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2011 World Poker Tour Amneville Day 1a: Nicolas Babel Takes Early Chip Lead

Nicolas Babel

The 2011 World Poker Tour Amneville kicked off in northern France on Tuesday with the first of two starting flights. Day 1a saw 176 players come out to action with 114 of them advancing to Day 2. At the head of the pack and heading the charge was Nicolas Babel, who bagged up 163,600 in chips to end the day.

Babel has done an excellent job so far of setting himself up for another deep run this year. Babel, from Paris, has over $445,000 in live tournament earnings. Most of his results are from France, but his most standout performance comes from a cash in the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event where he took 38th place overall and earned $206,395. He also has another notable finish in last year's WPT Amneville event where he took 16th for €13,120.

Included in the 62 players who failed to make it through were Chris Lastiwka, Benjamin Pollak, Casey Kastle, Jean Paul Pasqualini and Hugo Lemaire.

According to the WPT Live Update Team, Kastle's tournament came crumbling down during Level 6 with the blinds 200/400/50. Jose Rivas checked the {K-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}{J-Hearts} board to Kastle before he bet 5,525. Rivas check-raised to put Kastle all-in. Kastle made the call for his last 9,500 chips and showed {3-Clubs}{3-Diamonds} for bottom set. Unfortunately, Rivas had him outdone with {J-Clubs}{J-Diamonds} for a higher set. The river completed the board with the {K-Spades} and Kastle was eliminated.

Riding behind Babel and rounding out the top five moving into Day 2 are Riad Mounir (154,400), Luke Fields (129,900), Adrien Allain (108,300) and Athanasios Polychronopoulos (97,600).

Outside of that bunch, notables Marc Inizan, Steven Van Zadelhoff, Antonin Teisseire, Almira Skripchenko, Remy Biechel and Pierre Canali all made it through the day.

Day 1b will take place on Wednesday starting at 1200 CET (0300 PDT). Another slew of players will be in the field and the numbers should approach 400. Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for the daily recap.

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