World Poker Tour Merit Cyprus Classic Day 1a: Panyak Takes the Lead

Maxim Panyak

The 11th Season of the World Poker Tour kicked off in Kyrenia, Cyprus, for the WPT Merit Cyprus Classic. Day 1a attracted 163 players to the all-inclusive hotel and casino, but by the end of the first day, we'd lost over half the field and Maxim Panyak finished as the Day 1a chip leader. Panyak won several big pots, including knocking out Andreas Krause with queens versus ace-king, to finish the day with 255,800 — a healthy target for everyone playing Day 1b.

Atzlan Gil, in second place, is the only other player over the 200,000 mark, he with 207,100. The day ended with 67 players remaining, but with 102 eliminations plus a few non-satisfied survivors combined with many players who had only planned to play Day 1B, a much larger field is expected on Sunday.

The $4,000+$400 event is the first major tournament Gaelle Baumann has played since bubbling the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table in July. On Saturday, Baumann made it is as far as level five before she was eliminated. She held {a-}{k-} on a {K-}{3-}{3-} board against two-time WPT champion Tommy Vedes' {3-}{2-} in a three-bet pot, but could not improve. She has already indicated she'll probably be rebuying on Sunday.

Vedes didn't last too much longer, but we suspect he'll be reentering as well. Other notables who took a shot on Day 1a but didn't make it through includes Chris Moorman (got short stacked and lost with eights to queens), Dominik Nitsche (top two pair against a set), Nicolas Chouity (made a big bluff and got called) and Zimnan Ziyard (top pair versus two pair).

Marvin Rettenmaier (122,200), Toni Judet (101,000) Erik Cajelais (71,900), Marco Neuman (63,300) and Stuart Fox (86,200) are among those who have made it through to Day 2.

Sunday's field is expected to be much larger and should include all four of the Mizrachi brothers. Rumors are swirling that Daniel Cates and Chino Rheem may also be in attendance.

Day 1b will begin at 1300 EEST (0300 PDT) and play is expected to last 10 levels. Be sure to join the PokerNews Live Reporting Team for all the action from the felt.

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