The second leg of the PokerStars European Poker Tour season seven kicked off on Saturday, in the glorious Portuguese sunshine. The Vilamoura Casino is the setting for the €5,000 + €300 No Limit Hold’em tournament, a casino in a purpose built holiday resort in the Algarve region of the country.
Last year’s EPT Vilamoura was held in November and attracted 322 players, but a change to the calendar saw an extra 62 entrants this time around, presumably swayed by the fantastic weather and excellent beaches.
Day 1A saw 181 players stump up the €5,000 + €300 buy-in, including the likes of Annette Obrestad, Allan Baekke, Anton Wigg, Vicky Coren and Arnaud Mattern, who narrowly missed out on becoming the first player in the history of the PokerStars European Poker Tour to land two Main Event titles, as he finished third at EPT Tallinn.
It seemed as though Mattern would be leaving the Vilamoura Casino early though, after losing over half of his chips inside the first hour’s poker, but an epic recovery saw him in the chip lead at the half way point on Day 1A and he remained in the top six chip stacks at the end of the day’s play. That second EPT title may yet arrive for the Frenchman.
Day 1B attracted a further 203 poker players, making EPT Vilamoura the largest ever live poker tournament to be held in Portugal, with a total of 384 participants. A total prize pool of €1,862,400 is up for grabs, with prize money of €467,835 awaiting the winner. The top 56 players will earn a share of the pool.
More star names appeared on the second flight of Day 1, including Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier and Daniel Negreanu, who busted early on. Also present were EPT San Remo champion Liv Boeree, David Williams and Sorel Mizzi, all three managing to survive until the close of play.
Leonid Bilokur ended Day 1B as the overall chip leader. The little known Russian’s best career performance came back in March, when he won €2,000 No Limit Hold’em side event at the 2010 EPT Berlin, taking home €174,000 for his troubles. Bilokur ended the day fractionally ahead of PokerStars Team Online player Andre Coimbra, who topped the chip counts at the end of Day 1A, controlling the overall chip lead.
Stay tuned for more PokerStars European Poker Tour updates.