PokerStars Festival Marbella: Hugo Benitez bags Main Event Day 1A chip lead

In many ways, the opening flight on the €700,000 guaranteed PSF Marbella Main Event at Casino Marbella was a poker day like any other. Kings ran into Aces, a player made quads, Queens lost races to ace-king, the blinds went up and players were eliminated.

But for Hugo Benitez it's a poker day that he won't forget in a while. When the allotted 11 45-minute levels had been completed the Spaniard was the player who had the most chips to tuck into their overnight bag. He bagged and tagged 295,100 and tops the roughly 105 players who survived from the 302 who started the day. The Spaniard is a well known player online in Spain, but he has no live cashes to his name. That looks set to change here in Marbella.


I've got the chip lead

Other players who enjoyed favourable days at the felt include: Rafael Dahan (264,500) Romain Feriolo (229,200), Antonio Domingos (187,500), Pavlos Karagiannidis (178,700) and Mario Navarro (177,700). While poker sharks like Leo Margets (58,100), Jan Bendik (78,800), Daniel Stacey (47,400) and defending champion Jonathan Schuman (29,900) will also return for Day 2 on Friday. Long time poker followers may remember that Feriolo final tabled the first ever EPT Grand Final, finishing fourth for €139,000.

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Fatima Moreira de Melo

Team PokerStars was out in force today with Team Pro, Team Pro Online and Brand Ambassadors all proudly patched up. Sadly, for Fatima Moreira de Melo, Marcin Horecki, Lex Veldhuis and Stephen Hendry today would not be a successful day at the felt. All four perished with Hendry the last to go, with just 30 minutes left in the day.


Hendy busted in the final level of the day

Although they're out, for now, they all have the option to enter Day 1C tomorrow night, which is a turbo flight only open to those who've busted Day 1A or 1B. It works much the same way as the normal flights, but levels are 20 minutes long instead of 45 minutes.

But before that turbo flight, there's the small or rather large matter of Day 1B. If Day 1A - and this festival as a whole - is anything to go by it's going to be a monster. Join us tomorrow from noon but for now, it's goodnight. Chip counts of the survivors will be posted overnight.


Nick Wright
@PokerStars in Live Poker