EPT Budapest: The first day of the success story

We're not even a quarter of the way through this thing, but already it's safe to say that EPT Budapest is a success. This might be the first time a major poker tournament has visited Hungary, but so far there hasn't been a foot put wrong by anyone, and it can only get better over the coming week.

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That, though, is the end of day 1a, which began with the tournament officials announcing that every seat had been sold - that's 540 of them - and finished with 90 bagging chips. And there was a familiar face bagging the most: the Norwegian Annette Obrestad, who may have only just turned 20, but is already a veteran on the EPT. She won two massive pots towards the close of play, including knocking two players out in the same hand when she made pocket deuces into quads, and is the probable chip leader with close to 100,000.

The EPT Prague champion of season four, Arnaud Mattern, had a fluctuating final couple of levels, but that was only the difference between a huge stack and a large one. He ended with close to 82,000, which is probably good for second place.

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It was a day to forget for the Team PokerStars Pros Marcin Horecki and Katja Thater. Horecki made the final table at EPT London earlier in the month, but perished very early here. The World Series bracelet winner Thater also couldn't get going in Budapest and bust in mid afternoon. Better news though for Luca Pagano, who flies the Team PokerStars Pro flag into day two. The Italian flew out of the blocks and doubled his stack within the first couple of levels. And although 25,000 is still more than alive and kicking, he has slipped slightly down the field.

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Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano

Anton Ionel, from Romania, has about 60,000; Robert Andersson, of Sweden, has about 51,000. Although the local favourite Valdemar Kwaysser went out, many other Hungarians remain in the field including Antonio Karman (45,000), Peter Gelencser (35,000) and Jozsef Ruttkai (35,000). As ever, the latest, approximate chip counts can be found on the chip count page. That page will also be updated with the full, official counts over night.

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Meanwhile, you can look back over the day's action by clicking on any of the links below, or see the video bloggers' work on PokerStars.tv. Day 1b starts at 1pm tomorrow, where the field will be equally star-studded and there will be more of the same terrific play. Until then, goodnight.

Play is underway
Winners and losers
An ominous sight
Flying into Budapest
Heading into the break
Player of the Year showing his class
Big lay-down for Team Pro
Strassman up and down
Break time
The generation game
A two-time champion
Where there are winners
The clock is ticking

Don't forget, you can read all about the tournament in a number of different languages. Here in Budapest, our new Hungarian blog was unveiled and is awaiting your click. Our Swedish blog has been running significantly longer, but is also worth checking out.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour