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PokerStars EPT Deauville Begins, Abdellatif Tops Opening Session

PokerStars EPT Deauville Begins, Abdellatif Tops Opening Session 0001

The PokerStars-sponsored European Poker Tour returned to action on Tuesday with the opening of 2009's first Continental EPT stop, in Deauville, France. Day 1a play brought 302 entrants to the tables, and after eight levels of play, 125 survived to return for Day 2. The pack was led by Belgium's Jonathan Abdellatif, who topped all players by finishing with 105,000 in chips, the only player to cross the 100,000-chip plateau. The return to Deauville's Casino Barriere by the EPT was itself a joyous occasion, ended a three-year gap caused by uncertain French laws during those years.

Abdellatif led a relatively anonymous Day 1a leaderboard as many of the biggest names in action found tougher sledding. The Team PokerStars contingent included Vicky Coren, Vanessa Rousso, Alex Kravchenko, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Isabelle Mercier, but Coren and Kravchenko both busted during the day. Rousso's task will be among the most difficult, as she returns with a shortish stack of 7,000. Other notables who were not only present but survived to Day 2 as well included Juha Helppi, Joao Barbosa, Michel Abecassis, Ludovic Lacay, Eric Haber and Gino Alacqua.

The top ten chip counts from Day 1a action:

Jonathan Abdellatif — 105,000

Guillaume De La Gorce — 79,800

Manuel Bevand — 72,500

Olivier Da Silva — 64,700

Conor Crilly — 64,000

Michiel Brummelhuis — 61,100

Yury Kerzhapkin — 52,800

Gabriel Nassif — 51,700

Stefano Busino — 51,600

Herbert Kock — 51,300

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