EPT9 Berlin Day 1A: Ronny Voth soars to early lead in the German capital

The European Poker Tour calendar has been re-jigged pretty much every year since the start. Two years ago on this day, Liv Boeree won EPT Sanremo, which was previously the appetiser for the Grand Final. But precisely 12 months later, Davidi Kitai was hoisting the EPT Berlin trophy aloft as Germany became the final stopping point en route to Monte Carlo.

However much you might like Sanremo, the choice to retain Berlin in this slot is the right one. There's something about the German capital that elevates this leg into one of the most eagerly anticipated of the year and yields some of the most talented champions. It may have only been Day 1A today, but one can already sense something exceptional in the offing. This venue, this tournament room, this line up and the enormous numbers always attracts the very best.

There were 347 players ante-ing up €5,300 to play today. At the end of eight levels, the player with the most chips from the remaining 171 is Ronny Voth. He's not especially well known and the chances of him making the final day will always be slim. But one can only play the cards put in front of you, and Voth clearly played his excellently. He can now sit back for a day off tomorrow before returning on Tuesday for day two. He had 196,100 at the end of the day.

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Ronny Voth, your Day 1A chip leader

A host of huge names will be joining him, including the former champions Moritz Kranich (who bagged 111,500 at the close), Zimnan Ziyard (33,500) and Max Lykov (19,400), who at one point shared the EPT Live televised table with Michael Tureniec, among others. Although the Swede was eliminated in the last level of the day, it offered an indication of the strength of today's field: four former EPT champions on the same table. On Day 1A. It's unprecedented.

Other big names through to day two include:

Dominik Nitsche - 137,500
Marcin Horecki - 89,400
Mattias de Meulder - 58,000
Boris Becker - 30,300
Jan Heitmann - 21,900
Felipe Ramos - 24,700
Liv Boeree - 18,100

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Matthias de Meulder: sacrificed the Sundays for a good run today

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Jan Heitmann: Good-ish day

And among those already laid to waste are:

Jeff Sarwer, Ruben Visser, Antoine Saout, Steve O'Dwyer, Paul Berende, Justin Bonomo, Johnny Lodden, Pierre Neuville and Rupert Elder.

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Ruben Visser: back-to-back title chances vanquished

Tomorrow we will welcome, among others, Vanessa Selbst, Kevin MacPhee, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Eugene Katchalov, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Luca Pagano, Dario Minieri and Jake Cody. One suspects this will be one of the most fiercely contested tournaments since, well, since EPT London last month.

Today we have been writing about all sorts, including a glance at where this all started (ie, Dortmund), a look back to Davidi Kitai's famous victory, we then examined the monstrous turnout for the inaugural Berlin Cup.

We also looked at a man named Huseyin wearing white gloves. You wouldn't think it would be that attractive, but we used the word "cleavage" in the headline and everyone clicked on it, just like you are about to now. Go on, there's no shame. Cleavage.

PokerStars.tv was also busy today, and Kristy Arnett chin-wagged with Dominik Nitsche and whizzed round Berlin.

Full end of day chip counts will appear in the panel at the top of the main EPT Berlin page as soon as they are known.

You can also check out side events and news here, including news of Pieter de Korver's Berlin Cup victory.

But that's just about that. We'll be back tomorrow at noon.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour