The first EPT event since Rob Hollink playing alongside EPT4 Prague finalists Juha Lauttamus and Gino Alacqua, as well as Finnish Flash Alex Kravchenko.
As the day wore on, Table 17 would see its top-tier lineup disintegrate as first Minieri (crippled after chasing a gut-shot straight to the river and falling to an opponent's pair of jacks) and then Mizzi (crippled after four-betting all-in with A-Q and doubling up an opponent with pocket kings) hit the rail. Table 7, however, would just get scarier, as Thater was moved to Hollink's seat and Mats Rahmn joined the fray in the nine seat.
Alacqua, Lauttamus, Kravchenko and Helppi would all succumb as day turned into night turned into early morning, but Thater and Rahmn would survive the day's eight levels and will return to the felt for Thursday's Day 2 action.
Elsewhere in the tournament play was characterized mainly by a succession of unorthodox strategies that, more often than not, resulted in their practitioner being banished to the rail. On table after table, the PokerListings.com staff was left shocked and appalled as players gleefully desecrated the virtue of our glorious game in the name of early eliminations. Thanks to the EPT's revolutionary carding system, which allows the poker media to follow the progression of every player throughout every day of the event, we are able to out these heretofore anonymous offenders and will describe some of the more astounding perversions of the game in the following paragraphs:
A player in middle position limps with big slick and proceeds to check blind twice on a raggedy board before laying the hand down to a medium-sized bet. The man, one Tommy Hansen, then proceeds to exclaim, "I just can't win with ace-king." Not like that you can't.
Esteemed PokerListings.com Donkamentarian Martin Derbyshire would then bear witness to two egregious examples of players failing to lay down high pocket pairs when faced with indisputable evidence that they were beaten. First, Henrik Kask would three-bet all-in on an 8-8-6 flop with pocket kings and would bust to Jens Vortmann's 8-7. Then Maceij Mazur would call four-bets all-in preflop with suited ace-king and seemingly be unable to fathom his being behind in the hand. His opponent turned up aces, however, and no donkstrikery could set Mazur right.
Next on the crazy docket was the biggest hand of the day, a debacle in motion that made one man the chip leader and another man the dunce. A player in the button raised to $2,600 with blinds $300/$600 and was called by both Cyrille Chabot in the small blind and Scsava Kuramszke in the big blind. The flop came Q♥ 7♦ 4♠ and Chabot let out with an overbet worth $10,000.
Kuramszke was eager to call (the button got the *&%# out of there) and the turn was the 5♣. This time Chabot checked and it was Kuramszke pushing the $10,000 into the middle. Chabot tanked before moving all-in for $45,000 and Kuramszke was left with a decision for his last $25,000. After not enough thought he made the call, showing K♥ Q♣ for top pair, but found himself outkicked by Chabot's A♣ Q♦. The river was a blank and Kuramszke had just thrown away his substantial stack on the strength of top-not top.
Chabot, then, would finish the day as chip leader with close to $100,000, ahead of roughly 74 other contestants heading into Day 2. The remainder of the field will turn up tomorrow for Day 1b, and among them we fully expect Boris Becker, Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand Grospellier and Marcel Luske to be in attendance. The action will begin anew at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. EST) and continue for eight more levels, so tune in to PokerListings.com all day to see just what the donkey do in Dortmund.
Live updates and all of Day 1a's action can be found right here.