Dan Shak Leads After Day 1a of the 2016 PokerStars EPT Malta Main Event

Dan Shak

The penultimate Main Event of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour before the rebranding to the PokerStars Championships, gathered a field of 134 entrants at the Casino Portomaso. After eight levels of 75 minutes each, only 61 of them bagged up chips and Dan Shak snatched the lead in the very last hand with 185,100 to edge out Pasi Sormunen's 183,500. Here's the top 5 after Day 1a:

PositionPlayerCountryChip Count
1Dan ShakUnited States185,100
2Pasi SormunenFinland183,600
4Frederik JensenDenmark147,800
5Ole SchemionGermany147,500

The first of two starting days came with an insane rush for Ireland's Mahmood Rasheed who shot to the top of the leader board with full house over full house and quads, only to see Martin Kozlov double through him with quads. Rasheed was gone by the time dinner called after level six and Kozlov followed him to the rail in the last two levels of the night when his aces didn't hold up.

Sormunen took over on the very same table and busted players left and right; the Finn had accumulated almost six times the starting stack at the end of level six and the Finn seemed destined to be in the top spot after Day 1a. Mahmood Rasheed, Max Silver, Stephan Zesiger and Dario Sammartino were just some of his victims.

Among the other early casualties were Cate Hall, Iliodoros Kamatakis and Jorryt van Hoof.

Fatima Moreira de Melo had her aces cracked when Anatoly Korochenskiy turned quads tens. German High Roller regulars Philipp Gruissem and Martin Finger lasted less than half an hour each before also joining the rail. After coming back from dinner, the likes of Pierre Neuville, Theo Jørgensen, Ben Heath, Scott Seiver, Connor Drinan, Anthony Zinno, Steve O'Dwyer and Justin "Boosted J" Smith ran out of chips.

The rise of Dan Shak started just before dinner. In a three-bet pot, the American got it in with a jack-high flush draw against Luke Marsh's ace-queen and hit a jack on the river for a massive double. In the last hand of the night, Shak busted Ghassan Bitar after hero-calling with pocket queens on a flushy and paired board.

Another two big hands then highlighted the end of Day 1a:

  • A single-raised hand led to a ten-high flop, and the stacks of [Removed:155], Jeroen Soons and Thomas Rauhut collided. Rauhut had pocket aces, Soons ten-eight for top two pair, and Brand pocket tens for top set. Both the turn and river bricked and Brand knocked out Rauhut while almost tripling up in the process. Brand bagged up 163,300 and claimed the third spot on the overnight ranking.
  • Two former EPT champions; Oleksii Khoroshenin and Frederik Jensen clashed. Jensen had previously scored a lucky double through Sormunen and flat-called out of the big blind against a limp and a raise by Khoroshenin. Khoroshenin fired two barrels on a paired jack-high board and check-called the river shove with four-deuce for jacks and deuces only to see Jensen turn over queen-jack for trips.

Jensen bagged up 147,800 and is closely followed by German poker prodigy Ole Schemion with 147,500. Schemion finished 6th in the €25,750 Super High Roller earlier on the day before registering for the Main Event.

Other big stacks and notables include Guillaume Valle (143,200), Thomas Mjeldheim (139,700), Dmitry Yurasov (126,500) and Aliaksei Boika (125,100). The top 10 after Day 1a all have different nationalities. Further notables through to Day 2 are Roman Korenev (109,200), Brian Altman (105,300), Charlie Carrel (87,300) and Stephen Chidwick (80,900).

While Day 2 recommences on Tuesday at 12 p.m. local time, the second and bigger starting day kicks off tomorrow at the very same time. The PokerNews live reporting team will be back to provide all the action and you can then also follow updates for the €10,300 Single-Day High Roller as well.

Ole Schemion
Ole Schemion gathered 147,500 in chips on Day 1a, good for the top 5
  • Dan Shak ends Day 1a of the PokerStars EPT Malta Main Event on top of the leaderboard.

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