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EPT: Barcelona Open Day 1A

A Large Field Shrinks Fast in Spain

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To say that the chips were flying on day 1A at the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Barcelona Open would be an understatement. In a tournament poker world where double and sometimes triple starting stacks have become the norm, the 10,000 stacks that players began with at the Gran Casino Barcelona looked quaint by comparison. From the start of level 1, many players were playing hot potato with their chips, and it didn’t end until the final bell rang just after 1 a.m. The first day-one flight drew 292 players, but at the end of the night, just 112 remained.

Luca PaganoAt the start of the day, the room still buzzed about the first-ever EPT Awards and the party that followed from the evening before. Here is a look at the award winners, a few of which were in action on day 1A:

Player of the Year: Luca Pagano
Best Newcomer: Trond Erik Eidsvig
Performance of the Year: Julian Thew
Overseas Player of the Year: Michael McDonald
PokerStars Qualifier of the Year: Danny Ryan
Poker Writers Award: Julian Thew
People's Choice Award: Mike McDonald

Early action claimed the chips of many, and the full list of casualties is too long to mention here, but the most high-profile professionals to exit on day 1A included Rolf Slotboom, Ludovic Lacay, David “Devilfish” Ulliott, David Williams, Annette Obrestad, Barny Boatman, Michael McDonald, Noah Schwartz, Patrick Bueno, and Team PokerStars pros Vanessa Rousso, Vicky Coren, and Greg Raymer.

In many cases, it was the pros who took chunks out of each other on their way to the top. Danny Ryan won an early skirmish with Raymer, and Isaac Haxton stole over 3,000 from Obrestad during the early levels of the day. This began a march to the rail for both Raymer and Obrestad, while Ryan and Haxton ended the day with 12,600 and 32,500, respectively. Perhaps the biggest clash between two pros came later in the day, when November Nine finalist David “Chino” Rheem tangled with Noah Schwartz (from CardPlayer.com’s live updates):

Chino Rheem raised to 850 preflop, and Noah Schwartz made the call. Both the blinds called, as well, and the flop was dealt J 9 8. Rheem bet 1,800, and Schwartz raised all in for 5,300. Both blinds mucked, and Rheem called, turning up 8 8. Schwartz turned up A J, and the board finished with the 6 and 9. Schwartz was eliminated on the hand, and Rheem moved up to 40,000.

Rheem would also hit the rail by the end of the evening, and other late exits were taken by Erica Schoenberg, Michael Mizrachi, and Pascal Perrault. Although Rheem faltered, another November Nine finalist did not. Scott Montgomery experienced a nice surge during the late levels of the day, and he ended things near the top of leader board after this hand (from CardPlayer.com's live updates):
Scott Montgomery
Scott Montgomery raised to 1,200 in middle position and was called by Julien Sallin in the cutoff. The flop came 4 4 4, and Montgomery bet 2,000. Sallin called, and the turn was the 9. Montgomery checked, and Sallin bet 4,000. Montgomery check-raised to 10,900, and Sallin went into the tank before making the call. The river was the J, and Montgomery asked the dealer how much Sallin had left. Sallin took his time stacking his chips into equal piles before the dealer shrugged his shoulders and said, "About 12." Montgomery then moved all in for a little under 10,000, and Sallin tanked for two minutes before folding, saving his last 11,900. Montgomery took the pot and now moved up to about 40,000.

The rest of the field will take flight tomorrow on day 1B, and all of the 308 remaining spots in the tournament (registration is capped at 600) are expected to be filled. Tune back in to CardPlayer.com tomorrow to catch all of the action at 3 p.m. local time (6 a.m. PDT).

Here is a look at the day 1A leader board:

Michael Murra: 85,000
Ramzi Jelassi: 70,000
Andre Akkari: 63,400
Michael Keiner: 62,000
Jesper Hougaard: 58,000
Jason Mercier: 47,500
Daniel Mangas: 41,000
Chad Brown: 33,800
Isaac Haxton: 32,500
Robert Mizrachi: 28,100