It’s good to be back. That was the main theme of day 1a in Prague, a welcomed return to one of the European Poker Tour’s prestige destinations. The best players, a tournament room with space to breathe and surrounded by a town you can happily get lost in and merrily drink your way out of, toasting the locals at every turn.
The task in hand today was eight levels, each now completed, leaving 119 of the 219 who started today released for late night adventures, while another flight prepares with an early night ahead of their arrival tomorrow.
Leading the charge into that Prague night are two players finishing almost neck and neck. Marc Gork of Dortmund and poetry fame bagged up 169,200 while closest to him was the Frenchman Rui Coa, just a black chip behind, on 169,100.
They were top of a strong bunch returning on day two in hot pursuit. Martin Hruby finished on 161,500, winning one of the biggest pots of the day which eliminated Melanie Weisner. Domantas Klimciauskas finished with 130,000 while Luc Greenwood, a PokerStars qualifier from Canada, closed on 117,000.
Marc Gork, chip leader, just
Gork may have finished with the chip lead but he was granted an even bigger wish, finishing the day on Sandra Naujoks’s table.
Not by coincidence, those early night privileges are also bestowed on a list of 100 players who busted today; their invitation to return revoked.
Shaun Deeb was among those looking for alternative arrangements this week, busting in the second level, as was Melanie Weisner, a Deebist from the internet, whose grand main event plans were crushed by Hruby. The finalist from last year Konstantinos Alexiou also departed, despite a strong start. Former champion Julian Thew is also gone, as are the Team PokerStars Pros Ben Kang, Ruben Visser and Joep van den Bijgaart.
They left a strong contingent from the PokerStars stable. Florian Langmann (108,700) will return, leading the branded bunch that includes Arnaud Mattern (86,000), JP Kelly (77,000), Sandra Naujoks (71,700), Marcel Luske (54,200), Marcin Horecki (49,000) and Katja Thater (38,000).
They return on Thursday for day two, not before day 1b reshapes this whole scene, a day expected to be packed wall to wall, with satellites playing in to the night boosting the high turnout currently checking in to the Prague Hilton.
Until then you can catch up on the events of the day at the links below, with level by level updates and features from the day:
Then the features of the day. Of course we have no objection to you doing that the other way around.
The overnight scores are on the chip count page, becoming official once tournament staff confirms the counts. Don’t forget the video bloggers have been using software beyond most of us all day. See their work at PokerStars.tv. Our thanks also go to our snapper in Chief Neil Stoddart who flapped happily around the tournament room today after his wings were clipped by Vilamouran law makers. And don’t forget you can also read foreign equivalents of all this on our Swedish, German and Italian sister blogs.
That’s it for today then. Play resumes tomorrow at noon for eight levels of heavyweight poker. Join us then.