Day 1a of the 2015 PokerStars.com EPT Season 12 Prague €5,300 Main Event saw 254 players take to the felt, but after eight 75-minute levels of play, 144 punched their ticket to Day 2, including EPT regular Anton Astapau, who leads the pack with 190,600 in chips.
Others to make it through the day were Ghattas Kortas (151,200), EPT11 Grand Final champ Adrian Mateos (150,200), Rainer Kempe (137,400), Donnacha O'Dea (72,400), and Byron Kaverman (67,900).
Of course not everyone was lucky enough to bad chips. World Series of Poker bracelet winner Craig McCorkell was the first elimination of the day after running kings into the pocket aces of Charlie Carrel in the first level. Before long, he has company on the rail including Pierre Neuville, who was fresh off his seventh-place finish in the 2015 WSOP Main Event; WSOP Millionaire Maker champ Jonathan Dimmig; 2014 WCOOP champ Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz; and WSOP Europe champ Kevin MacPhee.
Shortly before the dinner break, a big four-way hand went down that involved Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari and resulted in a double elimination.
It began when Antonio Costa Alfaia opened for 650 and Jimmy Kebe, a former footballer for Crystal Palace FC, called from the hijack. The player on the button came along, Akkari did the same from the small blind, and a short-stacked Muzaffer Akin called from the big to make it five-way action to the flop.
Akkari checked, Akin shoved all in for 5,575, and Alfaia moved all in over the top for 12,875. Kebe thought for a moment before making the call, the players on the button folded, and Akkari hit the tank before also calling. Akkai and Kebe then checked the turn, and then Akkari checked for a third time on the river. Kebe fired out 20,000, and Akkari thought for a bit before releasing the for a flopped set.
Kebe then tabled the for the nuts, which of course bested the of Akin and of Alfaia.
Others who fell before the end of the day were Martin Finger, Dominik Nitsche, Dario Minieri, Davidi Kitai, Jonathan Little, Mustapha Kanit, and Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier.
On the flip side, some of the players who will return for Day 2 at Noon local time on Saturday are Carrel (120,500), Team PokerStars Pro Martin Hruby (58,200), Akkari (34,600), and Liv Boeree (14,600), as well as Friend of PokerStars Natalie Hof (15,700)
On Friday, a whole new flight of players will visit the Hilton to take their shot at poker glory. Cards will be in the air at Noon local time, and the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to capture all the action. Until then, check out this video from last night's EPT12 Prague Player Party: