EPT9 Berlin Day 1B: Postprandial surge sends the Grinder out front

They came in their hundreds. Some came early and some came late, although fully aware that with a full week ahead of them nothing was going to be won in the next eight levels.

Some were in their seats long before there was anyone to sit next to. Others wandered in when play was well underway, players like Luke Schwartz and David Williams. They were here for more of the same, but both arrived late and departed early.

The introductions are made

That's always the danger with a field so big, such a volatile place to make a living, but one rich in rewards if you can manage it. The final figure was 912 players, a further 565 joining the 347 of yesterday, making it the second largest EPT Berlin main event ever staged, with a first prize of €880,000 to the winner after the final table on Saturday.

The tournament room in atmospheric blue

It is the nature of the opening day to be unpredictable, and the leader may not hold such an esteemed position for long when the field of nearly 500 returns tomorrow. But right now Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi holds that nominal lead for the day with 175,400 chips, heading a lead group that includes he likes of Daniel Reymer with 162,600, Eddy Maksoud on 161,500 and Georgio Zisimopoulos with 157,700. For the record Ronny Voth returns with the overall lead with 196,100.

The Grinder takes the lead

Other big names returning include:

Sam Grafton -- 135,900
Mark Darner - 129,900
Sorel Mizzi -- 119,500
Tobias Reinkemeier - 81,100
Marvin Rettenmaier - 47,500
Olivier Busquet - 47,100
Eugene Katchalov - 38,600
Davidi Kitai -- 32,100
ElkY -- 21,500

The best story most certainly belonged to Mizrachi. The Grinder returned from the dinner break with around 20,000 but a short time later had turned that into nearly 150,000 after sending three players to the rail in two hands.

Michael Mizrachi

The full list -- and it's a long list -- of those who made it through today can be found on our live coverage section, where you'll find hand for hand details as well as chip counts.

Where there are survivors there are the eliminated, a list that today was heavy on the big names. They included Michael Finger, Jannick Wrang, Frederik Jensen, Marcel Luske, Berlin Cup winner Pieter de Korver, Toby Lewis, Dario Minieri, Ana Marquez, Randy Lew, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Philipp Gruissem, Ludovic Lacay and David Williams. For them their Berlin adventure is over.

David Williams

The story of today was at times elsewhere, or at least we tried to pretend it was.
We delved into the ever increasing EPT who's who list, and compared Benny Spindler to a Tibetan Mastiff. There was also time to bring details of Micah Raskin's storming win in the Berlin Cup High Roller event.

You may remember them as those guys who wowed the EPT Baden final in Season 3. We know them as Thang Duc Nguyen and Dario Minieri, who we featured today. We also harked back to a year ago, when former Bee-boy Pratyush Buddiga reached his first EPT final table, and then to the start of this season in Barcelona, during which Joni Jouhkimainen seemed to have them eating out of his hat, until he lost it. Older, and wiser, Victor Ramdin kept things in perspective.

Evening in Berlin

Throughout the week you can watch all the action for yourself on PokerStars.tv, and today was no different, with James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton bringing you action all the way through to the close. Their coverage resumes tomorrow afternoon at 1.30pm (CET), as does ours at 12 noon.

Until then, goodnight from Berlin.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter