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EPT Grand Final High Roller Day 1: Another Record Field

As the European Poker Tour Season 10 draws to a close, high-stakes players have one more shot to take down a big prize and enhance their poker CV.

So most of them didn’t waste any time and registered right away for the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final High Roller yesterday for as much as €25,000. Some of them even shot a second bullet in order to increase their chances of winning the big event. But at the end of Day 1, 54 of them left the poker felt with their dreams shattered.

They DID get a consolation prize though: they were part of EPT history. The first day of the last high roller of the season brought a total of 158 competitors to the tables, 37 more than last year. Forty-seven players re-entered and set a new record in terms of HR entries (205) on European ground. Only the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure HR had a bigger field with 247.

The number, however, could go further up today as late registration is still running and big names like Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, Vanessa Selbst, and SHR final niners Richard Yong and Paul Phua still have a chance to compete with the best of the best.

But they will need some degree of luck to get past the big stacks that dominated Day 1. Benny Spindler is the biggest of them all with 192 blinds, while Ismail Erkenov (178), John Juanda (145), and Dmitry Yurasov (121) complete the top of the chip leaderboard.

Splinder took the lead right at the end after eliminating Canadian Haralabos Voulgaris. He forced Voulgaris to put his whole stack in the middle on a #8c#3h#7c#jh#ah board. “That’s the worst part,” the Canadian said after he asked the dealer if he had to show his hand if he called. And he had to – Spindler turned #10s#9c, and before leaving the table, Voulgaris revealed he had actually called with second pair – #jc#9h.

For other players, though, calling with a marginal hand seemed to be the way to accumulate chips. In probably the most interesting hand of the day, Martin Finger made an unbelievable call against Tobias Reinkemeier. After betting the #5d#6h#4s#kd turn, Finger looked puzzled on his opponent’s raise shove. He eventually called with just Ace high – #as#10s to see he was right; Reinkemeier had #qc#3c and 32% to win the pot on the river. The last card – #ad, sent Reinkemeier home. “Pretty cool. You don’t see that every day,” Michael Telker said after witnessing the showdown, according to PokerStars Blog.

The action heated up as Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Artem Litvinov decided to play a pot blind. It was Litvinov who won it with #jd#jh and in the very next hand he tried to convince Swede nosebleeds player Viktor “Isildur1” Blom to join the action and not look at his cards. “This is too crazy,” Blom responded, refusing to take part in the no-look frenzy.

Crazy as in forgetting to cash in over €1.5 million? Not by a long shot! The highlight of the day actually didn’t have anything to do with an actual hand. Between hands, one of the tournament staff approached Daniel Colman and reminded him that he still hasn’t picked up his big Super High Roller prize. “You remember?” the casino employee asked Colman. How can someone forget such a number?

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Florian Gheorghe