EPT11 Malta: Max Silver seeks elusive gold in bumper Maltese debut

A conservative prediction made last night suggested this inaugural EPT Malta Main Event would likely get about 600 runners. The line was set after watching 260 players show up for Day 1A and adding another 50 per cent to the projected tally for the second opening flight.

Not for the first time, a PokerStars Blog prediction was wrong. Way wrong. By the end of eight levels today, the second flight of this double-pronged opening day, the tournament board was showing 629 players -- for Monday alone. It brings the total to 899 and, with registration still open until tomorrow at noon, it's very likely we'll get beyond 900.

This already marks the second-biggest debut for a new destination on the European Poker Tour.

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Big numbers at EPT Malta

The chip leader tonight, having navigated a comfortable course through this bumper day, is Max Silver, who is no stranger to a big stack. Silver, who bags 176,100 tonight, made the final table of EPT Prague last season and followed up with a ninth place finish at the PCA. The British player is still hunting his first major international title (his near $2 million recorded tournament cashes have come from side events, those near misses and the UKIPT Dublin crown in 2010) but this would be the right place to break a duck.

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Your leader: Max Silver

Other stacks of note, either by virtue of their size or the reputation of the player behind them, include:

Max Silver, 176,100
Noah Vallancourt 146,100
Sam Trickett 134,900
Kyle Henry 131,900
Gilbert Diaz 130,800
Alexandre Rivero 112,500
Robin Ylitalo 109,700
Yury Gulyy, 108,800
Andrea Benelli 105,300
Anton Wigg 97,500
Yann Dion 97,200
Vladimir Troyanovskiy, 89,900
Jonathan Little 89,400
Jan Peter Jachtmann 85,000
Ariel Celestino, 83,600
Martin Jacobson 81,200
Jake Cody 78,000
Bart Kuiper, 76,600
Leo Margets 65,800
Marc-Andre Ladouceur 50,400
Jeffrey Hakim, 48,300
Jonathan Duhamel 46,200
Sin Melis 46,000
Vitaly Lunkin, 43,500
Martins Adeniya, 39,300
Zachary Korik, 35,900
Igor Yaroshevsky, 33,600
Shannon Shorr 32,600
Daniel Pidun, 29,000
Tobias Peters, 27,700
David Baker 26,200
Sebastian Pauli, 24,500
Dominik Nitsche 22,900
Kevin MacPhee, 21,400
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, 19,800
Kitty Kuo 14,000
Philipp Gruissem 13,300

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Jake Cody: Reasons to be cheerful

Meanwhile, Ludovic Geilich, Gaelle Baumann, Anatoly Filatov, Mike McDonald, Andrew Chen, Davidi Kitai, Angel Guillen, Jason Wheeler, Steve O'Dwyer, Julian Track, Mustapha Kanit, Pratyush Buddiga and Eugene Katchalov are among those who perished. Isaac Haxton was made to take the short walk home too.

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Ike Haxton: Home-town hero

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Anatoly Filatov: All dressed up but nowhere to go

There are approximately 375 players who made it through today, representing a rate of attrition that will only grow sharper tomorrow. At some point during tomorrow's six levels, we'll learn what the winner's prize is set to be. Like everything at this festival so far, it will be big.

Coverage today took in the sensational triple triumph of Dzmitry Urbanovich, and Georgios Zisimopoulos winning IPT Malta.

We caught up with the inimitable Kitty Kuo as well as Charlie Carrel, singing from a different hymn sheet.

That's it for now. Join us tomorrow, when EPT Live is back too.

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An aerial view of St Julians, our home for the week

Follow all the action from EPT Malta on the main EPT Malta page. There's action from the Main Event on the Main Event page, and information from the Italian Poker Tour event on the IPT page. You can also download the EPT App, available on both Android or IOS. You'll never get a better apportunity.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour