The first day of the inaugural Epic Poker League Main Event was completed Tuesday after six 90-minute levels of play. With registration for the $20,000 buy-in, rake-free, $400,000-added Main Event open until the fifth level of the day, the entrants list grew to 137 players. At the end of the day, 63 players remained with Eugene Katchalov leading the charge. Katchalov bagged up an impressive 356,300 in chips to finish atop the leaderboard of this stacked, elite field.
Once you stepped foot in the Palms Resort Casino and laid your eyes on the EPL banners scattered around the building, a buzz came over you and you realized what you were in store for — the best players providing some of the best poker the world has ever seen. And let us tell you, PokerNews was there on the floor and saw it all first hand — it delivered. This was one of the greatest tournament fields ever produced and the atmosphere was electric all day long. With nearly $1 million up for grabs in first-place prize money, and possibly much more given the league championship event next year, the best players in the world brought out their A-games.
Phil Hellmuth, Barry Greenstein, Joe Tehan, Vanessa Rousso, Eric Baldwin, David "Bakes" Baker, Andrew Lichtenberger, JC Tran, Scott Clements, Chris Moorman, Joseph Cheong, Michael Mizrachi and Yevgeniy Timoshenko were all in the mix Tuesday for some period of time, but unfortunately for them, they all failed to make it through the day and will have to wait until the next EPL event in early September to try again.
Greenstein, who is one of the most famous faces in poker, was eliminated by Jeremiah DeGreef. Just before he was eliminated Greenstein doubled up from a severe short stack to about 12,000 chips, but then he found himself all-in once again. This time he held versus DeGreef's . After the board ran through , DeGreef scooped the pot and sent Greenstein out the door.
In some of the other eliminations, Tran went out at the hands of Daniel Alaei, Hellmuth was dropped by Carlos Mortensen and Moorman fell to Shawn Buchanan. On Moorman's bustout hand, he put the last of his money in on the board with . Moorman's hand was bested by Buchanan's . After the river brought the , Moorman was sent packing. Not every bustout can be taken so easily though, as Randy Dorfman found out later on in the day.
Dorfman was all in on the turn with the board reading and he held the best of it. Dorfman's was up against the lesser two pair for Chino Rheem, who held the . A dagger in the form of the fell on the river to deliver a brutal blow to Dorfman and end his tournament abruptly in the fifth level of play.
On the other side of the coin, plenty of notables still remain, and will be back for Day 2. Ben Lamb, McLean Karr, Sorel Mizzi, Isaac Baron, Amit Makhija, Justin Bonomo, Dan O'Brien, Sam Stein, Vanessa Selbst, Brian Rast, Antonio Esfandiari and Jason Mercier all had solid days on the felt and have advanced to play another day. They'll join the pack on Wednesday at 1200 PDT (2000 BST) to continue the quest.
What's at the end of the journey? For starters, the top 18 finishers will receive a piece of the $3,085,200 prize pool. Just squeaking into the money will earn each player $43,190, while the lion's share, $982,660, will be awarded to the winner. One important thing about the EPL is that every dollar counts. The EPL Championship, a $1 million freeroll, takes place February 13-14, 2012 and the top 27 money earners from the four main events will get a seat. The top six in the Championship will be paid and $500,000 will be handed to the champion.
In order to relive the action from Day 1, check out PokerNews' live coverage from the event. As previously mentioned, Wednesday's Day 2 will kick off at 1200 PDT (2000 BST) at the Palms Resort Casino. in Las Vegas. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be live from the floor once again to bring you all the coverage you can handle and you won't want to miss it. Why? Because it's going to be epic of course!
Be sure to follow PokerNews on Twitter for all of your up-to-the-minute poker news.