It was a record-breaking day at the Hilton Metropole on Edgeware Road in London as 509 players turned out for Day 1b of the PokerStars European Poker Tour London event bringing the total to 848 players (the largest in UK history) and procuring a £900,000 first-place prize for whomever would succeed Aaron Gustavson as the EPT London champion.
We say “succeed” because Gustavson was an early casualty this year as was the EPT Vilamoura champion Toby Lewis. The latter won the £1,000 event Wednesday night for about £67,000 but wasn't able to go deep after a superaggressive Padriag Parkinson called his four-bet preflop and open-shoved a raggy two-heart board, getting there with a flush draw against Lewis' pocket queens.
By the end of the day, Italian Claudo Cecchi finished at the top with 237,500, around 30,000 more than anyone else. It all came in three big pots, aces against kings, a set against a straight and a flush draw, and finally binking with queens against kings. Poker sounds so simple doesn't it? And with less than 250 players finishing the day, it looks like there will still be nearly 400 players coming back for Day 2.
Also finishing near the top of the chip leaderboard was former Irish international footballer and double GUKPT winner Tony Cascarino who won a huge pot when he turned the nut flush against a turned top two pair for a giant pot at the time and finished the day with around 180,000. The two arguably biggest names in poker, Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu, also managed to get through the day with stacks that are roughly around the 100,000 mark and above average.
Alex Keating struggled after being involved in a controversial floor ruling. Keating had bet just over half his remaining stack on the river only to be check-raised all-in. He then tanked for around five minutes before the clock was called. With around 10 seconds remaining the countdown began but the floor man appeared to count the last five seconds quicker than the first five seconds, something which both Jonathan Aguiar and Allen Kessler commented on. Tournament director Thomas Kremser came by to hear Keating's complaint but ruled that Keating's hand was dead, much to the American's disappointment.
Other players who also made it through included brand new Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree, who was making her debut at this event, as well as JP Kelly, Jude Ainsworth and Juan Maceiras. Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott also looked to have scraped through.
The casualties for today were as long as Chris Bjorin's cashing record on the Hendon Mob: Pieter de Korver, cricket legend Shane Warne, and the recovering-from-illness Liz Lieu. Praz Bansi continues his record of unbelievably never cashing in a single EPT, despite having cashed for over $2.5 million in his lifetime.
Nevertheless, all remaining players will be returning Friday at noon local time as the levels increase to 75 minutes, and there's still all to play for, especially with that £900,000 first prize awaiting the winner.
The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will continue to bring you all the action as this record-breaking tournament continues.
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