The opening flight at the European Poker Tour Copenhagen is in the books after 191 players showed up to play the Day 1a kickoff. After eight levels of poker today, only one man was able to really break free of the main pack. Canadian Andrew Pantling easily amassed the top stack in the room with 155,800, but there are still a number of dangerous players blinking on his rear-facing radar.
A solid contingent of notables made the trip to snowy Copenhagen this week including, of course, a number of Team PokerStars Pros. Scandinavia’s own Johnny Lodden played today, as did Ruben Visser, Arnaud Mattern, and the always-chipper Dario Minieri. Other familiar faces around the tournament room included the likewise-chipper Peter Hedlund, EPT Prague winner Jan Skampa, Annette Obrestad, Jeff Sarwer, and EPT Deauville High Roller victor Thomas Kabrhel. For the size of the field, it was surprisingly well-stocked with familiar faces.
In true Scandi fashion, the action was blisteringly quick to open the day. In the first orbit, Skampa became the big beneficiary of an early double after mixing it up with Aleksandr Beresnev. Skampa was leading the betting all the way on a board that ran . When he made his river bet of 3,500, Beresnev raised to 10,000 straight, and Skampa moved all-in for the rest of his 30,000-chip starting stack. Beresnev made the final call of his very short day as he turned up for the second-nut flush. Skampa had that pipped with , though, the nuts doubling him up right out of the starting gate.
Also in the house today was the newest member of the ever-growing PokerStars family, Thomas Bichon, though his day wasn’t quite so blessed by the poker deities. The Frenchman was the winner of the “Job 2 Stars” promotion that earned him a €100,000 salary in addition to €250,000 in tournament buy-ins. This marked Bichon’s first event since being put on the PokerStars payroll, and it was an unfortunately poor start to his sponsored career. Bichon started the day moving in the wrong direction, and he never once managed to work his count above the 30,000 chips he began with. He’s no slouch when it comes to playing the short stack, and he rode it out as long as he could before finally being eliminated during the last few minutes of the night with a lowly .
Obrestad also began her day moving in reverse, but she righted the ship and finally found herself with an average stack in the levels following the dinner break. A few more favorable pots allowed her to climb up to 61,100 and well into contention by night’s end. In fact, a quick scan of the chip counts sees that most of the notables have survived their opening flights.
Kabrhel is one of the few who won’t return for Day 2, though he may have had his eyes set on continuing to dominate the side events anyways. Jeff Sarwer will be conspicuously absent on Day 2, as well, although such early exits are a rare sight for him on the EPT trail. Apart from those few names, just about all of the big guns finished the day with chips to bag.
In all, 113 players survived the opening day of EPT Copenhagen, and a fresh new set of faces will take their places tomorrow. There are already more than 200 players registered for Day 1b, and the staff projects the overall field will soundly surpass the 400-player mark. If you’re in the Nordic neighborhood with 35,000 DKK to spare, come on down and get signed up! If not, our Live Reporting team will be back on the floor tomorrow and for the rest of the week to keep you up to date on all of the goings-on.