By Jeremy Coleman

PartyPoker.com’s remaining 14 players were in the spotlight on Day 1B, aiming to join Swedes Daniel Haglund and Erik Backlund who had made it through from the opening day’s play.

Our 14 were part of 182 players who sat down on Day 1B, making a total of 262 competitors for the event and generating a prize pool of $635,000 – less than expected but still a significant amount. More importantly, the players knew they had to place in the top 27 to get paid, with first prize earning an impressive $185,000.

The day did not start smoothly. Last-minute arrival Michael Kwiatkowski from Germany only arrived in Manila at 10am and with play starting at midday he was a little shell shocked after such a long flight and no time to relax. Unfortunately, he only lasted about two hours before busting out. However, he was still smiling and was last seen heading to the cash tables.

Looking around the tournament room there were some interesting tables. Arnold Meirik was sat next to David ‘Chino’ Reem, obviously delighted to be sat next to one of his poker heroes. Irishman John O’Shea was on the same table as last year’s winner David Saab, vocal as ever. John is not shy to speak out at the table either and was certainly giving as good as he got. One female player told me she felt like she was in the middle of a war zone.

The pace was frenetic with players hitting the rail with alarming speed. Alberto Kanaan, our local qualifier from the Philippines, had his tournament cut short after about three hours while Bjoern Weisler from Germany and Mikka Puumalanen from Finland did not last much longer. Such was the excellent team spirit among Team PartyPoker.com that when the guys were busting out they immediately became supporters and watched their colleagues who were still in.

With so many players, it was hard to keep up with some of the big hands. Tim Kaufman from Germany was a player who was not afraid to get involved in big pots, and was winning more than he was losing: at one point his stack was down to only 6,000 chips but he soon got that back up to more than 40,000 with some clever and aggressive play.

Quiet and brooding Peter Sevastopoulos from Australia went out when on the small blind he looked down at pocket queens. A player in early position made a small raise to 1,200 chips and the action folded to Peter who re-raised to 4,700. The original raiser pushed all in and Peter quickly called and showed his queens. The raiser flipped over A-10 off suit and we had a race. The flop came down A-A-9 and Peter was suddenly in a lot of trouble as his opponent flopped a set of aces. The turn brought a 9 and full house leaving Peter drawing dead. As a big tennis fan I think he went straight back to his room to catch with the Australian Open.

Russian Fedor Matviv and his friend were determined to make the most of their time in the Philippines, arriving at the tournament room this morning with major sunburn after having spent the past two days on a beach on Cebu island. I felt sore just looking at Fedor and he did not look comfortable in his chair. Credit to him, though, as he managed to spend the entire day hovering around the average chip amount.

Recent Irish Poker Championship winner Rory Rees Brennan may have been a little late getting to the tournament this morning but he soon got into the swing of things. Rory, who plays mostly hi stakes Pot Limit Omaha online, is in good tournament form but got tangled up in a nasty hand that wiped him out. Still, he had the Pot Limit Omaha side event to look forward to and I reckon he should do well in that.

Eva Lang, our only female player this week, always seemed to be shaking her head whenever I walked past her table. Spying her lack of chips I could see the reason; Eva never had a playable hand for almost two hours and found herself struggling for survival all afternoon. She may not have lasted very long in this main event but Eva has been a great character and had a lot of fun this week.

Two players who managed to build up impressive looking chip stacks were Andrew Teng from England and Dominik Renner from Germany. With only 45 minutes to go until play stopped for the day, I was praying both would survive but sadly both will not need an alarm call for Day 2, both of them hitting the rail trying to build their stacks.

Throughout the day there was a buzz going around the room as talk spread of a $100,000 tournament challenge. Team Korea would be taking on Team Japan; five players on each side with the winning team splitting the cash. The action was scheduled to start at midnight and should be a loud affair as these guys love to play loose aggressive poker and take plenty of risks.

With Day 1B at close, we now know 69 players will contest Day 2. PartyPoker.com has five players who will be involved with John O’Shea the highest placed of our group with 70,800 chips.

Before Day 2 starts, here are some of the highlights of the chip count:
1st Steve Yea (Korea) 122,700
4th David Saab (Australia) 84,800
8th Nam Le (USA) 75,800
9th John O’Shea (Ireland) 70,800*
15th David “Chino” Reem (USA) 55,400
23rd Liz Lieu (USA) 44,300
27th Tim Kaufman (Germany) 40,200*
50th Erik Backlund (Sweden) 21,200*
60th Daniel Haglund (Sweden)  13,300*
64th Fedor Matviv (Russia) 11,300*

* Indicates PartyPoker.com player

Catch you for more updates soon.

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