Day 1a of the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Berlin has concluded as the first round of players have finished their initial stint in the deep-stacked tournament. Despite legal issues in Germany preventing online buy-ins, 315 players found the €5,000 to reserve a seat on Day 1a, enough to fill two floors of nine-handed tables at the Spielbank Berlin. Leaving overnight for the comfort of the hotel, Cristian Dragomir bagged a huge first-place chip stack of 205,500.
The gentle spring day seemed to have tempted many of the better-known EPT regulars out into the sun rather than into the casino, but the field was not a soft one. Team PokerStars Pros Henrique Pinho, Arnaud Mattern and Michael Keiner took their seats with a truly multinational crowd of players both professional and amateur, and the pace of the action kept the mass of press and spectators engaged throughout the day. The total number of survivors from Day 1a is 151. They now rest while the second flight gears up for their shot at a stack.
Early leaders included Benny Spindler, Nasr El Nasr, Per Linde and Dermot Blain, although none managed to hold the lead for more than a level or two. Cristian Dragomir actually eliminated Spindler on the final hand of the night, boosting his stack beyond that of close followers Mayu Roca (190,000), Max Heinzelmann (186,400) and Vegard Vestvik (178,100).
Current leader for EPT Player of the Year Fernando Brito was eliminated today, as were regular online players Chris Moorman, Andrew Teng, and Team PokerStars Online Andre Coimbra. The winner of this year’s EPT Copenhagen, Michael Tureniec, was another champion falling without a deep run. It seems that a host of new faces will be joining the Day 1b survivors on Thursday, including a number of online qualifiers and young players more used to the virtual felt.
Judging by the heaving super-satellite continuing as the Main Event closed down for the night, Day 1b will need a third floor to contain it. Play starts at 1200 CEST (0300 PDT) and we expect a full turnout of Team PokerStars Pros including Liv Boeree, Johnny Lodden, Luca Pagano, Dario Minieri, George Danzer and Jude Ainsworth, as well as Team PokerStars SportStars Boris Becker and Fatima Moreira de Melo.