Day 1b of the 2015 PokerStars.com EPT Season 12 Prague €5,300 Main Event attracted 783 players, which along with Day 1a's 254 brings the total field up to 1,037 players. That number may very well go up even more as late registration is open until the start of Day 2, at which time the official numbers and prize pool will be determined.
After eight 75-minute levels of play on Day 1b, approximately 450 players bagged and tagged, but none more than Canada's Sam Chartier, who finished as the chip leader with an impressive 211,500. That's a good bit more than that of the Day 1a chip leader, Anton Astapau, who bagged 190,600 in chips.
Others who bagged big stacks on Day 1b include Luca Amoruso (168,800), Gleb Tremzin (168,700), Ivan Zhechev (159,900), and Gerald Karlic (158,500).
Of course not everyone was so fortune as hundreds of players hit the rail including Yann Dion, Ami Barer, Jason Wheeler, John Juanda, Alen Bilic, EPT Malta champ Jean Montury, and Team PokerStars Pros Marcin Horecki, Jake Cody and Luca Pagano.
Pagano fell in the penultimate level of the night when Dermot Blain opened for 1,200 from the cutoff and was met by a three-bet to 2,800 from the Italianon the button. Both blinds folded, Blain three-bet big, and Pagano opted to call off for roughly 17,000.
It was a flip, but Pagano was the one that needed to improve to stay alive. That proved easier said than done though as the board ran out a clean .
Last year, the USA's Stephen Graner defeated a record field of 1,107 players in the 2014 PokerStars.com EPT Season 11 Prague Main Event to capture a €969,000 first-place prize. Graner was in action today looking to defend his title, but any hope of that happening was cut short in Level 6 (200/400/50).
It happened when Jochum Weenink opened for 900 from middle position and Mustafa Biz, who was to his direct left, made the call. When action reached a short-stacked Graner in the cutoff, he three-bet to 3,000, leaving himself just 2,175 behind. Action folded back around to Weenink, who four-bet to 5,400, and then Biz came in with a five-bet to 12,500. Graner didn't seem thrilled, but called off nonetheless.
Weenink put in the additional chips to create a side pot, and the two active players saw a flop. Weenink checked, Biz bet 10,500, and Weenink got out of the way.
Graner had flopped top pair, but he was behind the pocket rockets. The turn left Graner drawing dead, and he wish the table luck before the river made his elimination official.
While one champ fell, another managed to make it through in EPT10 Prague champion Julian Track, who bagged 49,500. Others who advanced to Day 2 were EPT7 Prague champ Roberto Romanello (147,800), EPT12 Malta winner Niall Farrell (103,700), circuit grinder Ari Engel (62,900), EPT12 Prague Super High Roller champ Steve O'Dwyer (45,700), EPT first timer Nancy Birnbaum (39,700), and frequent PokerNews' reporter Marc Convey (19,500).
In addition, Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Selbst (110,400), Johnny Lodden (66,000), Mickey Petersen (38,800), Matthias De Meulder (37,400), Ivan Demidov (36,900), Jamie Staples (31,200), Chris Moneymaker (28,200), George Danzer (27,600), Theo Jorgensen (22,200), Eugene Katchalov (15,400), and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (13,600).
On Saturday, the surviving players from the two starting flights will combine under one roof for Day 2 action, which will begin at Noon local time. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be there to capture all the action, so be sure to check back then. In the meantime, check out our video interview with Birnbaum about playing in her first-ever EPT Main Event.