Before the storm, the calm. A total of 243 players arrived at the Hyatt Hotel today, the Day 1A share of an event that can accommodate up to 1,300. There was no need though for a dozen spare tables in the main room, or for the 25 tables reserved at Casino Spielbank across the street. Instead they slogged away for ten levels in the room that first hosted the Berlin leg two years ago, complete with TV cameras.
At the end of play, one that featured a variety of different chip leaders, Vladimir Geshkenbein bagged up the lead, topping the surviving 110 players with a stack of 201,600 after some last-ditch heroics.
Andrew Chen had been first take the advantage in the early stages, soon overtaken by Canadian Will Molson. Flying past them both was Sam Chartier who was first to reach six figures, shortly before the next leader David Yen.
As play moved on Geshkenbein lurked at the top of the chip list, armed with more than 170,000 and clutching two drinks that were equally potent. Alas, he dropped chips in level ten (not the drinks), leaving the advantage to Chartier, who then let chips go to Weigel, leaving him ahead. Or did he? As the last hands were dealt the Russian took two pots, wrestling back the lead, two grand ahead of Weigel. That's got to be worth another drink.
Elsewhere the feature table dominated the tournament room proceedings, at which was a cast worthy of the camera's early attention, including Barry Greenstein, one of a full compliment of seven Team PokerStars Pros who made it through the day*.
Greenstein, tweeting his progress in German, sparred with Molson, Philipp Gruissem, Jan Heitmann and Martin Staszko for much of the day, emerging relatively unscathed. Actually all of them did, to return for Day 2 on Wednesday.
Before that comes Day 1B which, if the hype is to be believed, should feature a bumper field that is wall to wall in the Hyatt and across the road in the Spielbank. The queue for registration alone should be memorable.
The TV table, and trophy
Until then, catch up on all the feature articles from the day at the links below. Live coverage from the day's action can be found on our live coverage page, along with the closing chip counts.
All good as German leg aims to break records
Six days start here
Players standing out, divine light or not
Scott Seiver looking for his maiden cash
Busquet rested after heroic Campione campaign
Vandersmissen wins in Ireland, bringing new confidence to tour
Searching for German talent, step forward 'wizowizo'
Locals proving tough opponents on world stage
Romanello closing in on Player of the Year title with another final table
Greenstein (der Bär) one of the features of the day
The Geshkenbein effect
One down, five more days to go. That's all from today. Play continues tomorrow at 12 noon. Join us then.
Berlin this evening
For now, it's goodnight from Berlin.
* Latest: Martin Staszko was eliminated shortly before the end of play.