For the first four seasons of the European Poker Tour, a stop in Dublin was a fixture on the schedule. The tour didn't return in Season 5 and stayed absent from the program for several years, but it has returned with a bang this week for Season 12.
To kick things off, the biggest buy-in tournament ever held on Irish soil took place. Things started out a bit slow, but in the end 56 players ponied up the €25,750 buy-in. With 10 reentries generated, the total field size was bumped up to 66.
Live qualifier Anton Bertilsson from Sweden would end the day as chip leader. He amassed his chips winning pots against the likes of Andre Akkari, Martin Jacobson, and Chance Kornuth, before busting Joao Simao in a big confrontation with aces against kings. He bagged up a large 1.375 million in chips and found himself well out in front of Nick Petrangelo's second-place stack of 888,000.
Day 1 Top 10 Chip Counts
Joao Vieira was the first to bust. The Portuguese pro ran queens into Dario Sammartino's backdoor trips with ace-four and headed to the registration desk to buy back in. He ended up busting a second time as well.
Kyle Frey followed Vieira out the door. He was short already when he got his last money in and called it off with ace-king. He was in good shape against the five-three suited of Jean-Noel Thorel, but the three in the window resulted in him heading to the exit.
Steve O'Dwyer has been running hot, but we'll see if the cool down has finally begun after a slow start in Dublin. Today he ran jacks into Jeff Rossiter's aces and busted with an ace appearing on the flop. He didn't fare much better on his second bullet, either, running ace-king into tens to bust for the final table.
One of the most remarkable hands of the day happened just before the last level started. Kevin MacPhee kicked of the action with a raise under the gun and his neighbor, Winfred Yu, made the call. In the cutoff seat, Charlie Carrel called, and then Pratyush Buddiga squeezed from the big blind. MacPhee folded, but Yu made the call again. Carrel then back-raised all in for heaps and Buddiga folded. Yu called, and it was jacks for Yu and ace-king for Carrel. A king on the river favored Carrel and last season's EPT Grand Final High Roller champion doubled up. Jason Wheeler, with his jaw just about on the ground even before the showdown had happened, described the hand as "incredible."
The 41 players that survived the eight levels of play return at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Registration is open till the start of the day, so the total amount of entries and prize pool might just grow a little bit more. The players buying in now will receive a crisp 250,000 starting stack, good for almost 42 big blinds at the start of play.
PokerNews will return with live coverage, and chip counts of all the players can be found below. In the meantime, check out Sasha Salinger "calling the clock" on 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Martin Jacobson: