The first day of play in the second event on the Epic Poker League Season One schedule is complete, with several new faces making an appearance in the event and three Canadians looking to contend for the championship.
The $20,000 buy in tournament, this time an Eight Handed No Limit Hold’em event, drew in a cozy crowd of 97 league qualified members and the nine men who won their way in through the Pro/Am tournament on Sunday. With an additional $400,000 provided by the ownership of the EPL, Federated Sports & Gaming, the total prize pool from the rake-free tournament broke the $2.3 million mark and will pay out twelve players. What they’re all shooting for, however, is the first place payday of $782,400.
From the start of action on Tuesday, the players wasted little time getting their chips in motion. Canada’s Peter Jetten and Brandon Cantu clashed in the early going when, on a 9-7-10 flop and a four on the river, Cantu pushed the remainder of his stack to the center of the felt. Peter, covered by Cantu, made the call and tabled pocket nines for a flopped set. After revealing his hand, you could see why Cantu thought he was in good shape with his pocket sevens and his own flopped set. Once the case seven failed to come on the river, Peter had doubled up to over 76,000 in chips; Cantu, crippled in the hand, was eliminated soon afterwards.
That would be the highlight of the tournament for Peter, however. Although he would drive through the dinner break, he was never able to add on to his stack after the battle with Cantu. He eventually would fall at the hands of Christian Harder, joining fellow Canadian Gavin Smith (who made the final table of the first EPL tournament in August) on the rail.
The news would be a bit better for three other Canadians in the field. Although he won his seat at the $20K tournament through the Pro/Am on Sunday, Greg “FBT” Mueller decided to wait until after the Main Event had started to take his seat at the tables. Once he did make his way to the baize, Greg continued to play just as efficiently as he had in the Pro/Am, eliminating Antonio Esfandiari late in the evening on Tuesday to finish the day with 110,300 in chips.
Two other Canadian players have been able to make the Day 2 action, but one will have some work to do if he wants to go deeper. Mike “SirWatts” Watson stayed out of the limelight for much of the action on Tuesday, but he will be in decent shape when play begins on Wednesday with 60,100. On the other end of the spectrum, Matt Marafioti will have some work to do with his 38K in chips if he is to contend for the latest EPL crown.
Perhaps the true story of the day was the arrival of David “Chino” Rheem to the tournament floor. The champion of the inaugural EPL event in August, Rheem has been put on probation by the EPL following disclosure of his alleged mismanagement of his funds and not paying backers their share. Regardless of his issues, Rheem seems to want to make the EPL his own personal playground, as he ended Day One with 173,300 in chips.
There are two new faces atop the leaderboard when the cards fly this afternoon. Playing in the tournament after earning his way into the Main Event through the Pro/Am, Jaime “Xaston” Kaplan has made the most of his efforts, leading the way with 324,600 in chips. He bypassed the player who had held the lead for much of the day, Dan O’Brien, during late action and will hold a slim 3200 chip lead at the start of Day Two. Other players in the Top Ten include Alec Torelli, Nam Le and WSOP bracelet holder Sean Getzwiller, who only made the tournament by winning his seat in the Pro/Am as well.
The plan for play on Wednesday will be for the remaining fifty players to work their way close to the money if not reach it. Thursday’s action will whittle the field down to the final eight players, with Friday scheduled to be Championship Day, when the latest champion of the Epic Poker League will be crowned.