Baltic Festival: Lozkin prospers on day the stars came out in Tallinn
Day 1B of the PokerStars Baltic Festival is done. And that means day one proper - of the A and the B variety - is also at a close, giving us all we need to know for the shape of the tournament ahead.
This time yesterday, it was Bo Erichsen who was leading Wednesday's pack of 130, profiting from a last-hand drama against Shaun Deeb. Today's daddy is Aleksandr Lozkin, who came through a field featuring 177 players to bag up 65,700.
Lozkin finished the day on the same table as another mighty stack: that of Johan Nilsson, who finished with 64,500. When survivors from the two days consolidate tomorrow, each of them are in prime position to take a charge for the money. The big money.
Yep, once we know the total number of players, we also learn what they are playing for. And with a region-record 307 competitors paying €1,000 apiece, there's €307,000 up for grabs. The full breakdown of how they're getting paid can be found on the prize structure page. But here's the figure you really need to know: the winner of this thing will take €76,750, which is not at all bad for a week in the wondrous Tallinn.
Today's play was all about stars of screen, stars of sport, stars of poker, and future stars. We welcomed the hockey great Mats Sundin and the powerboat racer Sami Selio. There was the former tennis pro Kenneth Carlsen and the champion canoeist Alvydas Duonela. And we even had a movie star in our midst: the Norwegian Aksel Hennie. Right now, they are all either in the bar or heading home, having been vanquished at some point during the day's eight levels.
There's in no shame in that, because they're in good company on the rail. Tony G and Jeff Sarwer came to the tournament arena with two of the biggest poker reputations. But they were both out within a couple of hours. The Team PokerStars Pro duo of William Thorson and Johnny Lodden were also sent careering out by the time day was done.
But it's not all eliminations: Peter Eastgate is alive and fighting with close to 40,000. And Katja Thater ground throughout a mighty tough day to bag up 26,000 and change.
A word too about Morten Ramm, the Norwegian comedian who has been hogging much of the limelight. He's been entertaining interviewers and table-mates alike, but his poker is no laughing matter. He was chip leader for a long time before a late night slip left him with 28,000. But that's pretty special for a self-confessed basement game player, with beers and whisky where today he found spectators and press.
Tomorrow is another day. Today's 71 survivors merge with yesterday's 53 to give us a day two field of 124. If we lose 100 of them, we'll be in the money. I don't think it will happen, but there's only one way, and one place, to find out. Check back to PokerStars blog tomorrow as we continue the battle of the Baltics.
A quick glance, if you will, at what went on today:
Packing them in for day 1b
All the stars around one table
Thorson and Eastgate: Strategically late
A sporting chance
One .. oh! ... two down from the team
Entering the final straight
And Swedish. Do I hear an order for Swedish? You can read it all in that fine tongue over here. Take a look at some video blogs here over at PokerStars.tv. And thanks once again to Rene Velli for the snaps.
That'll be that. Good night.