EPT11 London: Georgios Zisimopoulos edges into chip lead ahead of scores of more familiar names

It's been a day for the purists at EPT London, where some of the best and brightest young stars rubbed shoulders with many of those who have already sealed their reputation, and a couple of relative unknowns from the poker outposts of Greece and Sweden went on tears through the field.

To deal with those two upstarts first, our chip leaders at the end of a hectic Day 1B are Georgios Zisimopoulos, who has 171,500, and Leo Nordin, who has 169,125 - a gap between them barely wide enough to slip a nimble member of a poker room waiting staff.

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Georgios Zisimopoulos: Last in the alphabet, first in chips

Nobody knows much about Zisimopoulos, beyond the fact that he has recorded the best results of his career in London and today ended up on the same table as Jennifer Shahade. He did most of his best work away from reporters' eyes.

Nordin was the opposite: he eliminated Robert Black when only seven minutes had ticked off the tournament clock, doubling his 30,000 starting stack many hours before some other people had even sat down.

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Leo Nordin: Great start, good finish

By the time they went on the second break of the day, Nordin was the first player through the 100,000 chip mark. He seemed set to be a pillar-to-post leader until Zisimopoulos poked his head above the parapet.

But to return to those more familiar names, why not start with the best known of all?

Victoria Coren Mitchell and Liv Boeree, who both honed their games in this city before earning extraordinary triumph on the European Poker Tour, showed up this afternoon and finished a successful eight levels. They bagged 115,000 and 102,400 respectively.

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Vicky Coren Mitchell: Back on home soil

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Liv Boeree: Decent start

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier tweeted this morning that he was "feeling good about this one, for some reason". There was a new tone about that utterance, perhaps a hint of doubt borne from a long fallow period (by ElkY's standards). But the Team PokerStars Pro finished with 147,900, which is the kind of Day 1 showing he used to put in every month.

It was actually a glittering day for players bearing the Red Spade, with Marc-Andre Ladouceur (80,300), Mickey Petersen (83,100), Jennifer Shahade (67,300), Theo Jorgensen (87,850), Joao Nunes and Luca Pagano also living to fight another day.

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Theo Jorgensen

Meanwhile, the veteran John Gale made his return to the live tournament game and ended up sitting next to Viktor Blom, who has recently made the British capital his home. Daniel Colman, the single hottest poker player in the world at the moment, arrived during the penultimate level of action and bagged up enough - something like his starting stack - with which to work tomorrow.

It wasn't so sweet for any of David Ulliot, Antonio Buonanno, Griffin Benger, Olivier Busquet, Ludovic Geilich, Phillipp Gruissem, Bryn Kenney, Vladimir Troyanovskiy or Salvatore Bonavena, however. They were among the 200-ish who were eliminated today.

If those numbers seem pleasingly high, that's because they are. There was a lot of fretting this time last year at what some doom-mongers considered to be a worryingly low turnout for this event. But with 443 registering today, to add to the 224 of yesterday, we're already up to 667 players, and some may even join tomorrow.

That's the most in London since Spindler beat them all, and more than all but three of the 11 EPT Main Events in the city.

It is Day 2 tomorrow, which starts at noon, and the survivors from both opening flights join under one roof. If past history gives us an accurate indication, about half of them will be eliminated by the time they play through the six levels they have scheduled. We'll know by then how much is in the prize-pool and what they are all playing for.

Join us then.

More selected counts:

Nicolas Chouity -152,700
Pablo Gordillo - 145,000
Christopher Swaminathan - 121,600
Fredrik Jensen - 108,900
Javier Tazon - 106,200
Marc-Andre Ladouceur - 80,300
Stephen Chidwick - 79,400
Martin Staszko - 72,600
Chris Moorman - 44,800
Igor Kurganov - 41,500
Sam Trickett - 40,000
Robin Ylitalo - 22,200
Kevin MacPhee - 17,000
Ole Schemion - 15,800
Mikhail Shalamov - 14,300
Talal Shakerchi - 14,200
Andrew Chen - 13,900
Dominik Nitsche - 12,700
Roberto Romanello - 10,400

Follow our coverage of the EPT London festival via the main EPT London page, where there are hand-by-hand updates and chip counts in the panel at the top and feature pieces below.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour