It was an action-packed day at the WSOP Europe inside the King's Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The series kicked off with Day 1A of Event #1: €1,100 No-Limit Hold'Em Monster Stack and it was Ryan Hefter making the biggest spotlight of the day.
Hefter, the defending champion of this event in 2015, came through the day as one of the largest stacks sitting at 208,000. Hefter hails from New York, New York and made the trip to WSOPE mainly for this event. Hefter only has four recorded live tournament cashes for a total of $210,457. Another win in the Monster Stack event could lead to Hefter extending his trip to play in some more events throughout the series.
There were many notables that flooded the tournament area on opening day of the 2017 WSOP Europe rendition. There was much anticipation as to who would show up of those contenders in the Player of the Year race. Of the top ten players in contention, Chris Ferguson, John Racener, Ryan Hughes, and Alex Foxen have all made the trip to King's Casino from the United States. Foxen and Racener both made deep runs on Day 1A but were eliminated in the last couple levels. Ferguson busted earlier in the day and Hughes (81,500) was the only one of the four to bag chips to move onto Day 2.
Some familiar names to find a bag at the end of Day 1A include chip leader Ismael Bojang (268,500), Jeff Cormier (265,000), Mike Leah (96,000), and James Akenhead (46,500). Bojang is coming off a strong WSOP in Las Vegas with eight cashes, his best being an eighth-place finish for $46,887 in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'Em - 6 Handed event. He has a total of over $2.7 million in live tournament earnings and will be looking to have another strong series on his home turf.
There were a total of 90 entries to walk through the doors of the Poker Arena today, many of which were unable to make a deep run. Of those, Kristen Bicknell, Catalin Pop, Felipe Ramos, Pierre Neuville, Roberto Romanello, Jeff Lisandro, Marc MacDonnell, Daniele Primerano, and Kenny Hallaert all hit the rail early on. There is a good chance that all of these players will be back to battle on the felt for Day 1B tomorrow.
The remaining 15 players will return on Sunday for Day 2 where the blinds will increase to 60-minute levels. There are still two starting flights remaining for those looking to join them.
The PokerNews live reporting team will be back on the tournament floor on Friday at 2:00 PM local time to bring you all of the action from Day 1B.