EPT9 Monaco: Victor Sbrissa heads all star cast as Day 1B wraps

Day 1B of EPT9 Monaco ended with more players than started Day 1A. We were not surprised. Although opening flights of major tournaments are identical in all the most important factors -- number of levels, structure, etc. -- the opening flight is always the runt of the litter compared with the second day's bouncing bundle of joy.

And so it proved in Monaco today, where the stars finally came out to play. We had Negreanu. We had Ivey. We had Isildur, Antonius, Esfandiari, Trickett and Mercier. There was Boeree, Juanda, Mizrachi, Hansen, Margets, Obrestad and Minieri. At one point near to the start of play, us reporters played a game we have never before tried: we swept the room and attempted to find a table, a single table among 60-odd, on which we did not recognise a single face. We failed, and we failed hard.

This was a stacked field; 423 started the day. That brought the number of the full jamboree up to (an as-yet unconfirmed) 531.

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Our packed tournament room in Monaco

The irony, of course, is that at the end, when approximately 200 remained after eight levels of play, Victor Sbrissa was in the lead, a man whose visage was only vaguely familiar. He was bagging 224,800 chips, which represented a sensational haul from a single day. But--ah! that's it--his performance here is not even the most remarkable thing he has done this week: seven days ago Sbrissa won LAPT Brazil in Sao Paolo, and has been beaming out of our own Blog since then.

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Victor Sbrissa: ahead of a terrifying chasing pack

The chasing pack he has behind him here in Monaco is fiercer even than that of the LAPT. Indeed, take a look at some of those remaining:

Noah Schwartz - 204,600
Calvin Anderson - 198,100
Andrew Lichtenberger - 137,800
Victor Ramdin - 134,400
Daniel Negreanu - 88,600
Chad Brown - 67,000
Nicolas Chouity - 57,600
Annette Obrestad - 56,800
Mohsin Charania - 51,000
Jason Mercier - 48,200
Fatima Moreira de Melo - 45,100
John Juanda - 44,750
Andrew Chen - 48,300
Galen Hall - 40,900
Salvatore Bonavena - 40,500
Humberto Brenes - 34,500
Michael Tureniec - 28,000
Randy Lew - 25,600
Mickey Petersen - 21,900
Luca Pagano - 18,100

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Calvin Anderson: brilliant in Berlin, back in Monaco

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A solid day for Daniel Negreanu

And even the list of those laid to waste makes for a sensational read. Although Ivey and Antonius departed, along with Vanessa Selbst, ElkY, Dominik Nitsche and Chris Moneymaker, this remains one for the glitterati.

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Vanessa Selbst: no good

Our coverage today did its best to take it all in. We marvelled at the stars, and then pondered the irony of Mickey Petersen and Randy Lew coming all the way from the online tables, only to be sat next to one another.

Sarah Grant caught up with the mild-mannered defending champion Mohsin Charania, and we had a look at some players hoping to emulate him via the satellite route.

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Mohsin Charania: defending champ

Stephen Bartley got up close and personal with Phil Ivey in the post of the day, while Gus Hansen pondered whether to play a million euro cash game.

There were photos. A lot of photos. And we started what is certain to be a thrilling series looking back on season nine. And honestly, who knew how brilliant the cars were in Monte Carlo? (Irony alert.)

Meanwhile in the world of side events, Jason Mercier got back to winning ways in the open-face Chinese event. Turns out he hasn't wasted every waking hour of the past six months after all.

Tomorrow's schedule is to start at noon and continues to slice through the field, probably for six more 75-minute levels. Goodnight.