Day 1B of the World Poker Tour (WPT), Bratislava, has all been about the Usual Suspects. The Golden Vegas Casino has bubbled with suspense, mystery and action for the past eight hours. Anyone who has watched the movie The Usual Suspects will remember the key question: Who is Keyser Soze? Well, when it comes to the chip leader from Day 1b, there is no need for such a question – I mean everyone knows whom Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier is?
One man synonymous with the WPT is Mike Sexton. It was good to see him step out from behind the booth to once again don his playing shirt and rub shoulders with the very best; and why not? After all Sexton was fresh off a final table appearance at the recent WPT Shooting Stars event over in the States. Unfortunately, for Sexton his luck was nowhere to be found today, and he was eliminated early, after his opponent came from behind to find runner-runner hearts to hit an improbably flush and beat the two pair of the Poker Hall of Famer.
A late arrival on Day 1b was James Akenhead. Martin Jacobson must have hoped the man had never turned, up after losing a significant pot to the Londoner not long after he sat down. Then in the very next hand Akenhead found a pair of aces, at the same time his opponent found pocket kings, and before you knew it Akenhead was ElkY’s main challenger.
Another major threat to Elky’s dominance and the tournament as a whole was Canadian whiz kid Alex Wice. Wice is one of the fastest poker players around and he soon built up an impressive stack. Then he was moved to the chip leaders table and as fast as he had gained them – he lost them – when his met Elky’s on a board of . Wice left to stare at the stars and ElkY’s stack started to reach out to the stars.
Martin Jacobson recovered well from the hand he lost to Akenhead and he started to slowly gather momentum. The other usual suspects towards the top of the leader board were Alessio Isaia, Pascal Lefrancois, and Akenhead himself. There was another, not so common name, at the top end of the chip counts and that belonged to Hiren “Sunny” Patel who played well battling with Jeff Sarwer and Tsubasa Manabe all day.
Then just as we were leaving the door at the end of level 8 Giovanni Rizzo got on the bottom end of a flopped straight and paid off Alexander Kuzmin who held the top end of the straight. Rizzo was down to ten big blinds and former WPT champion Kuzmin was right in contention. Interestingly, Frankenberger, Isaia and Kuzmin are all in contention for the Player of the Year race and will all return to do battle on Day 2; as will ElkY who led from start to finish and when he finally bagged up his chips there were 194,675 of them.
For a full commentary of Day1B live reports check out the live blog.
WPT Bratislava Day 1B picture gallery