Heading into the final day of the Epic Poker League Pro/Am, Canadian Greg “FBT” Mueller holds the chip lead with twenty players vying for the nine $20,000 seats into the second EPL tournament, which begins on Tuesday.
The $1500 Pro/Am featured two Day Ones, drawing in a cozy 97 players total for the tournament. This meant that, with nine seats in the EPL Main Event on the line for $180,000, there was a slight overlay for the event. Even with that said, there wasn’t an easy spot for any player as they looked to get into the EPL Main Event on the cheap.
Greg was one of the final players to register for Day 1B of the Pro/Am and he wasted little time getting down to business. “Late reg the @EpicPokerLeague 1500 pro/am,” Greg Tweeted on Saturday afternoon, “my table is Danny Fuhs, Jeff Madson, Faraz Jaka and J. J. Liu.” Despite such difficult competition, Mueller was able to build a nice chip stack by the dinner break, sitting on 85,000 with fifteen players remaining.
The Day 1B field played down to eleven players, who join the nine players from Friday’s Day 1A for today’s action. Following the dinner break, Greg kept his foot on the gas and ended Day 1B play with 140,500 in chips, good for the overall chip lead heading into Sunday. But the excitement of the night wasn’t over for Greg, as he reported over Twitter, “Wow, got robbed 5k at dice table by suspicious looking black guy! Me and my boy Kyle chased him through the Aria!” (Lesson to potential thieves: never go after a former hockey player!)
Although Greg is sitting atop the mountain at this point, there is still quite a bit of work to do if he is to make the Pro/Am final nine. Of the twenty players remaining, nine players are EPL card holders who could buy into the tournament without the benefit of making the final table. Eleven players are in the hunt for one of those prized final table seats, as it is the only way that they will be able to play in the EPL Main Event come Tuesday. Of those eleven players, there are three – WSOP bracelet winner Sean Getzwiller, Brandon Myers and Jeremiah DeGreef – who are looking to make their second consecutive Pro/Am final table.
The two final tables that are set for play this afternoon are stacked with top pros. On Table One, Nam Le is leading the way with his 105,600 in chips, but he faces significant challenges from Canada’s Matt Marafioti, Andreas Hoivoid, Ralph “Rep” Porter, Jeremy Ausmus and Jaime “Xaston” Kaplan. Over at Table Two, Greg has some of the toughest players in the game awaiting him, with Phil Hellmuth, Christian “charder30” Harder, Tim West, Getzwiller, Myers and a short stacked Liu ready for action.
The nine players who win their seat through the Pro/Am to the EPL Main Event will face the challenge of Eight Handed No Limit Hold’em, which is the variation of poker that this EPL Main Event will be played under. This second event follows what was, by most accounts, a very successful debut for the burgeoning league last month.
In the inaugural EPL Main Event, 137 players put up their $20K in Six Handed NLHE. With the ownership behind the EPL, Federated Sports and Gaming, tossing in another $400,000 on top of the rake-free buy ins, a $3.14 million prize pool was built. The final table featured some of the best players in the game, but also featured some controversy afterwards.
Canada’s Gavin Smith made the six handed final table, eventually departing the tournament in fifth place after Huck Seed’s dismissal. After Hasan Habib and Jason Mercier were eliminated, the tournament came down to heads up action between David “Chino” Rheem and Erik Seidel. Rheem capturing the inaugural championship and the $1 million payday by defeating Seidel but, immediately following the tournament, allegations of Rheem’s non-payment of previous backers arose (including an alleged altercation when Rheem went to cash out). This forced the EPL to put Rheem on probation for violations of the EPL Code of Conduct.
If Tuesday’s event can draw a similar sized field – or an even larger one – the second EPL Main Event will be a big tournament this upcoming week. But there is still the matter of the Pro/Am to finish up as Canadian eyes will be focused on Greg Mueller’s run to the Main Event.