PokerStars.com EPT London Main Event Day 1a: Dhru Patel Leads
For 10 years, the European Poker Tour has come to the city of London. It is one of only two places to hold an EPT every single year since the tour's inception (the other being Barcelona). This year saw a brand new location for the event which has previously been held at both the Grosvenor Victora on Edgeware Road and also the Hilton Hotel nearby.
With Day 1a set on a Sunday, a smaller field than usual was expected due to many players' love of the Sunday online grind. There are benefits to playing the first of the two starting days, though, as anyone involved today was guaranteed to sit at a nine-handed table (the same guarantee does not apply to Day 1b due to space requirements).
There were 209 runners in total, but at the end of eight levels, it was Dhru Patel who led the 105 survivors with 241,000 in chips. Along with David Yan (who finished with 128,000*), he was one of the first players to break through the 100,000 mark with the highlight of his day no doubt being the elimination of poker legend Erik Seidel. Patel played the £50,000 Super High Roller a couple of days ago, busting in 19 minutes. Here in the Main Event, he took the chip lead at the end of the night after knocking out Ben Martin with pocket queens against ace-queen.
*Editor's note: Yan's chip count was corrected on Monday.
Elsewhere, Viktor Blom had a slow start but looked to be picking things up until a huge hand sent him to the rail courtesy of Dan Smith, who finished with 103,800.
Team PokerStars Pros had a mixed day. Joao Nunes was unfortunate enough to last just two hands before he was eliminated, Leo Margets and Johnny Lodden joined him soon after, while Matthias De Meulder, Eugene Katchalov and Jonathan Duhamel were knocked out later on.
Henrique Pinho fared much better and made it through with a solid 79,400, and he will be joined on Day 2 by Jake Cody (65,000), Theo Jorgensen (73,000), Christian de Leon (33,300) and Marcin Horecki (23,600).
Jorgensen in particular had a very tough opening few hours. It was only when he was all in and won a 23,000-chip pot with the against Alexander Schilt's on a board that the Dane arrested his decline. He will be joined in Day 2 by a triumvirate of Scandinavian former EPT winners in Ramzi Jelassi (36,800), Michael Tureniec (81,000) and Frederik Jensen (45,900).
Of course, there were still numerous casualties during the day including many who did well at the last London festival, Talal Shakerchi (winner of the EPT9 London High Roller), Sergio Aido (UKIPT London champion), Dan Shak, Sorel Mizzi and former EPT champion Kevin Stani.
Monday's Day 1b is expected to be huge and will feature the winner of the £50,000 Super High Roller, Martin Finger, UKIPT High Roller champion and Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst, as well as hundreds of other players all hoping to supplant Ruben Vissen as the new king or queen of London.
The PokerNews live reporting team will be here from 12 p.m. local time to follow all the action right to the very end, and we hope to have you following along with us.