Andrulis snatches lead as EPT brings Deauville to life


The sun shone on Deauville this morning as more than 330 players worked their way through registration and into the halls of the Deauville conference centre. It's a place that makes it clear from the start that it's used to the spotlight. Part of Casino Deauville (which itself is attached to the Hotel Normandy and is a jewel in the town's rich history), the halls of the conference centre are adorned with pictures of the rich and famous and well, stuff like they might like to buy.

It seemed in tune with the players who, giddy on the prospect of good fortune, and the thought that this might, just might, be their year, made their way past another security barrier, into the tournament room and to their seats. But such aspirations are quickly extinguished, particularly when the field you're up against harbours no qualms about ruining your day.

For some it was a day to move all-in

That said Day 1A of EPT Deauville was a tournament opener like every other, along the way asking several key players to leave, while granting consideration to players not yet known by our little poker circus.

Team PokerStars Pro Jonathan Duhamel could argue that he never really got started, not that he would argue, preferring to pick up where he left off at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and Situation normal for in-form Duhamel">see where that carried him. the PCA streak did not stretch to France however, and he was among the departed today, a fate shared by a number of other high profile players.

All smiles, for a few levels at least - Jonathan Duhamel

Pierre Neuville, a newly minted Team Pro, was among them, as was Constant Rijkenberg, Shaun Deeb and Max Heinzelmann. Martin Jacobson also went to the rail early, leaving the way open for several new players to make themselves known by throwing chips about.

The new old boy, Pierre Neuville

Leader tonight is Kristijonas Andrulis, a former EPT Tallinn High Roller winner and EPT Berlin finalist, who closed on 162,600 chips, just 400 more than second placed Philippe Ma.

Chip leader Kristijonas Andrulis

Andrulis's surge came late, following the likes of Etienne Archambaeud, Rodolphe Ray, Elie Payan and Gabriel Morin who took the lead at various stages, as did Marchel Masaladzhiu who was the first to breach the 100,000 mark.

For now victory is still a big ask, but a happy idea for Andrulis to contemplate as the second starting flight readies themselves for eight levels of play tomorrow. Organisers expect double the number of players today. Not only will that give the registration desk something to think about (let along the local taxi service), but it should make for yet another prize pool bump in this French leg of the tour.

The marina in Deauville this morning

For now we'll leave you with these convenient links to today's main event colour, while you can find hand details on the live coverage stream here.

Difficult to reach, hard to beat - an introduction to EPT Deauville
The local betting rules
Kaspars Renga the limpet mine?
Mitchell, Dempsey and Frankland looking for action
What matters to Mattern

Thanks for following the action on Day 1A. In about 15 hours we'll start Day 1B.

Until then, it's goodnight from Deauville.

All photography © Neil Stoddart

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in European Poker Tour