Vedzizhev Beslan Leads EPT Prague Day 1a

Vedzizhev BeslanPrague is certainly the place to be right now. With the World Poker Tour (WPT) main event just won by Russia’s Andrey Pateychuk for $630,263, yet another Russian, Vedzizhev Beslan, has ended Day 1A as chip leader at the European Poker Tour main event in the same city.

PokerStars qualifier Vedzizhev Beslan sits on 132,200 chips after the first opening day’s eight levels of the €5,300 PokerStars EPT main event in Prague as the field was cut down by 101 players to 133 survivors.

Spaniard Jesus Cortes, who was runner-up at EPT Barcelona in season seven, is second just 1,000 chips behind Beslan, while a second Russian in Sergey Baburin finished the day just 100 further chips back in third spot.

American duo Jason Wheeler (129,000) – a PokerStars player – and David D’Alesandro (126,800) fill places four and five respectively at the Hilton Prague Hotel.

The highest-ranked Team PokerStars Pro from Day 1a is Germany’s Michael Keiner, who finished in 19th place on 99,600 chips, while the top 10 also features PokerStars qualifiers Mario Puccini (seventh on 117,100 chips), Michael Ruane (ninth on 111,500) and Jonas Becker (10th on 111,000).

Two other PokerStars qualifiers, Filip Verboven (11th on 110,500) and Kevin Storey (13th on 107,200), find themselves just oustide the leaderboard.

Among the big-name survivors from Day 1a of the fifth EPT Prague are Team PokerStars Pros Martin Staszko (49th place on 55,600 chips), Theo Jorgensen (112th for 23,200), Rino Mathis (117th on 21,700), Fatima Moreira de Melo (87th on 37,400) and Pat Pezzin (27th on 79,300).

Meanwhile, the likes of EPT Player of the Year Fernando Brito (102nd on 29,400), Gus Hansen (56th on 52,600), Eoghan O’Dea (62nd on 50,800), Steve O’Dwyer (90th on 36,700), Mike Watson (71st on 46,100), James Akenhead (15th on 105,600), Michael Benvenuti (51st on 54,300) and Chris Moorman (eighth on 115,000) will also return for tomorrow’s Day 2 in the Golden Prague Poker Room.

Three Team PokerStars Pros fell by the wayside, however, as Toni Judet, Richard Toth and Marcin Horecki were sent to the rail earlier than they would have expected.

Strangely, Danish star Gus Hansen arrived at his table with a Bible and banana! He must have been calmed as he read the religious text as the 37-year-old one-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner stayed away from trouble to remain in contention for the top prize.

The above players will, of course, be joined by the Day 1b qualifiers as all entrants chase the top prize, as well as a dazzling bracelet from Shamballa Jewels – the season eight official bracelet sponsor – that is valued at over €10,000.

Irishman O’Dea appeared poised to exit the event early, however, when losing a large pot to Raffaele Gerbi.

With all the chips in the pot following the arrival of the turn card, O’Dea had a straight.

But Gerbi, with two pair, filled up for a flush on the river to chop November Niner O’Dea’s stack. But the Dubliner fought back when doubling through Chris Brammer as his top pair held up a Q♠ 9♣ 2♠ flop.

Brammer, who had K♣ J♣, put O’Dea all-in – and the Irishman showed A Q. The turn and river supplied the 9 and {7a} to give O’Dea the pot and put him back in contention.

It looked like there would be 233 entries starting with 30,000 chips for the opening flight, but Bryn Kenney – a PokerStars qualifier – was a late arrival after picking up $59,570 for winning a $109 rebuy event at the website.

Kenney didn’t manage to get any sleep until 7am, but was still able to survive as he eyes up Saturday’s final table.

Day 1b will witness the arrival of former main event champions in Jonathan Duhamel and Pius Heinz, while defending Prague champ Roberto Romanello – who has promised to wear his lucky hat from last season’s victory – will also sit down at the felt today.

The total entry should pass last year’s mark of 563 fairly easily, with as many as 400 entries expected to line up for today’s eight levels.

Top 10 placings and chip counts after Day 1 of the EPT Prague main event

1. Vedzizhev Beslan (Russia) – 132,200

2. Jesus Cortes (Spain) – 131,200

3. Sergey Baburin (Russia) – 131,100

4. Jason Wheeler (USA) – 129,000

5. David D’Alesandro (USA) – 126,800

6. Mario Puccini (Germany) – 117,100

7. Chris Moorman (UK) – 115,800

8. Michael Ruane (Malta) – 111,500

9. Jonas Becker (Germany) – 111,000

10. Filip Verboven (Belgium) – 110,500