It was a packed tournament room on Day 1b of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final Main Event with numbers considerably exceeding the 214 from Day 1a. The day kicked off with 300 players registered and ready to go, but that grew as the day went on. At the end of four levels of play there were 406 registered, and by close of play that number reached 427.
Last year, 531 total entries created a €1,224,000 first place prize. This year’s number of 641 has already surpassed that, and registration is still open and will remain open until the start of play on Monday.
After eight 75-minute levels on Day 1b it was German player Hendrik Latz (pictured) who led the way with 191,600 in chips. Latz was closely followed by Davidi Kitai with 173,100 and Vladimir Troyanovskiy with 172,000.
Team PokerStars Pros were out in full force on Day 1b as Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Barry Greenstein, Eugene Katchalov, Ivan Demidov, Johnny Lodden, Liv Boeree, Christophe De Meulder, Nacho Barbero, Juan Manuel Pastor, Angel Guillen, Andre Akkari, Humberto Brenes and David Williams all took to the felt.
Many other big names in poker turned up to play, including Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Sam Trickett, Scott Seiver and online phenom and Full Tilt Professional Viktor “Isildur1” Blom. The Swede ended up sitting to the right of Lodden and Annette Obrestad, so it was a tough table draw for the online pro at the Scandi-heavy table, though all three managed to make it through the night.
The appearance of Obrestad stirred a lot of media attention and she and fellow Norwegian Lodden got off to a great start. In Level 2, Obrestad eliminated a player and doubled up, and shortly thereafter Lodden did the same.
Ivey didn’t seem to get involved in any huge pots but remained active, picking up chips where he could. PokerNews Senior News Editor Chad Holloway watched the Ivey play an orbit to see just how he goes about his business. Ivey ended the day with 50,800.
Liv Boeree played some fearless poker but ended up with a disappointing 6,200, though that was still better than some other Team PokerStars Pros. Negreanu went out pretty early in a set-over-set cooler and Jason Mercier was eliminated from the tournament when he found his was no good all in on a flop of against the of Nikolay Baranov. The turn and river failed to come to his rescue. Other Team Pros who fell on Day 1b were Leo Fernandez and Christophe de Meulder.
The surviving 241 players return tomorrow along with any last minute hopefuls who decide to buy in. When registration closes and the final entries have been confirmed, the prize pool will be announced and the players will know just how much money they are competing for alongside the fantastic trophy and the title.
Be sure to join the PokerNews Live Reporting team at noon local time Monday when we will bring you up-to-the-minute coverage as they begin the second stage of the tournament. Join us then and throughout the week as we make our way to the final table and the crowning of the final champion of the season.
In the meantime check out this video of Scott Seiver, who fell on Day 1b, talking to Jennifer Robles about his win in the €5k PLO Tournament.