PokerStars IPT Venice off to a flyer

Venice is a tourist magnet, packed with folks snaking their way through the city's winding streets or gliding gracefully along the waterways on a river taxi to see one of countless historical attractions. So when PokerStars revealed this would be the second stop of its Italian Poker Tour, everyone expected a reasonable turn out.

But no one expected this - 218 players showed up to play Day 1A yesterday, with even more bound to turn up for today's 1B. Such was the interest, they queued from the reception desk, down the hall and out in to the street and the Italian sunshine as they waited patiently to part with the €2,000 + 200 required to take a place around the felt.

Of that impressive number, 45 played yesterday for much less having qualified on PokerStars.

They had the chance to not only take a shot at a big event, but to do so against some of the game's biggest names. Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden was one of those playing yesterday, and he survived to come back to tomorrow's Day 2 with his 20,000 starting stack intact.

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Team PokerStars: Italy's Simone Ruggeri

Also through is Team PokerStars: Italy player Simone Ruggeri, and Stefano Puccilli, who won the debut PokerStars IPT event in San Remo. But one of the early casualties was Dutchman Constant Rijkenberg, winner of the EPT San Remo event in April. In total, 86 players survived the day.

Today's Day 1B will be a tough one, with the likes of Team PokerStars Pros Dario Minieri - keen to do some damage on his home turf - and Marcel Luske stalking the field.

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Constant Rijkenberg and Stefano Puccilli

You can follow all the action over on our Italian blog, which will carry more pictures to at least give you a flavor of proceedings even if you can't understand a word of Italian. For more on the IPT, take a look at the PokerStars IPT site.

Simon Young
@MrSimonYoung in PokerStars news