It is advantage Friedrich Raz at the German Poker Championship as he bagged up 3,180,000 chips on Day 1a, but tennis legend and partypoker ambassador Boris Becker is close behind with 2,839,000 after eight levels of intense poker at King's Casino.
After numerous online feeder satellites and Phase 1s, the live Day 1a finally got underway for the €1,000,000 Gtd German Poker Championship Main Event in Rozvadov with 38 players who earned their seat that way, eventually joined by another 26 who bought in directly or decided to fire another bullet to make a total of 64 entries.
In the end it was a good day all round for Team partypoker. Becker arrived late into the fifth level having made a glamorous entrance, arriving by helicopter and being followed by his own camera crew. Becker played his usual solid game but it was a spectacular hand late in the penultimate level of the day that propelled him to the top of the leaderboard. Becker flopped a set of sixes against the ace-high flush draw of his opponent Peter Zolnai. All the chips went in the middle in one of the biggest pots of the tournament and when the turn and river bricked out Becker had the lead.
Canadian partypoker pro Kristen Bicknell perhaps has mixed feelings about the day. Bicknell was in the Day 2 High Roller but busted short of the money and immediately entered the Main Event. In one of her very first hands though she defended from the big blind holding and with a final board reading she led river then called a shove from Benjamin Schroder who held the superior flush. Bicknell got straight back in the saddle with the allowed single re-buy, indeed the same horse as she was allocated the exact same seat. Her persistence was rewarded though and she eventually finished on 1,449,000.
partypoker pro Natalia Breviglieri from the U.K. bought in directly at the start of the second level of the day, fashionably late you might say, and was seated at the same table as Raul Cuc. Both Breviglieri and Cuc final tabled the Millions event here back in June. Breviglieri started strong but eventually fell away a little to finish on 958,000. She pronounced herself happy enough with the result though, surviving on a single bullet despite being down to as low as 250,000 at one point.
There seemed to be a large percentage of extremely tough poker players in the field including a number who entered after busting the High Roller. Some of those names you will see returning for Day 2 include Martin Staszko (2,658,000), Vojtech Ruzicka (1,545,000), Kenny Hallaert (1,048,000), Jeff Lisandro (1,236,000) and Elena Litvinyuk (1,858,000).
Some of the players who failed to make it through on this opening Day 1 include Milan Sasek, Peter Zolnai, Vojtich Kratochvil, Raul Cuc and local celebrity and businessman 'chiKKita banAAna.' They can fire a couple more bullets tomorrow if they so wish.
Of the 64 entries, 36 made it through to Day 2 which starts on Saturday, August 12 at 3 p.m. Before that though there is a Day 1b on Friday at 12 p.m. and a Turbo Day 1c on the 12th again at 12 p.m.
The PokerNews live reporting team will bring you all the action from the felt as the partypoker German Poker Championship continues, so be sure not to miss a moment.