Along London’s Edgware Road you can find just about any kind of storefront you want. You can enjoy a piece of fried fish the size of a human infant, a warm bitter ale, or a big messy plate of bangers and mash. There are betting shops, fruit stands, and more curry joints than you’ll every be able to visit. Down this road from the Marble Arch has long sat an old casino known as The Vic.
It was in this place that for five seasons the European Poker Tour held its London event. Like many places in this fine city, the romance that walks arm in arm with history also breeds in very small quarters. Though the Vic has undergone some fairly remarkable renovations in the past six years, it could not make itself much bigger than it was.
The EPT, however, has grown and grown. It was time to solve a problem. How to fit a tournament of this size into a place the size of the Vic? In the time between Season 5 and Season 6, they had figured it out. The EPT and The Vic partnered up and rented a nice big place a few hundred meters down Edgware Road. Problem solved.
More than 300 runners packed the Kings Suite of the Hilton Metropole’s West Wing for Day 1A. With 30,000 starting stacks and a pleasant 50/100 blinds start, nobody was in any particular hurry to make an exit. Still, by the end of nine levels, approximately 140 players remained.
This was how we started the first of two Day 1 flights, the kickoff to an event that will take us through the weekend and all the way to next Wednesday when we finally crown the newest EPT London champion.
At the close of play, a quick look across the landscape revealed our chip leader, Mario Cordero. The French PokerStars qualifier sits on 218,100.
In the sub-200,000 club, but still holding big stacks: Kevin “ImaLuckSac” MacPhee (176,700), Darren Woods (164,200), Mortiz Schmejkal (157,500), Martin Gudvangen (156,000), Maximillian Heinzelmann (161,500).
Among the starters in today’s event were Team PokerStars Pros Arnaud Mattern, Maria Mayrinck, Johannes Steindl, Joep Van den Bijgaart, Alex Kravchenko, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Florian Langmann, Sandra Naujoks, Luca Pagano, Marcel Luske, Pieter de Korver, Johnny Lodden, Peter Eastgate, Vicky Coren, and Victor Ramdin.
We saw some breakout performances from the likes of Peter Eastgate (122,000), Arnaud Mattern (116,000), and Maria Mayrinck. She was among the top players of the day, at one point working her stack north of 147,000. By the close she had slipped a bit but still had an impressive 115,700 in front of her.
A story about which we’re sure to be writing more on Day 2? The Schaffel family’s trip to London. You might remember Kevin Schaffel, the man who made it through the 2009 WSOP field and will be sitting down with the November Nine in about six weeks. Today he was joined on Day 1A by his cousin Martin. Their friendly rivalry has Kevin slightly ahead at the end of the day with 74,600. Martin holds 68,200.
For the full list of chip counts from the field, be sure to check out out EPT London Chip Counts page.
While you’re waiting on those, we encourage our readers who read more than just English to check out our coverage in Swedish, German, and Italian. We also have knock-out video blogs over at PokerStars.tv.
We, of course, will be back promptly at noon tomorrow for the start of Day 1B. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out all of our coverage from today (no…really…read it…it’s why we’re here).
Day 1A Level 1 updates
Day 1A Level 2 updates
Day 1A Level 3 updates
Day 1A Level 4 updates
Day 1A Level 5 updates
Day 1A Level 6 updates
Day 1A Level 7 updates
Day 1A Level 8 updates
Day 1A Level 9 updates
All photos © Neil Stoddart