Day 1 of the 2014 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final €25,000 High Roller saw a staggering 158 players enter — 37 more than last year. A total of 47 players used their option to reenter after going bust on the first day, which made for 205 total entries thus far. Registration for this tournament will remain open until the start of Day 2, so that number might grow even more. It's still shy 42 entries from $25,000 High Roller at the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which had 247 runners, but we're talking Euros as the buy-in here, so first place has the chance to be bigger.
The biggest stack in the room is that of Benny Spindler. The German EPT London winner ended the day with 384,300 in chips. When we asked him how he got those, it was a tale of mostly winning small pots. To hear how Spindler amassed so many chips on Day 1a, check out his interview with PokerNews upon the completion of play:
As expected, every table was filled with recognizable faces. There were a bunch of Team PokerStars Pros in the mix with Daniel Negreanu, Alex Kravchenko, Eugene Katchalov, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and two-time EPT champion Vicky Coren Mitchell representing. Notable absentees were Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, Vanessa Selbst, Richard Yong, and Paul Phua. However, with late registration still open, those guys might hop in before Day 2.
Without a doubt the most entertaining table was the one featuring Artem Litvinov and Viktor "Isildur1" Blom. Litvinov acted as he always does, full of bravado and with crazy antics. In one of the hands he played with Grospellier, the two decided to not look at their cards until the river. That turned out great for Litvinov, who found himself with jacks in the hole. He tried to make it a three-way blind hand the next hand, but Blom wasn't up for it. "No, no," laughed Blom, "This is too crazy!" We imagine stuff like this wouldn't be too crazy for him if it wasn't for the fact that he was extremely short stacked at that point.
Blom proved to be a very patient tournament player. The man that swings online like no other, with millions on the line and all in on one of many tables consistently, was very relaxed. At no point did he let his shoulders hang. He ended the day with 57,600, while Litvinov bagged 84,700.
One more player that got a lot of attention was Ole Schemion. After cashing both the €100,000 Super High Roller (7th - €307,000) and the €10,000 Main Event (44th - €24,400), could he go for the triple like he did in Barcelona and at PCA? The current EPT Player of the Year leader didn't start out that great, busting his first bullet after just a few hours of play. "I bluffed," he joked about his bust out hand. "I check-jammed the river." It turned out his opponent had flopped trips and wasn't willing to lay that down. Schemion promptly reentered.
On his second bullet, Schemion lasted a bit longer. He doesn't have the huge towers of chips we're used to seeing him behind, but it's still early and anything can happen. Schemion will start the second day tomorrow with 128,200 in chips, still well above average.
Talal Shakerchi (173,100), Chenxiang Miao (231,400), Ismail Erkenov (355,600), and John Juanda (290,600) didn't do too bad either. David Yan (127,500), Bryan Paris (119,100), and Dani Stern (69,000) all busted the Main Event earlier in the day and hopped right into the €25,000 High Roller. Last year's €25,000 High Roller winner, Steven Silverman, is among the final 17 in the Main Event, so he didn't enter this tournament, paving the way for a new champion.
The plan for Day 2 is to play down to a final table or another 10 levels. With the massive field here in Monte Carlo, 10 levels is more likely than the other. PokerNews will again supply you with all the updates, photos and interviews with the biggest players. With just about everyone in the field a big-time player, we'll be busy, busy, busy!
See you Thursday for another exciting day on the felt.