When the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event began last summer, not many diehard poker fans had heard the name Will Kassouf.
The British solicitor had a relatively well known moment or two on the EPT live stream previously but few casual fans in the poker world at large would have recognized him.
Things are a bit different now. Not only does Kassouf have an American Poker Award nomination for this spectacular moment, he's got the last-ever EPT High Roller title (and about $1m extra) in his pocket.
Despite losing his heads-up grudge match to Stacy Matuson the Kassouf train has kept rolling at 888Live Rozvadov so far and shows no signs of slowing down.
Sitting front and center on the feature-table live stream today Kassouf built up a 259k stack good for second overall heading into Day 2 tomorrow.
He'll be joined by Ludo Geilich (201,300), Natalie Hof (111,000) Chris Moorman (52,900) and Dominik Nitsche (54,500) as the field combines for the first time.
Plenty more has happened along the way, too, with a lot more to come - a few tidbits of which you can find below.
Bad News for the Wine
888poker likes promotions. In fact according to the representatives here there are up to 25 promotions running simultaneously.
Not making Day 2.
In the main event, for example, everyone who busts an 888poker ambassador gets a special goodie.
Pierre Neuville, after suffering two mirror bad beats within one day, cracked the aces of Sofia Lövgren with T-8 of hearts after the chips went in on a two-heart flop.
The river brought another heart and Neuville was presented with a new cap reading “I KOed Sofia Lövgren." He also received a wooden box with plenty of sweets and delicacies – and two small bottles of wine.
Saying “I chose poker over alcohol," Neuville graciously handed over the wine to PokerListings. “At least, I won’t drink alcohol as long as I will play poker in my life.”
Which, if you know Pierre Neuville, means all his life. Bad news for the wine, though, as it probably won’t make it to Day 2.
Game of Cards, Clash of Queens
On Sunday in Rozvadov we'll see another special event here at the King’s Casino as the Ladies Tag Team Challenge gets underway.
Don't hassle the Hof.
In a six-player, two-team event three 888poker ambassadors will take on three special guests for a ticket to the $10k Ladies event next summer at the WSOP in Las Vegas.
Kara Scott, Natalie Hof and Sofia Lövgren will rep 888 against Oanh Bui, Joanna Kwak and Anna Wegscheider.
The event will be played in heads-up mode so two ladies from each team will face off to start.
Starting stacks are 5,000 chips and level times are 12 minutes. There will also be a 30-second shot clock and both teams have four 60s timeouts.
As soon as one team manages to win two of the heads-ups the match stops and the winning team will get tickets to the $10k Ladies event at the 2017 WSOP.
Swings of a Champion
888poker has the main event live streamed every day with hole cards and this is what they saw when 888 ambassador and poker nomad Dominik Nitsche was there on Day 1B.
Dom's here too.
Nitsche had already doubled his starting stack and was sitting pretty with 60k when he clashed with a player at his table that had around 45k.
Nitsche raised with pocket aces and got a call from A♥ T♥. The flop had two hearts and Nitsche c-bet. His opponent just pushed all-in about 10x the size of the pot.
Nitsche called and another heart hit the board.
Down to 15k Nitsche called a raise pre-flop with A♦ 4♥ against A♥ 9♥. The flop fell 9-6-5 all diamonds.
All the chips went in, another diamond hit and Nitsche doubled up to starting stack. In the very next hand Nitsche found pocket jacks, managed to bring all his chips in pre-flop only to be called by pocket queens and pocket kings!
The kings held and Nitsche was out. He went to the cashier, bought back in and sat right back in the same seat where he was. He didn’t get trapped in any more set-ups and finished the day with 54k.
Tune in right here for Day 2 tomorrow. Commentary from David Tuchman and Parker Talbot will start at 4 pm CET on a 30-minute delay as they play down into the money and beyond!