Day 1b saw 426 runners cough up their £5,000 and sit down at the tables in the Hilton Metropole, meaning that with 730 runners between the two start days, the 2009 PokerStars.com European Poker Tour London Main Event is the biggest tournament ever held in the U.K. Even with a new, surprisingly flat payout structure — 104 places will pay out — the vast field managed to generate a £850,000 first prize.
The A-listers, keen to take advantage of the enormous field and excellent structure, showed up in force. Chad Brown, Sorel Mizzi, JC Tran, Liz Lieu, Dennis Phillips, Dan Harrington , and Annette Obrestad, all turned (although not all of them on time, naturally) to take their shots at the title.
The first of the household names to bust out and take the walk of shame back to his hotel room was Dario Minieri, who reraised with the classic 5-8 offsuit and then flopped an open-ended straight draw. He was up against top two pair, though, and once he'd failed to hit, he headed for the rail.
Despite outrage over the exorbitant price of a coffee in the hotel lobby, players must have been pretty perky as the pace of play never slowed. Nenad Medic, ElkY, reigning champion Michael Martin, High Roller event winner Matt Glantz, and Tom "durrrr" Dwan were all relatively early casualties. The latter managed to move all-in when he was playing the board and was called off by a gentleman holding pocket queens. November Niner James Akenhead also managed to bust out fairly swiftly after accumulating a big stack early on, but his pocket kings lost out to a flopped set of fives.
The fresh-faced Sonny Pomroy, despite looking far too young to even play poker, took an early lead after knocking out Jonas Molander but shed around half his stack as the day progressed and ended on around 82,000. Also doing well throughout the day was Barry Shulman, fresh off his WSOPE main event victory. He amassed chips steadily throughout and finished with 142,500. Jeff Lisandro also gradually built his stack and finished with a massive 236,400, but a late-surging Nikolai Senninger managed to amass 323,100, beating Lisandro and sending him into Day 2 as overall chip leader.
Only 318 players from the combined day ones will be coming back for Day 2 today. Live coverage resumes at 12 noon GMT+1. Join us at PokerNews for all the action direct from the floor.