After 16 levels of play, 101 players have made it through to Day 2 of the €1,100 EPT National here at the PokerStars European Poker Tour Prague which takes place in the beautifully decorated Hilton Prague. Day 1a attracted a total of 671 players to the first of three starting flights with Narcis-Gabriel Nedelcu grabbing the chip lead honors with 954,500 in chips.
Romania’s Nedelcu finished in 16th place here in Prague last year, earning him a payday of €15,150 and looks to be heading for another deep run this year. Late into the day, Nedelcu had already built up an impressive stack but was competing with several other players for the chip lead when he eliminated both Marcel Scherrer and Asaf Turgeman with pocket fives. Turgeman was ahead to triple up with pocket queens while Scherrer held ace-queen. The flop gave Scherrer the straight draw but the five on the river meant the end of their tournament lives as Nedelcu hit a set.
"It was very good," said Nedelcu when the PokerNews live reporting team asked how his day went. "I won lots of small pots, but I also had two times aces against kings and won! The biggest one was when this guy tried to bluff me with nines on an ace-queen-three-four board. I had three-four! And then on the bubble, I just crushed it."
Danilo Velasevic trails Nedelcu with 745,000 in chips. The Serbian player could be found near the top of the chip counts all day long and kept on chipping up all throughout the day. Olgun Ercan from Turkey closes the podium for Day 1a with 598,000 in his Day 2 bag.
Other notable players who found a bag at the end of the day and making the money include Sofia Lovgren (382,000), Sebastian Malec (381,000), Gavin O’Rourke (282,000), William Kassouf (272,000), Charlie Carrel (235,000), Ari Engel (215,000), and Krasimir Yankov with 105,500 in chips.
The 101 players are all in the money after Simeon Spasov ran queens into the pocket kings of Nikita Staroverov. There was no help for the Bulgarian and he was eliminated. Exact payouts and what the min-cash is will be published ahead of Day 2.
Unfortunately, not everyone made it through Day 1a and will be expected to try again tomorrow, Sunday, December 9, on Day 1b which starts at noon. The PokerStars Team representatives like Maria Konnikova and Jamie Staples both fell at one of the hurdles Day 1a presented to them and will probably be joining the fray again tomorrow.
Other players like Sander van Wesemael, Ismael Bojang, Vojtech Ruzicka, Antoine Labat, Martin Kabrhel, Matas Cimbolas, 2016 EPT Prague Main Event Champion Jasper Meijer Van Putten, Jack Sinclair, Sam Grafton, Bart Lybaert, Walter Treccarichi, Martin Staszko, and Alexander Lakhov also busted somewhere throughout the day and will be firing another bullet on Day 1b or Day 1c.
Day 1b starts at noon local time, Sunday, December 9 and play will end once 15% of the field is remaining. Players will start with 30,000 in chips and play 40-minute levels with a 20-minute break after every three levels. A 75-minute dinner break will take place after Level 9 and at the end of the day, every remaining player will be in the money. Make sure to come back to PokerNews.com as the live reporting team will be there to bring you all the action from the floor here in the Czech Republic.