Now Live EPT Malta888Live Festival London EPT Grand Final, Day 1b: Barer, Palovic Top Stacked Field

Ami Barer

Day 1b action at the Monte Carlo Bay Resort Hotel in the European Poker Tour Monte Carlo Grand Final drew one of the most prestigious lineups ever assembled on European soil. The field offered world champions Joe Hachem, Peter Eastgate, EPT champions including Vicky Coren, Will Frye, Gavin Griffin and many and international superstars such as Gus Hansen, Phil Laak, Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott and Barny Boatman. Overall, 539 players took part on Day 1b, which brought the total number of entrants to 935, almost 100 more than played the event in 2008.

It wasn’t all poker superstars in the field, as tennis legend Boris Becker joined the field and rap mogul Nelly also took his shot at EPT history. Nelly’s shot went wide of the mark, though, as he busted shortly into the day. Nelly saw a three-way flop with Andrew Feldman and another opponent while holding {A-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}. Nelly led out on the A-{4-Clubs}{2-Clubs} flop, and Feldman thought for a moment before raising. Nelly quickly called, and the {3-Clubs} came on the turn. Nelly moved all in, and Feldman quickly called with {A-Spades}{K-Clubs}. Nelly needed a non-club ten to survive, and when the {8-Hearts} hit the river, the rap star’s day was done.

Other early eliminations included Dave Ulliott, Gavin Griffin, defending champion Glen Chorny, and Evelyn Ng. Ng moved all in on the turn holding {7-Hearts}{7-Diamonds} on a board of {2-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}, and her opponent paused for a moment before calling with {A-Spades}{10-Diamonds}. The river brought the {3-Diamonds}, and Ng’s tournament was over.

Gus Hansen busted midway through Day 1b when he flopped trips while holding {A-Hearts}{3-Hearts}. On a board of A-A-6-4, his opponent moved all in, prompting Hansen to go into a long think. After a moment’s contemplation he made the call with trips, only to find himself staring into a flopped set when his opponent tabled {6-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}. Hansen couldn’t catch any of his outs to a bigger boat, and when the river brought a ten, the Great Dane was done. Other notable eliminations included Julian Thew, Ben Grundy, Jeff Madsen, Max Pescatori and Ylon Schwartz.

Despite sharing a table with the chatty Phil Laak for much of the day, Dag Palovic managed to focus on the action enough to emerge from Day 1b as one of the chip leaders. He and Ami Barer traded the top spot back and forth over the last few levels, with Barer finally edging out Palovic for the top spot as the last hands were dealt. Barer (pictured) was the only player to top 200,000 chips on the day, finishing at 207,800, while Palovic logged a still healthy 173,200. Other big stacks included David Williams, Nenad Medic, Yevgeniy Timoshenko and Sandra Naujoks, though Day 1a leader Lee “Final Nelson” retained the overall lead as well.

Heading into Day 2, the combined leaderboard showed these names and chip counts:

Lee Nelson (New Zealand) — 253,600
Amicha Barer (Canada) — 207,800
Dan Dyke (USA) PokerStars player — 179,700
Niccolo Caramatti (Italy) — 176,500
Dag Palovic (Slovakia) — 173,200
Luca Pagano (Italy) — 169,600
Anthony Donald Venturini (USA) — 160,000
Thiago Nishijima (Brazil) — 159,000
Steve Berdah (France) — 156,000
Faraz Jaka (USA) — 155,900

Join PokerNews continuing coverage today as the survivors from both flights of Day 1 combine to make a 500-person (or so) field for Day 2, and play their way toward the money.

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