Welcome to Malta!Good morning everyone and welcome to Day 1A of Unibet Open Malta 2018 being held at Casino Malta in St Julians'.
After an eventful couple of days already, we are finally ready for the start of the €1,100 main event.
Plenty of players are expected to take part in either today's Day 1A or tomorrow's Day 1B and contribute to a what is always a whopping prize pool at the Unibet Opens.
Yesterday saw a lot of action, including the Tag Team event which involved both Unibet Poker ambassadors and eSporters, which was played on the feature table but will not be broadcast until Friday so make sure you don't miss that one!
The eSport Battle Royale XI took place right after this event which Scott 'Sco' McMillan take down the event for the trophy and €5,000!
Jordy 'MojoOnPC' Janssens took second for €3,000, while Kevin 'Papaplatte' Teller took third for €2,000 in a very eventful sit and go that was broadcast live on Twitch last night.
Yesterday also saw the conclusion of Day 1 of the Deepstack Open which is twinned with Unibet Open here in Malta for the very first time. A live stream of Day 2 of this event will be broadcast live on Twitch from 4pm.
My focus today however will be on the main event. Let me know if there's anyone you'd like me to keep an eye by finding me in the press area or sending me a message. Best of luck to everyone playing!
Notable names jump into the action
There are plenty of notables playing Day 1A today including Unibet Poker ambassadors Espen Jorstad and Daiva Byrne. Daiva has just taken her seat whilst Espen has been playing since the start of play but hasn't had any major changes to his stack.
Speaking of stacks, players start with 30,000 chips with the first level being 50/100.
Midway through the first level and 82 players have registered so far, but that number is expected to exceed that by a fair stretch.
Other notable names today include Unibet Open London 2017 winner Gerret Van Lancker and Unibet Open Cannes 2015 Runner up Karl Stark.
Nice pot for Pacheux
In a battle of the Frenchmen, Erwann Pacheux got into a river betting war with Mohamed Kerkeni.
On a board of Q 4 5 2 T, Kerkeni led the river from the SB for 300 which was tiny compared to the pot size of around 5,500.
Pacheux raised on the button to 5,000, and Kerkeni snap re-raised to 11,300 which sent Pacheux into the tank, only for him to click back a raise to 17,600!
Kerkeni shook his head and said "Call!", only for Pacheux to show A K for the stone cold nuts.
Kerkeni unhappily turned over his J 5 as Pacheux scooped in the pot.
Kerkeni who has over $35,000 in live tournament earnings now has a short stack, while Pacheux has had the start he will have hoped for, sitting on a stack of around 55,000
Players are on their first break here in Malta and notable name stacks are as follows:
Gerret Van Lancker - 88,000
Andreas Thorsen - 78,000
Daiva Byrne (Unibet Poker ambassador) - 36,500
Phil Schonebaum (Unibet eSporter) - 30,000
Amko Hoogendijk (aka Maestro) - 27,000
Espen Jorstad (Unibet Poker ambassador) - 23,000
Dehlia De Jong - 12,000
Play will continue in just under ten minutes.
We are midway through level three here in Malta with the blinds at 150/300 with a 25 ante.
96 players have registered and with only two bust outs so far, it seems like a fairly tentative start here at Casino Malta.
Those two bust outs have come in the form of Wim Van Munster and just recently Mohamed Kerkeni, who was coolered in a flush over flush situation earlier.
Unibet eSporter Sophia 'Djarii' White has recently entered the picture, but is already down to 25,000 from her 30,000 starting stack.
Six players have been knocked out so far here on Day 1A.
The tournament clock and information on display here in the tournament area has been adjusted to account for those who haven't taken their seats yet, making there 76/82 remaining.
Johannes Park, Soeren Voehrs, Timo Hirvola and Niko Koop join Wim van Munster and Mohamed Kerkeni on the rail.
Current level is 200/400, as we approach the next break in around 10 minutes.
Djarii doubles through Stark
Unibet eSporter Sophia 'Djarii' White has just doubled up through Unibet Open Cannes 2015 runner up Karl Stark.
Catching the action by the river, a board of K J 4 9 6 was showing with Djarii's K J on display as Stark counted out the chips to pay Djarii as his hand was already mucked.
Sophia said he had Ax Kx, but his top pair top kicker was no match for Djarii's flopped two pair.
With that hand, Djarii moves up to 60,000, while Stark loses around half his stack and is down to around 25,000.
Notable name stack updates coming shortly.
We lose Daiva!
We have our first Unibet ambassador casualty in the main event here in Malta.
Daiva Byrne has been eliminated after losing a flip for her tournament life.
After min-raising pre off of 25bbs at bb 600 in the CO, she faced a 3-bet from Unibet eSporter Phil Schonebaum on the button to 3,000.
Daiva 4-bet shoved with Tx Tx for Phil to call with Ax Qx. A queen high flop was enough to send Daiva to the rail.
Notable name stack updates
Gerret Van Lancker - 85,000
Djarii (Unibet eSporter) - 75,000
Karl Stark - 48,000
Phil Schonebaum (Unibet eSporter) - 30,000
Martin Soukup - 27,000
Anko Hoogendijk (aka Maestro) - 26,000
@triceraatopp - 24,000
Espen Jorstad (Unibet Poker ambassador)- 21,000