EPT Loutraki: Mario Puccini plays the sweetest symphony on day 1B
After a relatively gentle introduction to European Poker Tour life yesterday, Greece really got the hang of the EPT today. There were more than 190 starters, some blistering table line-ups, some huge pots and massive meltdowns--and we haven't even made it to day two yet.
For all that, the star turn of the piece was someone we haven't heard of before: Mario Puccini. But given that he's German - and this has been a fine, fine month for German poker players - we shouldn't be surprised.
Puccini had been one of the biggest stacks all day and when he found kings on the day's penultimate hand, he must have been delighted to see Pedro Paizuelo moving all in ahead of him. Paizeulo's A♦Q♣ didn't catch up, and Puccini was soon able to stuff 159,150 into his bag. There's your chip leader.
That robbed Toni Judet of his day in the sun. Judet is second overnight, with 143,500, and was another player who stayed away from most of the real carnage to chip up steadily. He doubled up in level three, with a set of fives against top pair, top kicker, and that afforded him a very comfortable afternoon.
The Team PokerStars Pro from Romania is well set to make his mark in Greece.
The table that attracted the most attention, however, was away from all of those players. It was right in the middle of the room and started with the Team PokerStars Pro duo of Theo Jorgensen and Jude Ainsworth and only got more absorbing from there.
At one point, it also featured the young German Jan Collado, who was chip-leader for a long while, the online phenom Mohsin "chicagocards1" Charania and Jens Thorson, wee brother of William.
Both Jorgensen and Ainsworth fluctuated from big stack to on-the-ropes to back again. And then Jorgensen crashed and burned just before the close, joining both Thorson brothers on the scrapheap. The other three survived to day two, though. Ainsworth has 32,600, Collado 72,275 and Charania (47,750).
Almost every other hand from our level-by-level coverage featured one of that little lot.
The other notables surviving day 1B--either by virtue of stack or reputation--include the following:
Johnny Lodden (40,000), Eugene Katchalov (14,325), Jonian Antoni (124,425), Christos Ntikos (116,250), Grudi Grudev (117,200), Georgios Zisimopoulos (113,175), Vitalijs Zavorotnijs (104,900), Nicolas Chouity (80,200) Salman Behbehani (69,000) Jeff Sarwer (32,475).
Among the big names to bust were Vanessa Rousso, Arnaud Mattern and Randy "nanonoko" Lew, the latter running kings into aces.
Tomorrow we welcome back the survivors from day 1A, when we will see our entire field under one roof for the first time. There were 130 who made it through today and 102 from yesterday. That means... err, give me a minute....
...yes! 232 tomorrow.
As we now head out under the clear skies and bitter temperatures of the Gulf of Corinth for our evening's carousing, why don't you take a look back at today's level-by-level action.