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888poker LIVE Bucharest: Papazian, and 888poker's Saliba Among Big Stacks

Vivian Saliba

The first of three starting days of the 888poker LIVE Festival Bucharest €888 Main Event is in the books and Day 1a drew a total of 110 entries. This put the tournament on track to meet and surpass the guaranteed prize pool of €288,000. The 888poker LIVE series headed to the Romanian capital for the very first time and picked the perfect location for the event; the stunning JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, in cooperation with Pokerfest Romania.

Within the first seven levels of 45 minutes each, plenty of players took advantage of the unlimited re-entry option, and the eliminations kept coming at an alarming pace. The players busted so quickly that tournament staff decided to cut down the number of levels by one and bag up for the night after the end of level 11. At that point, just 27 hopefuls were still in contention with Nicolae Sorin Son soaring to the top of the leaderboard in the final level of the night. Son took two pots of Florin Tatu to put 203,000 to his name and edged into the top spot.

PositionPlayerCountryChip Count
1Nicolae Sorin SonRomania203,000
2Luca MoschittaItaly185,000
3Alexandru PapazianRomania185,000
4Ion Silviu ScobaiRomania173,000
5Razvan BordeiRomania171,000

Saliba eventually lost queens to kings in the last hands of the night to settle for 146,500.

WSOP bracelet winner Alexandru Papazian had to re-enter after three barrels on an ace-high board with pocket deuces. He did better on his second bullet; the first ever Romanian to win the elusive gold bracelet ended up joint second in chips with Luca Moschitta as both players bagged up 185,000. Moschitta himself went from almost zero to hero in the later stages of the day when he first tripled up with pocket kings, then doubled through Catalin Pop, and cracked pocket aces with pocket kings to score another big double.

Alexandru Papazian
2017 WSOP bracelet winner Alexandru Papazian

Vivian Saliba was one of two 888poker ambassadors that took to the tables on Day 1a. While Natalie Hof departed in unfortunate fashion, the Brazilian dominated her table with plenty of aggression. A nut flush over second nut flush setup gave the Pot-Limit Omaha specialist a shot at the overnight lead, but Saliba eventually lost queens to kings in the last hands of the night to settle for 146,500.

888poker ambassadors Natalie Hof, Sofia Lovgren, and Martin Jacobson will surely join the action.

Other big stacks and notables through to Day 2 include Razvan Bordei (171,000), Catalin Pop (170,000), Cristian Tardea (158,000), Andrei Nodea (130,000), Carmen Zainescu (96,500), Dan Petrea (81,500), and Michael Teplitski (66,500).

Among those to enter once or more without advancing just yet were such familiar faces as Ran Azor, Federico Petruzzelli, Ozgur Arda, Silviu Baltateanu, Marius Pertea, Pasquale Grimaldi, Viliyan Petleshkov, and Florin Pandilica. Arda had to re-enter and ran with eights into kings, while Petleshkov flopped bottom set with deuces only to run into a set of jacks in the first attempt. He then busted once more after the registration had just closed when his nines were no good against aces.

Most of those that busted on Day 1a are expected to join the action again on Day 1b as of 1 p.m. local time. 888poker ambassadors Natalie Hof, Sofia Lovgren, and 2014 WSOP Main Event champion Martin Jacobson will surely join the action, as are another 20 players who won their seat in the Main Event satellite.

Tune back in tomorrow to follow the exclusive action right here on PokerNews! You can find all the 888poker LIVE Bucharest updates in the PokerNews Live Reporting section.

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