EPT London: Spindler in front, Mercier chasing


Well, we got the all-star cast, a veritable Black's Who's Who of poker's mentionables, making for a swollen chip count list as the line-up of more than 30 Team PokerStars Pros was alone enough to grace any poker tournament.

So it's ironic perhaps that at the end of today's eight levels none of them emerges out front. Instead that position went to the young pretender Benny Spindler, a name hardly making its first appearance on an EPT leader board.

Spindler doesn't normally need aces to secure a good lead, but there's no harm in benefitting when they do come along. So when Nicolas Levi five-bet shoved with 7♦4♦ Spindler was only too happy to call with his aces to win a pot worth close to 100,000. The rest came through hard work; leaving him 160,800 nicely packed away in a bag tonight, along with the nominal chip lead.

Chip leader, Benny Spindler

That said it's a lead that can only be described as tentative, pursued as he is by some fearsome looking opponents. And few fit that description as well as Jason Mercier.
Mercier hummed along nicely for much of the day before news came that he'd been calling six-bets against Anrei One to vault beyond the six figure mark.

He bags up 99,200 tonight, among the leaders of the remaining 255 players from the 411 who began today. For the record, as well as writing his name, nationality and chip count on the bag, Mercier also scrawled "Future EPT London Champion."

Future EPT London winner? Jason Mercier...

Mercier's was a standout performance but it was a good day for his stable mates in general. With the exceptions of Daniel Negreanu, Luca Pagano, Johannes Strassmann, Juan Maceiras, Vanessa Selbst, Viktor Blom and Liv Boeree, the balance, recorded in detail on the chip count page, will be back tomorrow when the field unites for Day 2, the best of them being Matthias de Meulder, who bags up 103,400 tonight.

Vanessa Rousso -- 83,500

Eugene Katchalov -- 36,100

Vicky Coren -- 50,800

Despite such a field, with the talented additions of such players as Jeff Sarwer, Freddy Deeb, Kevin MacPhee, Carlos Mortensen and David Benyamine, the day didn't catch the imagination as hoped, with much of the day uneventful, periods of calm scalded by moments of high drama, most of which coming at the end when the likes of David Williams (65,800) and Vanessa Rousso (83,500) bulked up their stacks. Those changes will no doubt shape the early stages of the action tomorrow.

Until then we can only look back through the day's coverage to see who will be joining the above, with the official chip count page likely to be rendered unrecognisable within a level of the start at 12 noon on Sunday. A click back through the links below will help with any recap of the day...

Level 1 & 2 updates
Level 3 & 4 updates
Level 5 & 6 updates
Level 7 & 8 updates

Our thanks to photographer Neil Stoddart for all of today's images, and two our foreign friends, blogging in German and Swedish, at least one of them by force.

Join us tomorrow for continued coverage.

St Katherine's Dock in London

Goodnight from London.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in Season 8