EPT11 Deauville: Nathan Gozlan hero-calls his way to Day 1A chip lead

As surely as night follows day follows night follows day, the European Poker Tour departs The Bahamas in January and wends it way back to a more conventional definition of the continent. Furthermore, and as if to make sure nobody is so casual about what constitutes winter temperature too, the destination is always Deauville, a charming French town located somewhere between Normandy and Siberia.

So here we are again in northern France, where the FPS has been running all week. Today, the big boys of the EPT rolled into town, fresh from Kevin Schulz's victory in the PCA a couple of weeks ago, and it's been icy shivers, crème brûlée and the €5,000 Main Event.

We played eight levels today, on Day 1A, which is the conventional place to start these things. Nathan Gozlan, from France, emerged with the biggest stack of today's starters, bagging 148,500, as a field of 199 was reduced to about 105. His day was already going well when he made a great hero call with ace high to win a pot worth 400 big blinds, or 120,000. From there, it was plain sailing until the bags came out.


Nathan Gozlan: Hero

Gozlan pipped Alexander Ivarsson to the lead by a matter of 2,700 chips. Ivarsson, from Sweden, knocked out Andrey Gulyy with one of the final hands of the day, living up to the slogan on his T-shirt: "At Night I Fly". He didn't quite fly high enough, but it was close. His 145,800 is plenty.


Alexander Ivarsson: Flying high

In truth, this was a slow beginning, with a field best described as compact. But as ever there was no shortage of action right from the off, and we caught a big one on the very first hand.

There was also a healthy smattering of big names, many of whom have found Deauville to their liking before. Eugene Katchalov, who came second here last year, headlined the Team PokerStars Pro contingent, and rode the waves of a choppy day to bag 16,000, while Dominik Panka, who won the High Roller last year, bagged 48,800 and will live to fight another day.


Eugene Katchalov: Hoping for one place better


Dominik Panka: High Roller last year, this time the main?

Dimitar Danchev, another former PCA champion, had a decent day at the felt. He bagged 39,200. Marcin Horecki, who skipped the trip to the Caribbean this time, has enjoyed his first major tournament of the year. The Team Pro from Poland has 92,000 and said, "One of the best day ones ever. I think I only had more in Monte Carlo two years ago."


Marcin Horecki: Back in the saddle

Other notables, either by virtue of reputation or stack, include:

Emil Ekvardt, 133,600
Patryk Slusarek, 123,300
Robert Schulz, 109,700
Franck Kalfon, 109,000
Benjamin Buhr, 106,500
Nandor Solyom, 106,200
Jan-Eric Schwippert, 100,600
Anton Wigg, 84,500
Jan Boubli, 80,700
Martins Adeniya, 74,400
Pablo Gordillo, 65,700
Artur Koren, 62,100
Ronan Monfort, 47,500
Frederik Jensen, 33,000
David Vamplew, 18,400

Other players couldn't last that long. Adrian Diaz departed in the last level. Dominik Nitsche and Arnaud Mattern had already gone. So too Walid Bou Habib, another former runner up in Deauville, who is now a man who stares at goats.

Our further coverage today took in the aforementioned France Poker Series, which is playing to a winner and examined the ringers in the fields of the women's and seniors' events.

We looked inside the House of Bluff and caught up with Dan Charlton, fresh from victory in the Super Tuesday.

It's Day 1B tomorrow and what is sure to be a much bigger field. Join us from noon.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Main Event