EPT12 Malta: Zhou far, Zhou good at end of €25K day 1

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Quan Zhou: Leads after Day 1

Updated: You would be amazed how anxious the organisers of poker tournaments can become, even though they are almost always on to a good thing. In the run up to EPT Malta, there was a traditional air of apprehension surrounding proceedings when we all wondered whether players would come.

Sure, EPT Malta was a roaring success last time out, but then there was the benefit of novelty. Could it be hoped that the best poker players on the planet could again be tempted to a rock in middle of the Mediterranean? It would be the second time within seven months.

Well the early indications, at the end of the first day of the €25,000 High Roller, is that yes, they have indeed come. At the end of the first eight levels of play in this three-day tournament, 57 players had registered and 10 had already used their single re-entry. That was already closing in on last season's 68 uniques and 20 re-entries, which sets a high bar for the rest of the festival.

There are planes still jetting in--most pertinently from Berlin, where plenty of players have been holed up for the WSOPE--and so the chances are the number will increase by at least a handful. There was also a last minute super satellite to the event last night, which may also have provided a few hopefuls.


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When bagging and tagging was finished for the night, Quan Zhou was the leader of the pack. He had 952,000, from a starting stack of 250,000, and didn't need a re-entry to get him there.

Zhou is among the most familiar of a small Macau-based contingent who are increasingly appearing on the EPT. He plays a more considered game compared with many of his compatriots, but is still notoriously difficult to read. He ended the day sitting next to last season's champion, Dzmitry Urbanovich, and will hope some of the run-good rubs off.

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Dzmitry Urbanovich, last season's winner

Dietrich Fast is close behind. Fast won the first World Series bracelet of his career at the beginning of the WSOPE festival in Berlin and is making all the right noises at the moment. Having progressed through the ranks from side events on the EPT, through Main Events to bracelets, he is in his first high buy-in event.

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Dietrich Fast: Bracelet winner

And it's going well. After Brian Roberts flew into an early lead today, Fast was the first to overhaul him and get up to about 800,000 chips. He finished with 931,000, while Roberts is still healthy with 485,000

Other counts include the following:

Christopher Frank, 704,000
Marvin Rettenmaier, 670,000
Anton Astapau, 552,000
Huidong Gu, China, 531,000
Connor Drinan, USA, 510,000
Dan Smith, 497,000
Jean-Noel Thorel, France, 430,000
Isaac Haxton, 267,000
Andre Akkari, 255,000

But it's really all about what happens tomorrow, when the prize pool is decided and we play down close to the money that it will actually get properly serious.

You can look back on all the action on the EPT Malta High Roller page. The IPT and side events continue into the night.

Everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the hand-by-hand coverage of the €25,000 High Roller is on the €25,000 High Roller page and everything from the IPT Main Event is on the IPT Main Event page.

No really, begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS

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Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of players who had entered. It is 57 and not 67 as previously stated.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour