Season 8 of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour kicked of Tuesday when the doors of the luxurious Swissotel opened for Day 1a. The turnout was relatively small, only 92 players registered for action, and at the end of the day Maksim Kolosov found himself at the top of the chip counts with 102,725.
The first person to put his head above the parapet and claim the chip lead was none other than EPT Season 7 award winner Martin Jacobson. Jacobson may have arrived without his luggage, but he did arrive with all his poker faculties.
“I must have the golden seat ticket,” Jacobson wrote on his twitter feed.
And as play entered level five, a new chip leader had emerged — straight from the day's table of death. It was formed after a series of random table breaks when two former EPT champions were seated at the same table. Season 7 EPT Prague and Barcelona winners Roberto Romanello and Kent Lundmark joined a table that included Fernando Brito, Kevin Vandersmissen, Mathew Frankland and Maksim Kolosov. Kolosov got into some fiery four-betting action to cripple the dangerous Kevin Vandersmissen and took the lead.
In the hand, Vandersmissen raised to 725 in early position, and Kolosov three-bet to 1,725. It folded back around to Vandersmissen who four-bet to 4,200 — and Kolosov made the call. The flop came down and Vandersmissen bet 3,200. Kolosov raised to 7,500 and this time Vandersmissen made the call. The two checked the on the turn. On the river, Vandersmissen check-called Kolosov's bet of 12,000. Kolosov tabled ace-king to take the hand and bring his stack to around 74,000. He continued his rise to the top throughout the remainder of Day 1a play.
The raffle of the seating draw created some interesting concoctions early on. On table five, Season 7 EPT San Remo winner Rupert Elder went head-to-head with Season 4 EPT Prague winner Arnaud Mattern. Both players were thrown into the tournament grind early on after losing big pots, but, being that they are made of stern championship material, the two made it through to Day 2.
EPT Season 7 Player of the Year Fernando Brito was hoping to defend his title and was sharing table space with the young talent from the U.K., Mathew Frankland. Both Brito and Frankland were fresh off deep runs in the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event. Brito finished 181st and Frankland finished 121st, making it through to Day 2.
Some of the more inexperienced online qualifiers were showing their nerves throughout the day. One regular qualifier who is certainly not nervous is Pierre Neuville. Until EPT Tallinn, he had qualified for an incredible 23 consecutive EPT Main Events. Despite failing to qualify for this event, he attended, full of smiles and ready to take on the poker world.
Another former EPT Champion, Season 7 EPT London winner David Vamplew, made the trip to the Baltics. Vamplew was seated next to the dangerous Swede, Jesper Hoog, and did just enough to scrape through the day.
Of the 92 players who began the day, only 68 remained to bag chips. Among those near the top werre Roberto Romanello (83,175), Martin Jacobson (74,650), and Praz Bansi (73,975). Also making it through to Day 2 are Mathew Frankland (70,475), David Vamplew (57,500), and Team PokerStars Pros Richard Toth (37,325) and Marcin Horecki (21,925).
Day 1b kicks off Wednesday and you can catch all the updates live from the floor at EPT Tallinn on the PokerNews Live Reporting pages.
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