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PokerStars EPT Barcelona Main Event Day 1a: Michael Mizrachi Grinds Out the Chip Lead

Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi

The €5,300 Main Event of 100th European Poker Tour (EPT) stop got underway today at the Season 11 Barcelona Poker Festival held at Casino Barcelona.

Day 1a attracted an impressive 475 entrants and a fearsome array of talent including Team PokerStars Pros Johnny Lodden, Eugene Katchalov, Vanessa Selbst, Jan Heitmann, Alex Kravchenko, and, playing on her home turf, Leo Margets.

At the end of eight 75-minute levels of play, 270 survived to return for Day 2, and it was Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi who ended the day as the chip leader, bagging up 186,600. That's more than six times the 30,000-chip starting stack, and Mizrachi was very busy at work all day.

Mizrachi more than lived up to his reputation. Seemingly involved in every pot, he consistently outwitted and out-flopped his opponents throughout the day to accumulate his stack — at one point, he even flopped quads. When he is focused and catching cards, there are few players who can compete with a stacked Mizrachi, but that's exactly what everyone will have to deal with moving forward.

Second place belonged to Charlie Combes from the UK with 172,400, while the talented young Russian, Dmitry Yurasov, finished the day in third with 163,100. Other notables to make it through to Day 2 included Marc-Andre Ladouceur (113,700), Max Pescatori (91,500), Thor Hansen (77,400), Ruben Visser (55,900), Ronnie Bardah (28,200), and Erik Seidel (12,300).

Ole Schemion took the EPT by storm last season and is currently the number one tournament player in the world, as ranked by the Global Poker Index (GPI). Schemion is back in full swing this season and it doesn't look like much has changed. Last season, Schemion took sixth in the €50,000 Super High Roller (€159,200), 123rd in the €5,300 Main Event (€10,000), and sixth in the €10,300 High Roller (€90,700) at EPT Barcelona, and he might just make another deep run this year after bagging up 80,000 in chips on Day 1a.

Daniel Shak, who finished in eighth place in the €50,000 Super High Roller yesterday, has made it through to Day 2 with 61,200, though he found some of the play by his opponents a bit confusing.

Some of the players who didn’t survive the day included last year’s hugely popular winner of this event, Tom Middleton, who told PokerNews after his exit in Level 7 that he "just couldn't win a pot today." Other UK Pros who fell towards the end were Mat Frankland and Toby Lewis.

Olivier Busquet, the winner of the €50,000 Super High Roller to the tune of €896,434, had a good stack for most of the day, but he busted in the final level. Busquet was involved in a three-way all-in battle holding queens, but unfortunately for him his opponents held kings and ace-king that he couldn't overcome.

Busquet beat Daniel Colman heads up to win the €50,000 Super High Roller last night, and Colman too failed to navigate his way through the day here in the Main Event.

Selbst joined the action in Level 3 today, but barley lasted half of that level. Selbst had already lost a sizeable number of chips when before exit hand occurred. Holding the {q-Spades}{q-Clubs}, she raised and picked up two callers. The flop was checked and it all went in on the turn of a board reading {5-Spades}{k-Hearts}{3-Spades}{k-Diamonds}. Her opponent had the goods with the {k-Clubs}{8-Clubs}, and the river was the harmless {2-Diamonds} to send Selbst packing.

Your PokerNews Live Reporting team will return tomorrow at 12 p.m. local time to bring you full coverage of Day 1b, which is expected to attract a much larger field and a further stellar lineup of players looking to get their hands on the trophy and go down in history as the winner of "EPT100." With rumors of 1,500 total players in this event, tomorrow will be packed wall to wall across two tournament rooms.

With that, we'll leave you with a little bit of fun. Check out this video with 2014 World Series of Poker November Nine chip leader Jorryt van Hoof (who is playing Day 1b of this event) as he dives into the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" with a little help from Remko Rinkema:

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