EPT Copenhagen: Andrew Pantling seizes early initiative

ept-thumb-promo.jpgIt was day 1A in Denmark, the opening stages of the European Poker Tour's sixth visit to Copenhagen. Time was when this first day was all about spotting the stars in the packed ranks, but today we spent a good couple of hours putting together a list of who wasn't here. As is typical, countless players have shifted their opening day until tomorrow, leaving this evening's notepads blank for some of poker's promising stars to emerge from the field of 191 and to write their names large.

The four individuals accepting their invitation most graciously were Andrew Pantling, Johnny Ostbjerg, Christian Togsverd and Patrik Kaltrud. When the claxon sounded at the end of eight levels tonight, they began bagging 155,800, 117,000, 116,000 and 113,200 chips respectively, the top-most totals from the 113 players left.

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Andrew Pantling

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Patrik Kaltrud

Three of those - Ostbjerg, Togsverd and Kaltrud - are from Scandinavia and two of them - Pantling and Kaltrud - are PokerStars qualifiers. What were the chances of that? (About 93%, at a rough guess.) Kaltrud, incidentally, is representing Canada and has taken one of the longest journeys to get here. So far, so good.

Poker's grand hierarchy didn't completely abandon us to the elements. From the ranks of Team PokerStars Pro, we welcomed Dario Minieri, Ruben Visser, Arnaud Mattern and Johnny Lodden. What's more, each and every one of them made it through the day. Their totals? Minieri: 61,000; Visser: 34,000; Mattern 76,000; Lodden 23,700. Compare them with all the others over on the chip-count page, where you'll find today's full count.

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Dario Minieri

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Ruben Visser

Also worthy of your attention in that list are Morten Guldhammer, Peter Hedlund and Rasmus Nielsen. Guldhammer won a freeroll organised by PokerStars, in conjunction with a local Danish newspaper, to book his spot in the tournament. With 101,500 at day's end, it's likely you'll be reading all about him for another long day at least.

Hedlund is always the centre of attention, owing largely to his "gregarious" table presence. But he has never been more deserving of that attention than here in Copenhagen last year, when he finished runner up to Jens Kyllonen. Hedlund is back for more, and with 63,500 is well set.

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Peter Hedlund

If that achievement is notable, Nielsen goes one better. When he made the same final table last year, finishing sixth, it was the second time in succession he had done so. He finished fourth in 2008. Official records have not been consulted, but I'm prepared to stick my neck out and state that no player has ever made three EPT final tables in the same venue. It just doesn't happen. Does it? Nielsen will need to build on his current 79,000 to give us the emphatic answer.

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Rasmus Nielsen

That's about that for the day. We obviously lost a few players - Jeff Sarwer, Martin Kabrhel and Theo Jorgensen would probably be the most notable - but there will be plenty more luminaries arriving tomorrow. Action will start again at 2pm local time, long registration lines permitting.

Take a look back at today's action with any of the following links:

EPT Copenhagen: The new frontier
Levels one and two
Levels three and four
Levels five and six
Levels seven and eight

And "read" all the action in German, Swedish or Dutch at any of our sister blogs - although you might as well open up a can of Alphabetti Spaghetti, tip it all over the kitchen floor and try to read that, for all the sense it makes. Video blogs are at PokerStars.tv.

That's that. Ta ta.

The PokerStars Blog reporting team comprises: Stephen Bartley (bass), Marc Convey (vocals), Howard Swains (guitar) and Simon Young (triangle). Neil Stoddart is on the camera.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour