EPT Copenhagen: Koskinen and Ruthenberg lead the way
The two flights of day one are usually different beasts, even beyond the now predictable and clichéd numbers that show up on day B. Today that difference was best judged by the fate of the Team PokerStars Pros but also in the photo finish for the lead.
Just 100 chips separates first and second tonight, the difference between winning and losing a chip race, after Ilkka Koskinen on 140,900 pipped Sebastian Ruthenberg on 140,800 at the post.
Chip leader, just, Ilkka Koskinen
The close finish belied what looked to be near total dominance from the liveried juggernaut of Ruthenberg, Peter Eastgate and Bertrand Grospellier, each of whom had a share of the lead at one point and all finished inside the top ten. But it was Koskinen, three times Finnish champion, who topped them all, albeit by the narrowest of margins.
Ruthenberg played near spotless poker, making an ace-high hero call against king high in level three and then switching up to rampage mode before the close, playing hand after hand pre-flop to wind up at the top of the pile.
Grospellier played with typical panache, never putting off a potentially reckless dalliance if there was a chance to win chips. For every pot lost, two would be won, good to keep him in six figures, closing on 113,700.
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier
The same went for Eastgate who has thrived in the spotlight since winning the World Series, and whose day was best described as "up, up and up." He bagged up 128,300 tonight.
For much of today PokerStars qualifier Paul Szyszko from the United States had only daylight ahead of him, his impressive first day ending with 122,000. Kimmo Kurko and Richard Grace, both shared similar results, both closing on around 116,000.
Team Pro Luca Pagano maintained a steady ship, closing on 86,600, as did Team PokerStars Online's Anders Berg with 54,500. Noah Boeken and William Thorson, the latter even with his lucky bracelet, were the Team PokerStars Pros to fall at the first hurdle.
The likes of Freddy Deeb, Juha Helppi, Kristoffer Thorsson and Jens Kyllonen will be among the 250 or so survivors returning tomorrow afternoon. A full list of that line up, along with official chip counts, is available here.
That takes us into day two, when the hard work of day one can be undone with one wrong click of the all-in button. Andrew Pantling, chip leader from day 1a with 155,800, will top the list of returnees. We'll wait and see whether he can withstand Ruthenberg's efficiency, the near robotic momentum of ElkY Grospellier and the home field advantage of Peter Eastgate. More likely there will be a few new surprises to nix such pointless predictions.
If you can't get enough of this and want to read through all the action again; or perhaps you're a player and want to Ctrl-F your way through each page to catch any mention of your name, simply click through the links below for all of today's dispatches.
Some say if you read the Swedish equivalent of all this backwards you get a recipe for saffron buns. Do the same with the German version and you just get a neater, less cluttered version of the English. We'll leave the Dutch version up to you.
It's nearly midnight so I think we'll call that a full day. Our thanks to Neil Stoddart for today's photography and thanks to you for joining us. Do the same again tomorrow with play due to begin at 2pm local time.
One of those people on bikes we were talking about earlier today
Until then, cheerio.