It was Groundhog Day last night as the three starting days for the £1,000 No Limit Hold'em of the World Series of Poker Europe reached their conclusion. With 195 and 202 taking their seat the days prior, a disappointing 185 played Day 1c, leaving us 26 short of last year's record-breaking field with 582 total players.
Looking to join the likes of Scott Fischman, Toby Lewis, Matthew Jarvis, Andrew Lichtenberger and reigning champion JP Kelly in Day 2 were a plethora of familiar names from the felt, including Full Tilt Poker Sponsored Pros Allen Cunningham, Erik Seidel, and Mike Matusow, whilst flying the flag for England were Neil Channing, Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott and 2009 November Niner James Akenhead.
Despite appearing on the opening two final tables of this year's WSOPE, Chris Bjorin was unable to complete his trio of consecutive finals as he became one of the first casualties of the day. As clandestine as ever, he merely commented, "I played very poorly and got what I deserved," before adding, "I'm going to leave the third final for the Main Event." Andy Bloch, Michael Mizrachi, Willie Tann and Men Nguyen also suffered early falls.
Perhaps the most painful exit, however, belonged to Jeff Madsen. Full of confidence from a fourth place finish in the £5,000 Pot Limit Omaha, Madsen was brought right back down to earth with a good old fashioned bad beat. All in with , he was in dominating shape against , but a cruel board later and that was a rap for the Full Tilt Red Pro.
Throughout the day, a number of notable players enjoyed time near the top including Stephen Chidwick, Tony Cousineau, and 2010 double bracelet winner Frank Kassela. However, when the dust had settled and the smoke cleared, it was unknown entity Leonard Truche of France who topped the remaining 25 with 42,400, predominantly thanks to a late double through with jacks versus ace-king.
In the end, only 2,300 separated the top four, with Song Lee (40,300), Ting He (40,100), and Adam Fradgley (40,100) all just a stone's throw away. The latter of those three had contributed to the demise of Freddy Deeb, triumphing in a hand cooler than the Artic breeze. Flopping a straight with on a flop versus Deeb's , Fradgley survived a blank turn and river to win a 38,000 pot and send the high stakes pro home. Tim Blake, Tommy Vedes and Maria Demetriou also made it through.
One name set to return will be Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler. Having built up an almost cult following of late, Kessler has emerged as a hugely popular character on the circuit, and is famed for his analysis of tournament structures. With a mere 3,000 starting stack, we're not sure he would have approved early doors, but as the tournament progressed, play became deeper-stacked and Kessler began to prosper. At the final whistle he'd survived the nine levels to take 12,700 into the following day.
Truche may be topping today's charts, but it's Wesley Pantling who remains in first place when the days are pooled together, his 56,000 the best out of the 80 remaining players with Day 1a leader Jeppe Bisgaard on 49,000 flat.
But there's a long way to go, and if today was anything to go by, there's still plenty of drama to be had in this event. If you would like a front row seat, then be sure to follow all the action, as it happens, right here on PokerNews.com.
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