After eight levels of 75 minutes each, the tournament screens in the Hilton Hotel in Prague showed 342 entrants for the first starting day of the €5,300 Main Event from the 2014 European Poker Tour Prague festival. Leading the field after a close race towards the finish line was Dmitry Ponomarev with 159,800 chips. There are 201 players remaining from this flight.
Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
The Russian Ponomarev has $226,392 in live tournament cashes with his biggest score coming off a first-place finish in a $2,200 side event at the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $117,580. He was closely followed on the leader board by 2014 EPT Vienna champion Oleksii Khoroshenin (150,500), Brian Altman (150,300), and Morten Christensen (143,800). Igor Pihela Sr. won his entry to the €50,000 Super High Roller in a satellite and his son, Igor Pihela Jr., did so for the Main Event. The younger of the two bagged up 131,500 chips on Day 1a.
Other notables with big stacks include Petr Jelinek (137,100), Jean-Philippe Piquette (128,000), Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden (117,700), Shannon Shorr (101,700), Sam Greenwood (90,600), former EPT Barcelona €10,300 High Roller champion Thomas Muhlocker (86,000), and Anton Wigg (72,000). Two other Team PokerStars Pros made it through as well, with 2014 World Series of Poker Player of the Year George Danzer bagging up 40,100 and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier finishing with 38,100. Team PokerStars Pro Online's Isaac Haxton (60,000) and Mickey Petersen (29,100) bagged up chips as well.
Fellow Team Pros Martin Hruby and Chris Moneymaker didn't make it through, unfortunately, with Moneymaker failing to improve with the against the . Furthermore, it proved to be a rough day for former EPT champions such as Mikalai Pobal, Kevin Stani, Antonio Buonanno, Sebastian Pauli, Mike McDonald, Zimnan Ziyard, Tom Middleton, and David Vamplew. They all fell before the end of play.
Similar fates were had by Jonathan Little, Dominik Nitsche, Joni Jouhkimainen, Fabrice Soulier, Marvin Rettenmaier, Adrian Mateos, David Peters, Christopher Brammer, and Pierre Neuville. Reigning PCA Main Event champion Dominik Panka was very active early on, but the his roller coaster of a day ended before the dinner break.
Finally, it was a day to celebrate for Russia. Leonid Markin defeated Paul Newey in the €50,000 Super High Roller to win the title, and you can read more about that here.
The PokerNews will be back tomorrow at 12:00 CET for Day 1b of the Main Event where players will still be allowed to buy in until the start of Day 2 on Saturday. The magic number to beat for EPT Prague will be 1,007 entries, which came in 2013 when Julian Track emerged victorious and claimed a payday of €725,700.
While you wait for Day 1b's action to start, check out this video with Danzer where he discusses his WSOP Player of the Year win with Remko Rinkema: