PokerStars Festival Dublin: Boyko takes lead, but Moneymaker challenges

When you look at the schedule for a poker tournament's Day 1A and see 12 levels listed, even the most enthusiastic reporter will let out a groan. However here we are at 9.45pm at the PokerStars Festival Dublin, wrapping up our opening flight with 12 levels in the book.

There was, in short, no faffing around. We started at noon, levels lasted 45 minutes, and dinner came via a cart of sandwiches being driven expertly between the tables. There were 137 players who started, 42 still left at the end, and Yuriy Boyko at the top of the tree.

He turned a starting stack of 30,000 chips into something more than six times as big and will admit that things could rarely have gone better. He will know, of course, what every Day 1 chip leader always knows: there's still a long way to go in this one yet--although he went to the final table in London earlier this year, and will hope to improve on his fourth-place finish there.

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Yuriy Boyko: London final table; Dublin leader

There was also a convivial atmosphere throughout the day at the Regency Hotel, which ended with a €170 satellite to tomorrow's second flight of Day 1 action. That was busy, suggesting a bumper prize pool in store, even before we need to mention the €700,000 guarantee.

Here are at least five of the overnight top 10:

Yuriy Boyko: 196,900
Seamus Cahill: 191,100
Antonio Merone: 189,900
Dave Penley: 187,600
Chris Moneymaker: 179,900

You'll see that one of the other most notable stacks in the room tonight is in the possession of Team PokerStars Pro's Chris Moneymaker. The poker legend from the United States was the only representative of the Red Spade playing today (more will join in tomorrow) but Moneymaker made it look easy.

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Easy does it: Chris Moneymaker

When bags came out, Moneymaker also shoved a near six-fold increase in his starting stack into his. He remains far better at poker than snooker, even though he was given an exclusive lesson this afternoon by the PokerStars ambassador Stephen Hendry.

On the subject of Hendry, the seven-time World Champion will be among those playing tomorrow in what is sure to be a significantly bigger flight. He'll be joined by former footballer Michael Duberry and Wayne Bridge, as well as Team Pro's Jake Cody and Team Online's Fintan Hand.

We will have full chip counts from today's play on the blog as soon as possible, then all the action from another 12 levels tomorrow. Sleep well!

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Live