EPT San Remo: Ruben Visser leads as Team Pros shine on Day 1B
In a poker tournament that usually attracts the hopeless and the hopeful of the amateur world, especially among their enthusiastic Italian cousins, it was a day for the professionals in San Remo, notably the Team PokerStars Professionals, these liveried raiders making up the bulk of the top slots tonight.
The roster included names such as Joe Cada, Barry Greenstein, Vanessa Selbst, Max Lykov and Sebastian Ruthenberg, each of whom survived the rigours of Day 1 to leave themselves well-placed for their return tomorrow, the role of leader filled by Dutchman Ruben Visser, who closed on 251,500 tonight.
Visser, and the poker magazine cover faces, put in performances good enough to remind the world that the cream sometimes really does rise to the top, even in a place like this which traditionally favours the bold and adventurous locals.
Chip leader Ruben Visser
With a late night surge, Visser seized the lead from yesterday's top man Leonid Bilokur, who bagged up 187,900 last night and takes his advantage into the second day.
But if there was ever a place where the Day 1 leader's chip stack was as precarious as the shortest of stacks, it would be San Remo, an event where hope can turn to desperation and fear to triumph in the space of a few hands. Just ask Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin.
Over the buffet dinner, Victor Ramdin had confessed to enjoying one of the greatest runs of cards he'd ever experienced: "I'm freerolling," he'd said, tucking into the skewered meat, having turned his crippled stack of 2,800 into a mighty one of 70,000 by the mid-way point. By the close, he'd turned that into 190,500. Ramdin can call it freerolling all he likes; that's a stack with which to do some damage.
While the likes of Ramdin, Visser, Greenstein (81,300), Ruthenberg (72,000), Lykov (108,000), Selbst (161,500) and Cada (135,500) were shoring up their defences for another day at the tables, former champs and champettes were heading railward.
Notably, this included last year's winner Liv Boeree, who departed moments after the field reconvened from the split dinner break. Kevin MacPhee soon followed, as did Sandra Naujoks and Michael Tureniec. Others, including Johnny Lodden, Jonathan Duhamel, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Kevin Stani and Ben Wilinofsky had departed well before them.
Dario Minieri put in a cameo appearance: burning brightly before being extinguished in level four. His fellow countryman Luca Pagano had better fortune, but only as far as making it into level nine. Pagano was taking a day off from his behind-the-scenes work at EPT San Remo to do what he does equally as well in-front-of-the-scenes, but crashed out within sight of the curtain when his pocket fours ran into pocket queens.
Find out all you need to know about how today panned out by clicking on the links below, while the official chip counts of the 249 players remaining can be found on the Official Chip Count Page. Want to compare those to Day 1A? We've got that covered on yesterday's chip count page. Accept no substitute.
That's it for Day 1B. Tomorrow things start to get a little more interesting as the field unites, going forth towards the money. Whether we get there or not will remain to be seen, but the players who will try can be found listed on the Seat Draw page.
The tournament room
All that's left to do is thank our German, Dutch and Italian colleagues for their help with spelling and other stuff, and to thank Neil Stoddart for all the images used today and for hand details he provided when the three of us were distracted by the latest news from Westminster Abbey.
We're now heading back to the hotel to make the finishing touches to the dress uniforms we intend to wear tomorrow for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, or Bill and Kat as some of the barbarians we work with might call them. A worldwide audience of a gazillion people may tune into that tomorrow, but they'd be fools not to follow coverage of Day 2 at the same time.
See you then.