We said it would be a day chock full of the big names today, and we weren’t disappointed. This morning the greatest concentration of poker power since, well, yesterday, made its way to London’s Victoria Casino on Edgware Road for a battle royale on the baize. Nearly 300 came yesterday, the same came today making for an official field count of 596.The plan is to have just one player standing on Sunday so it was brutal combat all the way.
From Team PokerStars Pro alone the player list included World Champions Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem. Also Barry Greenstein, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Dario Minieri, Isabelle Mercier, Noah Boeken, Hevad Khan, Katja Thater, Marcin Horecki, Humberto Brenes and Andre Akkari.
That said nothing of the four Million Dollar Men of the pending World Series main event final, using the EPT as warm up to their big dance in the desert next month. It also said nothing of the PokerStars Ambassador Boris Becker playing in only his second EPT event.
Watch EPT London 08 Day 1b; Borris Becker Interview on PokerStars.tv
After reading all that and taking a breath, back to the action.
As usual it was fierce, fast and merciless. EPTs offer no place to hide, no shade from harmful rays, and without a good stack life can get uncomfortable. That same story was in play for more than 200 players tonight, banished to the rail, left there to watch the vanquishers either fall victim themselves or stretch out a stack good enough to make a run on the money tomorrow afternoon.
So who were those fallers?
Greg Raymer was one of them, perhaps the victim of bad luck more than anything, holding the nuts on the flop only to be outdrawn two streets along.
The EPT Barcelona winner Sebastian Ruthenberg met the same fate, as did other at various stages including Andy Black, Anthony Holden, Darus Suharto, Hevad Khan, Katja Thater, Dustin Mele, Alberto Tomba, Ylon Schwartz and Andreas Hoivold.
Another PokerStars Million Dollar Man Darus Suharto talked to the video blog team.
Watch EPT London 08 Day 1b; Darus Suharto Interview on PokerStars.tv
There was no question as to which was the fabled table of death and smack bang in the middle of it was the Team PokerStars Pro Noah Boeken. With him for the ride were the poker heavyweights Phil Ivey, Danny Ryan, Praz Bansi and Chris Bjorin, all making difficult work of the early levels and ultimately all beaten for good.
Next to Noah’s table was Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier whose day was also not the kind you’d plan. Reduced to a short stack early on, he was forced to push all-in a number of times, eventually succumbing mid way through the day. David “Chino” Rheem had the same result, Chris Moneymaker and Joe Hachem the same later.
But where there is defeat there is also success, however temporary, a sensation felt by Team PokerStars Pros Isabelle Mercier and Andre Akkari who spent the day side by side but made it through, like two marathon runners who, in the spirit of camaraderie, cross the line together. Barry Greenstein joins them, as does the Polish team member Marcin Horecki.
Peter Eastgate was the last surviving Million Dollar Man while the PokerStars qualifiers Stephen Chidwick and Ramzi Jelassi will both return tomorrow. Racing driver and PokerStars sponsored player Gualter Salles dodged heavy traffic and high speed collisions to do the same, as did former EPT winner Julian Thew and World Series H.O.R.S.E. champion Scotty Nguyen.
That’s just part of the story. You can find a full run down of approximate chip counts of the notable survivors HERE. Official counts will be published in the same place once we get them.
In other news there was a welcome distraction in another part of London today. Across town the World Series of Poker Europe main event final was in full swing with two players close to the PokerStars family hoping to finish the day a bracelet to the good. Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu and Million Dollar Man Ivan Demidov of Russia were the two flag flyers in question and although late tonight we heard that Negreanu had finished in fifth place, Demidov was still in the chase as Thursday turned to Friday.
He spoke to our video bloggers earlier today:
Watch EPT London 08 Day 1b- WSOPE Final Table Ivan Demidov on PokerStars.tv
So to tomorrow. After the terra-forming of day one the tournament will take on a new landscape for day two, when the prospect of the money, the concentrated field and the raising stakes will make for a day of high drama at the tables.
It starts at 1.30pm tomorrow, as do we. In the meantime you can catch up on all the day’s news by visiting the links below:
All star cast for day 1b
The lay of the land
Bullet-point bulletin No1
The gaps are filled
Two in, two out
Route one to the EPT
Or not the EPT
Bullet-point bulletin No2
Gallery of stars
Life on sharp end
Bullet-point bulletin No3
Team PokerStars round-up
Surviving the day according to Ryan
No let up after the break
Akkari playing for the shirt on his back
Last of the Million Dollar Men
Pedantry, double-ups and bust-outs