Season 9 of the EPT is officially underway in Barcelona, with the side events yielding the stage to the first of two starting days in the €5,000 Main Event. Day 1A saw over 400 hopefuls enter the fray with just over half that number surviving to Day 2.
The 222 survivors are lead by Aku Joentausta, a Finnish poker player who qualified online at PokerStars and took full advantage of the opportunity the satellite provided him. Joentausta’s 236,200 is the high water mark, but several big names also managed to post strong results on Day 1A. Lex Veldhuis posted the strongest performance of the pros in the field, as the Team PokerStars pro ended the night with just under 150,000 going into Day 2.
Other notables making their way into Day 2 already include Sebastian Ruthenberg, Juha Helppi, John Juanda, Pius Heinz, Dani Stern, Mattias de Meulder, Leo Margets, and Sami Kelopuro. They were among the fortunate half of the field that started the day at 411, a strong number that points towards a big overall turnout once again in Barcelona.
The total field in 2011 was 811, producing a prizepool of over €4 million and a first place prize of €850,000. German pro Martin Schleich is the defending champion, and he posted a strong finish of his own on Day 1A by bagging over 81,000 chips. No player has ever won two titles on the EPT, let alone in the same event, but for the time being that distant dream is still a possibility for Schleich.
Sunday was not a very good day for a number of other recognizable pros in the field. Arnaud Mattern, Filippo Candio, Anton Ionel, Sean Jazayeri, Scott Seiver, Andrew Lichtenberger, Liv Boeree, Sorel Mizzi, Erik Cajelais, and Alec Torelli were just a few of the early casualties on Day 1A in Barcelona.
Day 1B will get underway at 12 pm local time in Barcelona, and they’re expecting a big crowd. There is a cap of 630 players on Day 1B, so if the turnout is indeed that large there could be players turned away. The final table of this tournament will be broadcast live online with hole cards. Barcelona is the first of eight stops scheduled for Season 9 of the EPT.
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