A massive field was expected for the second of three starting days of the 2019 PokerStars EPT Prague €1,100 EPT National and the entire main tournament area along with the outer tables were filled as poker enthusiasts from near and far headed to their seats at the Hilton Prague. Ultimately, a field of 1,248 entries emerged for Day 1b and the top 187 ended up reaching Day 2.
It took just over 17 levels of 40 minutes each to whittle down the field to the top 15% and a close race for the chip lead vaulted Lithuania's Gediminas Uselis into the top spot with 768,000, followed by several other players with more than half a million in chips including Gabriele Guerrini (702,000), Dan Serban Borlan (682,000), Aleksandr Levashov (613,000), Gregory Armand (597,000) and Vasyl Zabrodskyy (521,000).
Armand has sweet memories of the previous €1,100 EPT National Main Event as he finished 14th for € 34,770 at Casino Barcelona in August 2019. Carlos Branco, who also bagged up an above-average stack of 372,000, scored a career-best payday of €242,560 for his 5th place finish in the 2018 EPT Prague €10,300 Main Event here at the Hilton Prague and seems poised for another deep run in the Czech capital.
One particular player to watch out for near the top of the Day 1b leaderboard is online legend Viktor "Isildur1" Blom, who claimed 460,000 to his name and will have more than two times the average at his disposal when the action for Day 2 resumes at noon local time with 4:18 remaining in Level 17 (3,000/6,000/6,000). Once the blinds increase, the level duration will switch to 60 minutes each for the rest of the tournament.
Other notables that made the cut on Day 1b include Josep Galindo (469,000), Andrei Konopelko (362,000), Josh Reichard (359,000), Felix Schulze (288,000), 2016 EPT Prague Main Event champion Jasper Meijer van Putten (209,000) and former WSOP Main Event finalist Martin Staszko (148,000).
Many others were not as fortunate with such big names as the PokerStars ambassador Felix Schneiders, Ramon Colillas and Kalidou Sow, 2018 EPT National Barcelona champion Jean-René Fontaine, Julien Martini, Jason Gray, Sebastian Malec, Arsenii Karmatckii, Markku Koplimaa, and 2017 winner Georgios Vrakas departed before the bubble.
The money bubble for Day 1b burst without hand-for-hand mode going into effect as the field was cut down in rapid succession. Jean-Serge Baril saw his hopes vanish when he ran nines into pocket tens and busted right after just two spots shy of making Day 2.
Not all tables had finished their current hand yet when another all-in and call was announced. Ylva Thorsrud looked up Shalev Halfa (pictured above in the white top) on a queen-ten-four flop with two hearts and her set of tens had Halfa with pocket aces in a world of pain. A gutshot opened on the turn but the river blanked to let all remaining 187 Day 1b survivors bag and tag for the night.
The top 15% of each Day 1 will combine to a single field for the first time as of noon local time and 367 players out of 2,452 entries remain. While a new record for this very event in Prague was missed by just three dozen entries, it created a stunning prize pool of €2,353,920 and Day 2 is expected to play up to 10 levels of 60 minutes each.
Stay tuned to find out who gets one step closer to victory in Prague as the PokerNews team will be on the floor from start-to-finish until a champion is crowned.