This week, the European Poker Tour has returned to French shores for the PokerStars.fr EPT Deauville. The tournament, which was won last year by Frenchman Remi Castaignon, saw 234 players try their luck on Day 1a of the Main Event with eight levels of action passing by.
Chris Day emerged as the chip leader at the end of the day after finishing with 154,100 in chips — precisely a single chip more than Jorma Nuutinen, who is in second place with 154,000. Day had tweeted during the early parts of the tournament that he was on a crazy table which seemed to feature six-bet pots and players winning big hands with things like third pair. The British player nearly reached the 200,000-chip mark after having won a 100,000-chip race with queens against ace-king, but he lost some chips towards the end of the day. So did some of the other big stacks, though, ensuring Day finishing in pole position early on.
With many players arriving during Day 1a, choosing to play online or in the French Poker Series Main Event or High Roller, the names involved were slightly rarer than those expected for Day 1b. Team PokerStars Pro was represented by Eugene Katchalov and Marcin Horecki, both of whom successfully navigated the stormy, qualifier-filled waters of the first starting day. Katchalov ended the day with 74,000, Horecki with 71,300. PokerStars Team Online was also involved, but the French pair of Ronan Monfort and Gabriel Nassif were both knocked out fairly early on.
Fairing slightly better was former EPT winner Anton Wigg, and the Swede finished the day with 105,000 after winning some crucial pots including a set-over-set hand at one point. Wigg was one of the ever-growing community of former EPT winners, all still striving to be the first two-time champion. Of those that joined Wigg in advancing to Day 2 was EPT Loutraki champion Zimnan Ziyard (88,800) — who found that life was pretty easy when you raise with the and the flop comes .
Jannick Wrang (74,200), the winner of the sole EPT Campione event, was an early chip leader before dropping back into the pack. He still managed to make Day 2, however, and will be joined by EPT Barcelona winner Kent Lundmark (37,300), Dominik Nitsche, Barny Boatman, Pierre Neuville, and Deauville finalist last year, Jeff Hakim.
Lots of former EPT champions failed to even make this first hurdle. The first French winner of EPT Deauville, Lucien Cohen, was one of the earliest players to be eliminated this year. He was met on the rail by David Vamplew, Arnaud Mattern, as well as the latest EPT champion, Dominik Panka, who won the PokerStars Carribean Adventure for over $1.4 million less than two weeks ago.
Other players who were eliminated and sent home included Fabrice Soulier, Michel Abecassis, John Eames, Niall Farrell, World Series of Poker Europe Main Event winner Adrian Mateos Diaz, and Vitaly Lunkin.
On Monday, the field is expected to be much bigger with nearly 200 seats already sold. Numerous Team PokerStars Pros will be involved including the France's own superstar Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and the winner here from EPT Season 6, Jake Cody.
The Pokernews Live Reporting Team will be back live from the tournament floor once again at 12 p.m. local time for another exciting starting day to Season 10's EPT Deauville, so be sure to join us then!