After the first of two PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Vienna Main Event starting days, it was Oleksii Khoroshenin who finished the lead after bagging up 171,900 in chips. A total of 341 players registered for the first flight, and 182 managed to survive the day. Sergii Baranov, former World Series of Poker Europe Main Event runner-up, finished in fourth with 155,000. Top German pro Dominik Nitsche bagged up 138,000 and he'll be among the bigger stacks going into Day 2.
The EPT landed in Vienna after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, but it came back stronger than ever. Vienna, once host of the biggest EPT in Season 1 with 297 participants, will display all its beauty and riches as the EPT plays out in the stunning Hofburg Palace.
Defending champion Michael Eiler showed up to extend his reign in Vienna, but he barely kept his hopes alive with 7,200 in chips after being short for most of the day. Eiler was not the only former EPT winner that showed up for Day 1a, either, as Benny Spindler, Noah Boeken and Jannick Wrang were all eliminated. Steve O’Dwyer, last year’s EPT Grand Final winner, did make it through with 15,200, though.
One of the most famous Austrian players, who’s also know as the "Chess Master," is Ivo Donev and he was among the first players eliminated on Day 1a. While Donev has been on the tour for decades, things are just starting with 19-year-old Adrian Mateos who won the WSOP Europe Main Event last fall. Mateos had a horrible start and was knocked down to 10,000 in chips early on. He did however manage to mount a comeback and finished strong with 104,600. Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer was fortunate to survive the day, but he will be facing an uphill battle with 12,200.
Micheal Piper, EPT Sanremo third-place finisher in 2010, had an excellent start, but eventually things did not work out for him. Piper ran jacks into PokerStars Team Online's Marc-Andre Ladouceur’s aces, and the latter closed out the day with 91,000 in chips. Irish Open winner and EPT Snowfest runner-up Kevin Vandersmissen joined the fun today as well, and he ended up bagging 61,400 chips. His former Snowfest rival, 2011 winner Vladimir Geshkenbein, was seated just one table over and he closed out with 130,000 in chips.
Former EPT London winner Ruben Visser got in a fortunate situation when he won with set over set, but later on he was bluffed in a five-bet pot by Dzmitry Urbanovich and ended with 37,900 in chips. This result was still better than that of Marton Czuczor, who ran nines into tens to end his EPT Vienna Main Event. One of the players who was very concerned with his Main Event tournament life, Roland Maurus, decided to fold kings preflop, and later he found out this wasn't the right move.
Among the big stacks towards the end were many new names, including Jesper Hoog and Mohamed Kerkeni. On Monday, a ton of top pros, amateurs and qualifiers will show up for Day 1b, and we're sure that will bring an entirely new slate of names to our attention. Please make sure to tune back in at 12 p.m. CET, as PokerNews.com brings you all the live updates for 12 straight hours.