The 2014 partypoker World Poker Tour National Prague Main Event kicked off on December 4 when 46 players took to the felt of the Kings Casino at the Corinthia Hotel in the heart of the Czech Republic. Only one player, Shannon Shorr, took advantage of the re-entry format, taking the total Day 1a attendance to 47.
After the completion of eight levels, 24 players still had chips in front of them, but nobody had more that Russia's Alexander Lakhov who finished the first of two starting flights with a tournament leading stack of 182,900.
Lakhov finished as runner-up to Marcin Wydrowski in the 2012 World Poker Tour Prague Main Event so has previous form in this city. More recently, in September 2014, Lakhov captured the partypoker WPT Merit Classic North Cyprus title and its $325,400 first place prize. Thanks to finishing Day 1a of this event with almost 44,000 chips more than his nearest rival, Lakhov shold be confident of matching one of those two aforementioned results.
Finishing second in chips as the curtain came down on the first start day was Anton Wigg (139,000), an extremely talented Swede who has been a regular in Europe and around the world for several years. Wigg's best performance in a WPT event came in 2012 when he finished 11th in Vienna, although let's not forget that Wigg is a European Poker Tour champion having won the Copenhagen Main Event in 2010.
While Lakhov and Wigg should be applauded for their Day 1 efforts, it is the name in third place that has attracted our attention. It is that of British superstar Stephen Chidwick.
We mentioned in our Global Poker Index related article earlier this week that Chidwick has a super record in Prague and that looks set to continue judging by the fact he accumulated 111,400 chips on Day 1a here. Back in 2013, Chidwick helped himself to third place finishes in both the EUREKA and EPT Prague Main Events, taking home more than €470,000 for his efforts. There is something about poker in Prague that Chidwick excels in, let's hope he can finish third or higher in this event and give the Brits back home something to cheer about.
Joining Chidwick through to Day 2 are a number of his fellow British grinders including Bolton Wanderers fan Lee Taylor (63,700), Phillip McAllister (47,500), Andrew Hills (44,600), and Tom High (37,200), while notables such as online legend Chris Hunichen (99,100), former partypoker Team Pro Marvin Rettenmaier (62,400), Dylan Linde (41,400), and Jonathan Little (25,100) also navigated their way through the Day 1a waters.
2014 partypoker WPT Prague End-of-Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
|9||Ka Kwan Lau||60,900|
Day 1b kicked off at 1:00 p.m. on Friday 5 December and will see eight levels played. Day 1a bustees such as Sam Cohen, Shannon Shorr, Martin Staszko, 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Felix Stephensen, David Peters, Giacomo Fundaro, and Sergio Aido can all re-enter (and probably will) and they should be joined a whole host of star names including British grinders Steve Watts, Charles Chattha, Danny Laming, Ryan Spittles, Roberto Romanello, Simon Deadman and former EPT London champion David Vamplew.
Follow al of the action over at our partypoker WPT National Prague Live Reporting pages and check back into UK & Ireland PokerNews on Saturday for a recap of the action.