World Series of Poker Europe

2015 PokerStars EPT Grand Final Main Event Day 1b: Paon Leads; Stephensen Bags Big

Felix Stephensen

Day 1b of the 2015 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final €10,600 Main Event saw 337 players take their shot at poker glory. Along with Day 1a's 219 entrants, the total field currently stands at 556, though it's bound to go up as registration is open until the start of Day 2.

After eight levels of play, 186 players remained with France's Romain Paon and his stack of 161,900 leading the way, which was a bit less than Jose Carlos Garcia, who was the Day 1a chip leader with 182,800. To date, Paon's biggest score was €22,000 for a runner-up finish in the 2012 Barriere Poker Tour Deauville Main Event. Paon is an online regular who is playing his first live event for Team PMU Poker after winning an online contest called "Challenge ProDream."

Others who bagged up big stacks were Eric Sfez (148,600), Samy Salah (144,500), and Felix Stephensen (143,000), just to name a few. As for Stephensen, who you may remember finished runner-up in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event, he had a fairly even-keel day as he slowly built his stack to the fourth-biggest in the room.

"It wasn't a really big one hand," Stephensen told PokerNews. "Flopping big, getting paid, getting lucky with some hero calls."

Stephensen then explained one bit of luck he had was going broke with pocket queens on a {a-}{q-}{7-} flop with two diamonds. The {J-Diamonds} turn slowed the action, and the {10-Diamonds} river brought it to a grinding halt. It was a good thing too as Stephensen's opponent had flopped a bigger set with pocket aces.

Top 10 Day 1b Chip Counts

1Romain Paon161,900
2Eric Sfez148,600
3Samy Salah144,500
4Felix Stephensen143,000
5Alexandre Reard133,000
6Lampros Vrakas127,200
7Ihar Soika127,000
8Bryan Paris103,500
9Martin Kabrhel102,700
10Alexsey Platonov100,600

Of course not everyone was so lucky. Among those to swing and miss on Day 1b were reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year Anthony Zinno; former EPT champ Toby Lewis; French pro Erwann Pecheux; Canadian Sorel Mizzi; German cardsharps Philipp Gruissem and Max Lehmanski; Team PokerStars Pro Leo Margets; and EPT8 champ Mohsin Charania.

The man known as "chicagocards1" fell in the last level of the night at the hands of Eros Nastasi. It happened after a player opened for 1,500 in middle position, and Charania shipped all in for 6,725 from the cutoff. Nastasi called from the big blind, and the original raiser folded.

Charania: {a-Diamonds}{9-Spades}
Nastasi: {a-Hearts}{j-Clubs}

Charania had a kicker issue, and it did not get solved as the board ran out a clean {10-Hearts}{2-Clubs}{10-Spades}{3-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}.

While dozens fell, plenty of notables survived the day including Faraz Jaka (90,400), David Peters (90,200), Jeremy Ausmus (75,000), Simon Deadman (63,600), Sergio Aido (62,200), Viktor "Isildur1" Blom (51,900), and Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Selbst (66,200), Johnny Lodden (65,400), Ivan Demidov (64,900), Liv Boeree (30,100), Jake Cody (11,700), and Fatima Moreira De Melo (10,800).

As for Selbst, she had an up-and-down day, which included a key double in Level 3 (100/200). With approximately 15,000 already in the pot and a board reading {3-Spades}{a-Spades}{q-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}, Selbst moved all in for roughly 17,500 from the small blind, and Giacomo Fundaro called from the cutoff. Selbst rolled over the {3-Clubs}{3-Hearts} and her Italian foe simply mucked.

The surviving players from both flights will return on Monday at Noon local time for Day 2 action. Players such as Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey are expected to join before the start of play. The plan is to play six 75-minute levels with no dinner break, meaning play will come to an end at approximately 10:15 p.m. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will there every step of the way to capture all the action in our live blog, so be sure to check back then.

While you wait, check out our video with Stephensen:

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