Turkey’s Cengiz Ulusu ended Day 1b of the €5,000+€300 buy-in main event at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Berlin as overall chip leader after accumulating 242,800 chips to push Day 1a leader Vladimir Geshkenbein (201,600) into third place.
Day 1b attracted 502 entrants to take the total field to 745 players, while also promoting organisers to set up nine tables at the Spielbank Berlin to accommodate the overspill from the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Just 210 players were left in contention at the end of yesterday’s second opening-day stream to add to the 110 from Day 1a, therefore ensuring that 320 players will return for this afternoon’s Day 2.
The leading 112 competitors will earn at least €7,500 from the €3,725,000, while those making the top 10th are guaranteed €51,000, a place at the eight-handed final table will be rewarded with no less than €72,000, and the winner will take home €825,000.
Ulusu Facing Some of the World’s Best
As Day 2 gets underway, Germany-based Ulusu – who was also joined by Day 1b’s second-placed qualifier, Oklahoma’s Calvin Anderson, on 205,100 chips – will feel confident of claiming one of the top prizes, although he’ll have to battle it out with some of the world’s best pros, including Swedish Team PokerStars Pro Viktor ‘Isuldur1’ Blom (109,900) and 2010 main event champion Kevin MacPhee (139,100).
The Idaho player – who enjoyed a good day to crack sets and flop sets – did not make the top 10 from Day 1a, however, with German Mario Puccini securing third place on 198,900 chips, Belgian Davidi Kitai ending fourth on 197,700 and Portuguese player Joao Ribeiro filling fifth with 196,600.
Spaniard Cesar Garcia Domínguez (184,400) took sixth place on the Day 1b leaderboard, Englishman Marc Wright (182,600) ended in seventh, French player Brahim Oubella (176,700) made eighth, Canadian Daniel Smith (173,600) filled ninth and Dutchman Michiel Brummelhuis (173,500) completed the top 10.
Team PokerStars Pros Suffer Poor Day
However, it was not a particularly great day for Team PokerStars Pro – unlike Day 1a when seven from eight survived – with only seven making it into Day 2. Online sensation Blom was joined by George Danzer (54,100), Alex Kravchenko (49,000), Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier (40,900), Juan Manuel Pastor (23,300), Matthias De Meulder (14,500) and Nuno Coelho (8,500) – although only the Swede managed to secure a chip stack above the 102,055 average.
Friend of PokerStars Charlotte Van Brabander (37,300), of Belgium, and Team PokerStars SportStar Boris Becker (27,000) also joined Day 1a survivors Angel Guillen (123,400), Theo Jorgensen (64,500), Barry Greenstein (55,600), Jan Heitmann (48,600), Henrique Pinho (23,100), Vanessa Selbst (17,000) and Pierre Neuville (7,800).
But that meant numerous Team PokerStars Pros were eliminated on Day 1b. They were Jonathan Duhamel, Liv Boeree, Lex Veldhuis, Eugene Katchalov, Arnaud Mattern, Johnny Lodden, Max Lykov, Jude Ainsworth, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Andre Akkari, Ville Wahlbeck, Rino Mathis, Mickey Petersen, Michael Keiner, Marcin Horecki, Sandra Naujoks, Toni Judet, Christophe De Meulder, Pius Heinz and Victor Ramdin. Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo also exited early.
Victor Ramdin and Pius Heinz Unlucky to Exit
New York-based Guyana player Ramdin and German World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event champion Heinz were, however, unlucky to hit the rail.
One-time World Poker Tour (WPT) champion Ramdin had managed to build a chip stack of 122,000 at one point, but then suffered as a succession of hands went against him.
The 43-year-old – who picked up $1,331,889 for winning the $9,700 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Championship event at the WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic back in 2006 – flopped top set during one hand but lost out to an opponent’s straight, before getting his remaining 30,000 chips in while holding pocket queens and again losing, this time to kings.
Aces, Kings and Queens Make For Thrilling Hand
Bonn’s Heinz, meanwhile, could not have exited in a more spectacular fashion as his queens ran into Austrian Ali Azabdaftar’s A♥ A♦ and the K♠ K♣ of fellow German Bahadir Kilickeser! How unlucky is that?
Anyway, here’s how this amazing hand during level nine – with the blinds at 400/800 and a 100 ante – panned out. The 22-year-old WSOP champ opened with a 1,600 raise, only for Azabdaftar to three-bet to make it 4,000 and Kilickeser to call.
Heinz then shoved all-in for a total of 21,000, with Azabdaftar re-shoving for 70,000. Kilickeser took a few minutes to gather his thoughts and then called for his last 51,000.
Azabdaftar turned over his aces, while Kilickeser showed his kings and a very disappointed Heinz tabled his queens to see a flop of K♥ 4♠ 3♠. That gave Kilickeser trip kings for the lead.
Heinz needed a miracle to survive now, but the 6d turn killed off his chances, while the K♣ on the river gave Kilickeser quads to send Heinz to the rail and leave Azabdaftar with just 20,000 chips. The Austrian did, however, survive the day when battling back up to 49,700 chips.
Jake Cody Makes It Into Day 2
Other notable pros to make it into Day 2 were Jake Cody (149,700), Faraz Jaka (106,000), Rupert Elder (79,400), David Vamplew (72,600), JP Kelly (54,900) and Martin Jacobson (48,200).
Last year’s champion Ben Wilinofsky, of Canada, couldn’t make it out of Day 1b, though, and was joined at the rail by many other big-names pros, including Steve O’Dwyer, Xuan Liu, Jason Wheeler, Jamie Rosen, Team Everest Poker Pro Fabrice Soulier, Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald, Roberto Romanello, Anton Ionel, Andrey Pateychuk, Chris Moorman, Juha Helppi, Nicolas Chouity, Tobias Reinkemeier, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Elio Fox and Mickey Petersen.
Top 10 Chip Counts from Day 1b of the EPT Berlin Main Event
1. Cengiz Ulusu (Turkey) – 242,800
2. Calvin Anderson (USA) – 205,100
3. Mario Puccini (Germany) – 198,900
4. Davidi Kitai (Belgium) – 197,700
5. Joao Ribeiro (Portugal) – 196,600
6. Cesar Garcia Domínguez (Spain) – 184,400
7. Marc Wright (UK) – 182,600
8. Brahim Oubella (France) – 176,700
9. Daniel Smith (Canada) – 173,600
10. Michiel Brummelhuis (Netherlands) – 173,500