PokerStars Festival Hamburg: Rudolf Koster takes the early Main Event lead

The Main Event got underway today with the first of four starting flights in three days. Twelve 45-minute levels were scheduled with registration staying open until the beginning of Level 7. A total of 118 players made it in by that point and 37 made it through to Day 2, coming back on Saturday.

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Rudolf Koster:
feasted on opponents' chips

Rudolf Köster made the most of those 12 levels and bagged up a very healthy 258,000 after a late surge saw him come from left field. The German, who's been a serial casher at PokerStars events since 2011, heads a top ten that reads:

NameChips
Rudolf Köster258,000
Michael Ratkowski189,400
Francois Mittertreiner188,900
Oliver Niemann185,500
Kyriakos Mitsopoulos176,800
Levan Rcheulishvili168,100
Anders Bisgard155,500
Miroslav Malic155,400
Igor Rybak130,700
Juergen Uwe Boehm128,100

For full counts and to read back over the day's live updates please click through to PokerNews.

It took a few levels for the tables to really fill up, the action to get going, and the big stacks to emerge. Igor Rybak was the first player to stick his head above the parapet, rising to 95,000 after he rivered a flush to eliminate Merab Meladze. The latter had moved all-in with a straight and thought he had won the hand but left while cursing out loud once his misread was pointed out.

Rybak continued his ascent and stayed clear of the field for a while but was eventually caught and surpassed by the likes of Francois Mittertreiner, Rizkallah Kocheiche and Kyriakos Mitsopoulos. But like Rybak, none of these players managed to top the counts by the end of play. They say it's easier to get to number one than stay there.

Before Koster made his late move, Michael Ratkowski was odd-on favourite to bag the chip lead after he won the biggest pot of the tournament in the last level of the day. He and Tomislav Mandic played a 196,000 chip pot after a preflop raising war saw them all-in. Ratkowski had the worst of it worst of it with pocket tens but made a set on the river to beat Mandic's pocket kings.

Day 1B starts at 1pm CET on Thursday and another 12 levels are scheduled to be played out. Stay tuned to the PokerStars Blog for feature pieces and interviews, and PokerNews will continue to be your resource for hand by hand updates.

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Marc Convey
@The_Conv in Live Poker