House! Who is leading the field at EPT Tallinn?
You'll often see ABC grinders on PokerStars decrying shove-happy players. While busily accusing them of playing 'bingo' they're unfortunately failing to understand why you'd want to three-bet shove pre-flop for 20 big blinds. Players freshly blooded to the game fully embrace the skill element and don't realise how the very best players take the vagaries of variance, scrunch them up and throw them back at the other players.
Few players do so as much as Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri and ElkY which is why the young Italian and lively Frenchmen can always be counted on drawing a crowd and not just because of their names. If they were playing bingo it would be as if they'd started with half the numbers on their card already struck off - and knew which others were most likely to drawn next. While others sit and wait, inwardly chanting the 'tight is right' mantra, the likes of ElkY and Minieri go chasing a big stack from the outset. It's worked for both of them plenty of times, but not today. They were out either side of the dinner break, but at least both of them gave themselves every chance to run up a big stack to take a shot at the €400,000 first prize.
While a short-stacked ElkY went out in fairly standard fashion, shoving ace-jack into ace-queen just after the dinner break, the enigmatic Frenchman had been up and down all day. Within minutes of the tournament starting he'd lost a third of his stack but managed to play his way back up to average and beyond... before eventually busting. If we could have charted Minieri's chip stack movements, however, it would have been without doubt the spikiest of any player today. He finally busted when pushing with K♦Q♣ for over cards and a gutshot on a J♦7♠9♦ flop. Veli-Pekka Tapani called with 9♣T♣ for second pair and a gutshot of his own. The Italian didn't spike this time andTapani went on to greater things ending the day on 118,000.
The big stack of the day, however, ended up being Perica Bukara who appeared indomitable when he got in a hand. He simply would refuse to budge, but we're not saying he's a calling station. He'd call raises, lead turns and check the second nuts leaving many players scratching their heads while he raked in their chips. ABC play? Not on your life. Bukara will come back tomorrow for Day 2 as the overall chip leader nudging out Day 1A's Ali Tekintamgac (203,200). They have both put themselves in positions to go deep.
Unfortunately Team PokerStars Sportstar Fatima Moreira De Melo's chances to go any further were scuppered after she tank-called all-in on a T♦3♣6♥5♠5♣ board only to be shown pocket sixes by Antoine Amourette. She nodded her head with a 'Yeah, that figures,' kind of expression on her face but she's certain to go deep at an EPT one of these days (to match her side event success at EPT Snowfest).
Team PokerStars Pros that did make it through and will come back with better than average stacks are Juan Manuel Pastor (61,900), Vadim Markushevski (105,900) and Katja Thater (62,500). Alfio Battisti of Team PokerStars Online also deserves an honourable mention with 34,600. Matthias de Meulder lasted deep into the day but didn't quite make it unlike EPT Player of the Year Max Lykov who finished in a close to average 52,000.
Our top five stacks from the day are Perica Bukara (210,600), EPT Barcelona final tablist Santiago Terrazas (176,300), Mattias Jorstedt (147,800), Volodymyr Pilyavsky (147,600), and Jonathan Weekes (145,400). Nestled in just behind them is Oleksandr Vaserfirer and to say that he has seen recent EPT success would be like saying that Luca Pagano is partial to making EPT final tables. The Ukrainian cashed in four EPT Main Events last season; 21st in Kyiv ($12,629), 16th in Barcelona ($42,918), 3rd in Warsaw ($177,208) and 88th in Monte Carlo ($26,625). That's quite a fine run of form and Vaserfirer will be keen to prove himself yet again. He finished the day on 136,900.
Join us tomorrow from 12 noon where the 200-strong field will come together all with their eyes on the $400,000 first prize.
To catch up with all the day's action click on the links below and you can click here for the overnight chip counts or have a waggle around near here for the prizes and payouts page:
Thanks and credits goes to EPT resident snapper Neil Stoddart.