European Poker Tour Grand Final Day 1b: Thiago Nishijima Leads the Pack to Day 2
In many ways, Day 1B was like a Hollywood sequel to the previous day here at the PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final. It was bigger with more money, but the plot was essentially the same. Mercifully, on this day, the venue's movable roof was not left open long, which allowed the tournament to begin slightly earlier than expected, as players attempted to avoid their most dangerous foe – sunlight. With their earlier start, the 497-player field attempted to make their way toward Day 2 - the first step to the final table, the €1,700,000 for first-place prize, and perhaps finally being able to afford room service here in Monte Carlo. By the time the dust settled at the end of the day, Brazilian Thiago Nishijima was out in front with 264,200 chips.
Nishijima's pile was nearly 70,000 more than Paul Berende had in second place. Berende won a big pot holding against two all-in opponents who held and . A king flopped to propel the Dutchman to a stack of 195,500.
World Series of Poker champion Joe Cada finished the day with a healthy stack of 123,600, which will amount to just over 100 big blinds when players return on Day 2. A good 60,000 of those chips came late in the day when Cada got into a raising war holding kings against another player’s ace-queen. He managed to avoid the bullet in a crucial pot. Yevgeniy Timoshenko and online satellite king Johan “Busto_Soon” Til also managed to finish with sizable stacks above the 100,000 mark, and Andrew Pantling, who won the €5,000 Heads-up tournament here, also finished with over six figures.
Others who made it through the day included former British footballer Teddy Sheringham and French tennis player and new PokerStars Team SportStar Gael Monfils, this season's EPT winners Liv Boeree and Carter Phillips, and the winner of Monte Carlo from two years ago, Glen Chorny.
Last year’s winner, Pieter de Korver, did not make it through, however, he was all-in with on a ten-seven-deuce two-club flop but was up against a set of sevens. The turn paired the deuce and that was enough to send last year’s winner to the rail. He was not the only big name to fall on this day, though, as Erick Lindgren, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, John Juanda, Gus Hansen and Sorel Mizzi were all given their marching orders, as well.
The last of these, Mizzi, was eliminated despite making a huge fold on a flop of . Mizzi led out for 3,000 before an Italian player raised to 8,500 behind him, Thierry van den Berg then pushed all-in for a total of 14,125 and Mizzi ended up folding aces. The Italian made the call with pocket fours, but Mizzi’s astute play paid off as Van den Berg showed for quads!
Just over 400 players will return on Day 2 with Thiago Nishijima at the head of the pack by some distance. Can the Brazilian consolidate his chip lead into Day 3 or will one of the numerous stars still in, such as Neil Channing, Ramzi Jelassi or Shaun Deeb, take over as chip leader?
The Pokernews Live Reporting Team will be back on the floor once more at 12 p.m. local time to bring you all the news from Day 2 of the EPT Grand Final.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.