Day 1a of the World Poker Tour Malta main event has been completed and what a day it was. The field size may have been slightly smaller than anticipated but there were plenty of big names among the 64 entries. By the time tournament director Chritin Scalzsi called time on proceedings there were only 34 players remaining in the field, these 34 topped by Denmark's Casper Toft and his 123,600 chips.
It has been almost exactly 12 months since Toft has a live score recorded on his Hendon Mob page, the last entry was on September 14, 2011 when he finished 30th in a €1,500 buy-in event at the Partouche Poker Tour for a score of €3,500. Since that date there have been no further entries but if he keeps up his current form that will all end here in Malta this week.
Toft added the chips of Vladimir Geshkenbein to his own stack towards the end of play when his pocket eights held against Geshkenbein's and those extra chips were enough to propel Toft to the top of the chip counts when play did end.
Other players who had great days at the felt include a regular on the WPT and a player who finished third in the WPT Venice Grand Prix, Andrea Dato (106,300), Dato's fellow countryman Alfonso Amendola (106,000), [Removed:39] (103,700) and the sixth place finisher at the recent WPT Merit Cyprus Classic, Kiryl Radzivonau (94,800).
Day 1a also the likes of Dominik Nitsche (91,400), Australias's Jeffrey Rossiter (82,400), the legendary Phil Hellmuth (47,000) and Jonathan Duhamel (40,900) all make it through to Tuesday's Day 2. Hellmuth was stalked, for want of a better word, by Spider-Man during play today and we have it on good authority the same costume-wearing person will be sporting a new outfit tomorrow for when Tony G makes an appearance!
Along with the aforementioned Geshkenbein, the following big names failed to make it through the day with their chip stacks intact. The hyper-aggressive Cecilia Pescaglini, Erik Cajelais, Sean Jazayeri, Roger Hairabedian (who was eliminated twice) and Marvin Rettenmaier (also eliminated twice).
Monday's Day 1b should see a bumper crowd descend on the Casino at Portomaso including the likes of Jason Mercier, Vanessa Selbst and a whole host of other familiar faces.
Join the PokerNews Live Reporting team from 13:00 CET for all the action, as it happens from Day 1b of the WPT Malta main event