PokerStars Festival Bucharest: Fabian bags Day 1B chip lead; Grafton and defending champ still alive

Jam-packed poker rooms. Guarantees smashed. Aces cracked, straight flushes, and multiple pocket rockets vs pocket cowboys confrontations.

What we had on our hands today was a busy, bustling Day 1B in Bucharest.

We had a total of 401 players take their seat throughout the course of play, and after ten 45-minute levels that number had been whittled down to 166. Those survivors will be back tomorrow for Day 2, when they'll merge with the 66 players who made it through yesterday on Day 1A, and those who bag chips after tonight's turbo re-entry Day 1C.

-STA_6948PSF BUCHAREST 2017 MAIN EVENT 1B Stefan FabianPCMON2017(c)Stacha Toma.jpg

Chip leader Stefan Fabian

When all was said and done, it was Stefan Fabian who won an enormous 200,000 pot in one of the very last hands of the night. That brought his stack up to 279,400 - good for the chip lead. Other big stacks include Soloyom Nandor (257,700), Ben Barkey (226,800), and Mustafov Farehdin (177,000).

But while Fabian bagged the most, this was arguably Sam Grafton's day. First he cracked aces with the 9♥4♥ when he rivered a flush; and a little later he made a straight flush, although sadly couldn't get full value when his opponent folded. From there on it was relative smooth sailing; despite a little loss at the business end, he ended the day with 134,200.

-STA_6883psf BUCHAREST 2017 MAIN EVENT 1B Samuel William GraftonPCMON2017Tomas Stacha.jpg

Great day for Grafton

We caught up with the British pro during the first break, in which he discussed how was his WSOP went, poker's Twitter culture, coming out to Bucharest, and what life is like for a pro poker player. You can check out the Sam Grafton interview here.

Another notable player who made it through on course was the defending champion, Eureka6 Bucharest winner Avishai Shitrit. The Israeli won €107,350 in this city last year, and that good form on Romanian soil continued to see him bag up 53,200.

-STA_6710PSF BUCHAREST @)!& MAIN EVENT 1B Avishai ShitritPCMON2017(c)Stacha Tomas.jpg

Defending champ Avishai Shitrit

For Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker, however, things did not go to plan. He was out before the first break, when he ran his two pair into a set on the flop. He might have been out earlier though, when his pocket kings went up against pocket aces and both players found a way to flop a set. However, by the river there was four to broadway out there, so Moneymaker saved some chips.

He'll be back for tonight's Turbo Day 1C flight, so you could still see him in tomorrow's Day 2. We had a chat with the 2003 world champ earlier today, take a look at that interview here.

-STA_7474PSF BUCHAREST @)!& MAIN EVENT 1B Chris MoneymakerPCMON2017Tomas Stacha.jpg

No luck for Moneymaker

The aforementioned Day 1C is just getting started, and we'll be bringing you a recap of how things went tomorrow. Join us back here on the PokerStars Blog tomorrow at 1pm Bucharest time for Day 2, when we'll be able to bring you the prize pool and payout structure. Who knows - maybe we'll even burst the bubble...

For live updates, check in with our friends at PokerNews here.

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Jack Stanton
@J_W_Stanton in Live Poker