The World Poker Tour returned to Venice, Italy for the fifth time in four seasons for the Venice Grand Prix. The first of two starting flights saw 65 players take to the felt and 32 remained after the last cards were dealt. Stephen Behm leads the field after bagging up 188,000.
Sitting in second place for the overnight chip counts is Marvin Rettenmaier with 115,000. Mike Sexton sits in third with 99,900 and Kara Scott finished inside the top ten with 81,200. John Eames, Matt Salsberg and Daniel Cates will also return on Day 2.
Not everybody had a great day on the felt with Gaelle Baumann, Benjamin Pollak, Guillaume Darcourt, Martin Staszko and Ludovic Lacay all were eliminated in the day’s action.
Behm waited until the end of the night to overtake Rettenmaier at the top of the counts. Behm went to a flop of 7 5 3 with Estsathios Stamoulos and Dorin Rauta. They all tossed in 10,400 and the J came on the turn. Stamoulos checked, Rauta moved all in, Behm called after he talked himself into it and Stamoulos mucked his hand. Behm turned up A 6 for the nut flush draw and Rauta held K J for a pair of jacks and a worthless flush draw. The river came A and Behm took the chip lead and eliminated Rauta.
Scott had some fireworks in the opening action on the day. She went to to a flop of A A A with Andrea Dato and Filippo Bergamasco. All three players checked and the 2 came on the turn. Scott bet 300 and both players folded. Scott tabled A J for flopped quads despite winning a small pot.
The voice of the WPT, Sexton, took to the felt for first starting day and got involved with Frenchman Ludovic Lacay and Stefano Marinzulich. Lacay opened for 500, got two calls and the flop came K 8 5. They checked to the J turn, Lacay bet 1,000, Marinzulich foleded and Sexton check-raised to 2,500 and Lacay called. The river came 5, Sexton bet 4,000 and Lacay called. Sexton tabled pocket fives for rivered quads and Lacay’s two pair with K J was no good.
Just before the dinner break Rettenmaier and former November Niner Staszko got involved in a decisive hand. Staszko opened as first to act, Rettenmaier three-bet to 2,625, Staszko four-bet to 7,000 and Rettenmaier called. The flop came 7 4 2, Staszko bet 7,500, Rettenmaier moved all in and Staszko hemmed and hawed before calling. Rettenmaier had pocket aces and Staszko was in bad shape with pocket kings. The board competed 7 2, Staszko was eliminated and Rettenmaier took the chip lead going into the dinner break.
Baumann was eliminated when Efim Rudnik opened for 3,000 and Baumann three-bet to 8,000. Rudnik called, the flop fell [Kx] [9x] [3x] and Rudnick check-called 5,000. The turn came [Tx], Rudnik bet enough to put Baumann all in and she called. Baumann had [Ax] [Kx] but Rudnik took the hand with a set of tens after the river was a blank.
Cates took a serious hit to his chip stack during the closing moments of the day. He opened, Erion Islamay three-bet in late position, Cates responded with a four-bet but Islamay moved all in over the top. Cates called, tabled pocket aces and was way ahead of Islamay’s pocket nines. The flop fell Islamay’s way when it fell 9 4 2 and the Q turn and 9 river didn’t help Cates. Islamay neared 50,000 after the hand as Cates slid to 16,000.
WPT Venice Grand Prix Day 1a Top Ten Chip Counts
- Stephen Behm – 188,000
- Marvin Rettenmaier – 115,000
- Mike Sexton – 99,900
- Gianluca Rullo – 94,100
- Armando Donnini – 85,500
- Ivan Losi – 81,300
- Kara Scott – 81,200
- Efim Rudnik – 79,700
- Lauri Pesonen – 70,000
- Rocco Palumbo – 67,000
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