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European Poker Tour -- Grand Final Day 1A

Swede Heads Pack At PokerStars EPT Grand Final

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David Sonelin. Credit: Neil Stoddart.The PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final main event kicked off today in Madrid’s Gran Casino. A new venue for the final, and the first time an EPT is being held in the Spanish capital.

The building itself gives off an air of elegance and wealth, and as 302 well-groomed (due to the casino’s strict dress code) players made their way in from a downpour of rain, a sense of great importance could be felt in anticipation of what was to come.

One of those players would go home as the leader of the pack, but cannot rest completely without a worry, as in a day’s time he and the other survivors will be back to do it all again. Today that player is PokerStars qualifier David Sonelin. The Swede took down a 100,000 pot early-mid session with quad eights and romped from there to close the day with 275,900.

He is followed by the likes of American qualifier Brian England and EPT Berlin champ Ben Wilinofsky, not to forget, Allen Bari, EPT Deauville winner Lucien Cohen, and Alex Gomes. Gomes’ day got off to a great start when he won a healthy pot against Marvin Rettenmaier with quads versus a flush.

Here is the top 10 in chips at end of day 1A:

David Sonelin (Sweden) 275,900
Brian England (USA) 238,300
Ben Wilinofsky (Canada) 233,400
Alex Gomes (Brazil) 225,900
Lucien Cohen (France) 201,500
Garbar Geir Hauksson (Iceland) 176,600
Allen Bari (USA) 172,900
Hugo Lemaire (France) 172,300
Nicholas Verkaik (Canada) 161,000
Daniel Weinman (USA) 159,000

The tournament floor was filled with big stars of the game and title holders, such as WSOP champions Chris Moneymaker, Joe Cada, and Jonathan Duhamel, and EPT heroes Mike McDonald, Jason Mercier, David Vamplew, Kent Lundmark, Liv Boeree, Michael Eiler defending champ Nicolas Chouity.

Faces that won’t be seen in this main event again however (unless from the “other” side of the rail) include that of Dominik Nitsche, Richard Toth, Lex Veldhuis, JP Kelly, Jude Ainsworth, Barry Greenstein, and Vanessa Selbst.

San Remo champ Rupert Elder knocked out one of the most talked about players in poker, Tom Dwan. He did so after doubling through “durrrr” twice. The latest EPT champion could not hold on to his newly acquired chips however, as before end of play he found himself making his own long walk towards the exit.

Tomorrow a whole new field will set out in the hopes of becoming the Grand Final champion and Card Player will be there to bring you all the highs and the lows along the way. In the meantime, check out the live blog feed for up-to-the minute action.