The 2015 PokerStars.com Season 11 European Poker Tour Malta kicked off in a big way on Wednesday with the start of the €25,000 High Roller, a "special" tournament that was a unique addition to the schedule. Day 1 attracted 86 entries (67 unique, 19 reentries), though that number is sure to go up as registration is open until the start of Day 2.
After 10 one-hour levels of play, Ukraine's Oleksii Khoroshenin led the surviving 40 players with 277,600 in chips. Others who bagged big stacks were Nick Petrangelo (239,000), Piotr Franczak (205,600), Dan Smith (200,300), Philipp Gruissem (188,500), and Martin Finger (178,200).
Notable Day 1a Chip Counts
Khoroshenin, the winner of the 2014 EPT Vienna Main Event for €578,392, got many of his chips in the last level of the night after he got almost full value out of a full house in a hand versus Ihar Soika.
It happened when Soika raised to 2,700 from under the gun and called Khoroshenin's three-bet to 7,200 from the cutoff. The flop fanned and Soika check-called a 9,000 continuation-bet. He did the same when Khoroshenin bet 17,000 on the turn, and then faced a big 53,000-chip bet on the river when he checked again. Soika made the call but mucked after Khoroshenin opened the for queens full.
Of course, not everyone was so lucky. Jorryt van Hoof, Jean-Noel Thorel, and Igor Kurganov were a few of the players to fire two bullets and bust both, so their EPT Malta High Roller experience has officially come to an end. Meanwhile, other Day 1 casualties who still have the option to reenter before the start of Day 2 are Ami Barer; reigning World Series of Poker Main Event winner Martin Jacobson; World Poker Tour champion Paul Klann; and Team PokerStars Pro members Eugene Katchalov, Vanessa Selbst, Jonathan Duhamel, and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier.
As for Selbst, the only lady in the tournament, she fell after action folded to Stephen Chidwick in the hijack and he raised to 2,500. Selbst then three-bet all in for 22,300 from the cutoff, the button and blinds all folded, and Chidwick gave it some thought before dropping in a call.
Chidwick was ahead, but Selbst was drawing to two live cards. When the flop failed to deliver, Selbst began to stand. The turn gave her pause, but alas it wasn't the paint card she needed. The dealer burned one last time and put out the . The Team PokerStars Pro rapped the tabled and then made her way to the exit.
While many fell, plenty of notables made it through to Day 2 including Jeff Rossiter (149,900), Fabian Quoss (110,300), Pratyush Buddiga (106,200), Davidi Kitai (100,300), Dani Stern (86,200), Sorel Mizzi (73,200), Simon Ravnsbaek (63,000), and Ole Schemion (57,900)
Day 2 will commence at 12:30 p.m. local time. The plan is to player either 10 levels or down to eight players, whichever comes first. Join the PokerNews Live Reporting team then for all the EPT Malta €25,000 action you can handle in our live blog.
While you wait for Day 2, check out Sarah Herring's guided tour of Malta: