EPT Deauville: Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom among leaders at Day 1 close
Yesterday was a magnolia-painted waiting room full of chairs and people with not much to say for their selves. Today that room was painted a vast array of colours and the tournament began to come to life. Well, within reason.
After all this is only Day 1, and little can be cast in iron so early in an event that has five days left to play and a first prize, now confirmed at €880,000, available to the new Deauville champion next Monday.
But several players injected some spark and vigour into proceedings, first and foremost the chip leader tonight Philippe Massias, a French PokerStars qualifier, who closed on 175,600.
The tournament room
Also seemingly unstoppable was French singer and actor Patrick Bruel. It's easy to forget, what with the media frenzy that often follows Bruel wherever he goes, that he has a World Series bracelet to his name and as an accomplished player has more than $1,000,000 in tournament winnings. Today he switched les chansons for les chips, bagging up 153,100 at the close.
Elsewhere Team PokerStars Pro Viktor "Isildur1" Blom was turning heads with an ominous rise towards the top of the chip count list.
Viktor Blom among the chip leaders
At times so unassuming that he appeared as if playing his first ever live event, Blom used his reputation as online poker's champion to persuade others to give him chips, a procession of new faces taking their place in the seats either side of him. Blom floated perilously close to elimination before healing hands restored his stack to 144,700 at the close.
Blom in action
His fellow Team PokerStars Pros were out in number today and many remained at the close with the likes of Juan Manuel Pastor (68,300), Jose Nacho Barbero (65,000), Salvatore Bonavena (63,300), Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (62,500), Joep van den Bijgaart (55,000) and Pieter de Korver (33,000) all set to return for Day 2.
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier
Joining them will be local heros Fabrice Soulier and Bruno Fitoussi, alongside Matthew Frankland (141,800), Petr Targa (142,800) and Basil Yaiche (124,100). Full chip counts for all players will appear on the chip count page when tournament staff make things official later tonight/tomorrow morning.
Alas, no sooner had Dario Minieri sat down to play than he was putting his coat back on, out of the tournament having shined so brightly. He left in level two, while Frenchman Arnaud Mattern went midway through the day. Daniel Negreanu, ravaged by the effects of jet lag, played in his sleep and made it to level seven, but no further. There was a similar fate for Jude Ainsworth and World Champion Jonathan Duhamel, while Liv Boeree was dispatched to the rail in the last half hour of the day.
They formed part of a field of 472 today, which combined with yesterday's earlier flight meant a total figure of 891 players and a prize pool of €4,276,800. We thought last year's field of 768 was big.
Poker tables line astern
All of today's action, including all the bits I forgot to mention in this, can be found at the links below.
Play continues tomorrow at the Deauville International Centre where Day 2 will unite the field for the first time. Technically we shouldn't be anywhere near the money this time tomorrow, but if the PCA is anything to go by it's not impossible.
Our thanks to Neil Stoddart for all the photography today and for all the advice he gave to us about sueing those who infringe copyright. Thanks also to our foreign blogging friends writing in French, German and Dutch. To keep things fun I'll be writing the Dutch blog tomorrow, while Simon Young will be going Albanian to keep our blossoming Tirana based readership (up from one to four) happy.
We're off now to persuade a local eatery to stay open late.
Until tomorrow then.