Monday was time for Day 1b of the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Vienna Main Event, which meant another day in paradise for poker players and poker fans from all over the world. The venue looked stunning again and everybody seemed excited as EPT President Edgar Stuchly announced the start of the tournament at noon.
If the Eureka Poker Tour was any indication of what was to come, Day 1b would be a lot busier than Day 1a. And so it was, as 560 players flocked to the Hofburg Palace tournament room. It once housed some of the most powerful people in European and Austrian history and currently serves as the official residence of the President of Austria. But the president shares his "Festsaal" with a bunch of poker players this week.
It was a feast of recognition today as many of the games greats entered the tournament. Two of those already registered for this summer's $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament were in attendance in Sam Trickett and Philipp Gruissem.
Also among the players to play today were Team PokerStars Pros Theo Jorgensen, Johnny Lodden, Jan Heitmann, Liv Boeree, Eugene Katchalov, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, and Max Lykov; former EPT winners Salvatore Bonavena, Mike McDonald, and Sandra Naujoks; and the renowned; PokerStars Team Online's Mickey Petersen; and the current EPT10 POY Leader Ole Schemion.
Reigning PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event champion Dominik Panka was among those eliminated. Panka had a tough table from the get go with World Series of Poker and EPT final tablist Joep van den Bijgaart on his right and Schemion on his direct left. His table would get broken eventually, but that was little consolation. After getting short quite early, Panka lost his last chips to Van den Bijgaart in a preflop all-in situation with nines to ace-jack. A jack hit the flop, and that meant it was time for Panka to head for the exit.
Meanwhile Gus Hansen had as many swings in the tournament today as he does online. He ended up with a decent stack after eight levels of play, though, so it wasn't all downhill for "The Great Dane," who battled it out with Atik Miah more than once. First, he missed a bunch of outs in a big pot, but later won some back with kings a little later.
One table down was his teammate and online rival Viktor "Isildur1" Blom. The Swede was there right when the tournament started and looked at ease. Sometimes in the past, Blom has looked like he had some other place to be, but here in Vienna he wasn't going anywhere and seemed determined to do well. He did play a lot of pots, but most of them didn't get too out of control. It took a set-up hand for Blom to commit a lot of chips against EPT regular Jason Wheeler, but he flopped a straight against a set in that hand and managed to hold — a good excuse to finally play a big pot. Needless to say, if a guy like Blom starts hitting sets, all the other players in the building should start to worry.
After eight levels of play, Mads Smith Hansen finished leading the way. The Danish player amassed 200,000 in chips in eight 75-minute levels of play. Hansen might lead, but don't forget about Igin Viacheslav (182,700), Artur Koren (154,900), Joni Jouhkimainen (154,400), and Sebastian Trisch (146,200). Former EPT Berlin winner Kevin MacPhee (128,800) and hometown hero Markus Golser (123,800) also gathered big stacks.
Tuesday awaits Day 2, where all the remaining players will start at 12 p.m. local time once again. Though it hasn't been announced officially yet, most likely Day 2 will know six 75-minute levels and no dinner break. The size of the prize pool and first-place prize awaits as players are allowed to enter until the start of Day 2.
PokerNews will again provide all the coverage you need from the first flop until the last river card, so be sure to check back again at noon for continued coverage of the 2014 EPT Vienna Main Event.