Mario Puccini Starts Day 1b of EPT Loutraki in Charge

Mario PucciniGerman players enjoyed another great day at the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Loutraki main event as Mario Puccini took over atop the overall leaderboard with his fabulous Day 1b performance.

A healthy 191 players played seven levels on the second opening day of the €4,000+€400 ($5,400/£3,420+$540/£342) buy-in event to bring the overall total to 336 entries at the Greek stop on the tour.

More than a few PokerStars Team Pros turned up in the chase for the title at the Club Hotel Casino Loutraki, with the likes of Jude Ainsworth, Randy Lew, Johnny Lodden, Eugene Katchalov, Arnaud Mattern, Toni Judet, Theo Jorgensen and Vanessa Rousso eyeing up Day 1a chip leader Julian Herold’s top spot.

However, it was another German who made the big move on Herold as Puccini amassed 159,150 chips to enter today’s Day 2 in pole position from the 130 survivors that joined Day 1a’s 102 qualifiers.

Puccini, who finished fifth at last month’s €2,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event at the Casinos Austria Poker Tour (CAPT) European Poker Championship in Baden for €22,075, is just under 16,000 chips ahead of second placed Romanian Judet, while Day 1a leader Herold sits in third on 138,425.

However, PokerStars Pros enjoyed a mixed day with Rousso suffering a bad beginning to Day 1b when losing more than one third of her chips as her A-K came up against aces with a king-high board showing.

The American survived that scare, but crashed out not too long after when her pocket nines lost out to an opponent’s pocket jacks.

Mattern went the same way as Rousso following a demoralising hand against Loykia Lypraioy. The Greek check-called the Frenchman following the flop and turn cards that showed 6♣ J♠ 7 K before then leading out on a 10 river.

Mattern hesitated but called to reveal J♣ J for trip jacks, only to run into the 9 8♣ of Lypraioy to see the Greek hold a straight.

He battled on as a short stack for a few more hours but was eliminated.

Judet enjoyed a much better day than those two, though, to end up in second place overall, while Norwegian Lodden was a relieved man to end the day on 40,000.

Ireland’s Ainsworth (32,600) survived, as did Ukrainian Katchalov (14,325), but American Lew and Denmark’s Jorgensen crashed out early.

Other players who won’t return today include Jens and William Thorson, mixed martial arts fighter Heath Herring and Vitaly Lunkin.

Meanwhile, another American, Kevin MacPhee, ended the day on 74,500 after receiving a very early Christmas present midway through Day 1b.

An opponent produced a massive bluff when holding A-Q against the EPT Berlin winner’s kings on a four-bet pot, but MacPhee stood firm to take down the pot.

Yet another German, Jan Collado, looked as if he might to the leaderboard at one point when he hit the 110,000-chip mark after flopping the nut flush to defeat the flopped straight of Georgios Yiangou.

However, Collado’s advancement came to a crashing halt when his A-Q ran into Ainsworth’s pocket aces in a pot that came close to 50,000 to leave the German on 72,275.

Numerous Team PokerStars Pros will be joined by several former champions as they all chase the top prize and an EPT bracelet valued at more than €10,000, so we can expect fireworks today.

Top 10 chip leaders after Day 1b of EPT Loutraki

1. Mario Puccini (Germany) – 159,150

2. Toni Judet (Romania) – 143,500

3. Julian Herold (Germany) – 138,425

4. Jonian Antoni (Albania) – 124,425

5. Grudi Grudev (Bulgaria) – 117,200

6. Christos Ntikos (Greece) – 116,250

7. Georgios Zisimopoulos (Greece) – 113,175

8. Vitalijs Zavorotnijs (Latvia) – 104,900

9. McLean Karr (USA) – 103,100

10. Roman Makhlin (Russia) – 102,100

A prize pool of €1,344,000 (approximately $1,815,793/£1,151,829) was created by the 336 entries with €347,000 ($468,592/£297,398) going to the winner. But 47 other places will also be paid, with 48th taking home €6,600 ($8,921/£5,652).

Payouts at the EPT Loutraki (with approximate $/£ values in brackets):

1 €347,000 ($468,592/£297,398)

2 €221,800 ($299,553/£190,057)

3 €134,400 ($181,523/115,154)

4 €100,800 ($136,142/£86,360)

5 €67,200 ($90,788/£57,574)

6 €53,700 ($72,549/£45,996)

7 €40,300 ($54,446/£34,519)

8 €27,000 ($36,478/£23,123)

9/10 €20,100 ($27,151/£17,215)

11/12 €14,800 ($19,992/£12,676)

13/14 €12,100 ($16,349/£10,364)

15/16 €10,100 ($13,647/£8,651)

17-24 €8,700 ($11,755/£7,452)

25-32 €7,400 ($9,998/£6,338)

33-40 €7,000 ($9,462/£5,996)

41-48 €6,600 ($8,921/£5,652)

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