After Day 1 of the TonyBet Open-Face Chinese World Championship Main Event, the 118 entrants were whittled down to 12. When the day ended, Russia's Sergey Bagirov was in the lead with 552,000 in chips. His fellow countryman, Sergei Illarionov, was second with 472,000 in chips.
Many big names that entered the event were eliminated before the money bubble broke, including last year's Main Event winner Mikal Blomlie from Norway, last year's TonyBet OFC Championship High Roller event winner Jennifer Shahade from the USA, yesterday's High Roller runner-up Evgeny Kocherov from Russia, and this year's Progressive Pineapple event winner and TonyBet Poker Ambassador Isabelle Mercier.
Also in attendance and eliminated from play today were Italy's Max Pescatori, Norway's Claus Carlsen, and Russia's Sergey Rybachenko.
There were 40 players of the original 118 to survive through dinner break. When play resumed, eliminations came fast and furious until Singapore's Yuanxi Chen, who came out to Prague just to play in the OFC World Championship events, was eliminated in 16th place.
Shortly afterwards, it was China's Ping Lin and last night's High Roller winner Maxim Panyak from Russia eliminated in 15th and 14th places respectfully for €1,548.
Almost two blind levels passed before the tournament saw the final elimination of the day, when Germany's Mario Kuhl was eliminated in 13th place for €1,548.
Six players in total, or half the remaining field, are from Russia. Along with Bagirov and Illarionov, the other four Russian players are Ilia Karasin (282,000 chips), Alexandra Usoltseva (270,000 chips), Yury Gulyy (214,000), and Evgeniy Taranyuk (155,000 chips).
Canada has two representatives left in the tournament, with Jean-Philippe Piquette (231,000) and Jean Beniot (170,000). The other four players are each representing different European countries, including Roman Pavliuk (Ukraine, 393,000), Tomas Ksenevicius (Lithuania, 392,000), Dzianis Kisel (Belarus, 293,000), and Johnny Johansen (Norway, 117,000).
Play will resume at 15:00 CET on Wednesday, with points worth 3,000 in chips each and with chip levels increasing every 45 minutes. We expect a ton of action with the average stack of 295,000 almost at 100 points per player. Every returning player is guaranteed a €2,009 payday.
Stay tuned at PokerNews as we follow the TonyBet Poker OFC Championship Main Event in our live reporting section until a champion is declared. A feature table will be streamed with a 15-minute delay which you can also follow on PokerNews.