also headed to the rail late on Day 1a were Gus Hansen, Trond Eidsvig and Theo Jorgensen.
One player who had better luck on the first day was Ludovic Lacay, who finished Day 1a atop the leader board. Lacay made a late surge, sparked when his pocket queens held up against Otto Richard's A-K for a key double up. As the day drew to a close, it was once again Richard who lost a huge pot to Lacay to secure his chip lead. After several back-and-forth raises and re-raises, all the money went in preflop, and Richard tabled . He then had to watch as Lacay tabled , and the board ran out to give Lacay another huge pot at Richard's expense, along with the chip lead at the end of the day. Other notable survivors from Day 1a included EPT Barcelona winner Sebastian Ruthenberg, Soren Kongsgaard, Johnny Lodden, Gino Alacqua and Casey Kastle.
Join PokerNews at 12PM Prague time on Wednesday for all the live updates as more stars join the field for Day 1b. Unofficial chip counts showed these players among the leaders for Day 1a play:
Ludovic Lacay - 94,200
Dan Pedersen - 71,200
Constantin Cirstea - 69,500
Lukas Gideon Schwartz Orbach - 69,200
Vasilis Chantzaras - 67,700
Jose Luis Navarro - 63,500
Philip Hepburn - 62,500
Allan Baekke - 62,300
Henrik Lundstrvm - 60,500
Roy Von Der Locht - 58,300
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