By Simon Young
As the PartyPoker Million VI cruise sails overnight towards Greece, a group of players with healthy chip stacks will sleep easily in their beds. Although the official chips counts are not yet in, it looks like Icelandic Ludvik Lidviksson is our Day One chip leader with 45,000, well up from the 10,000 starting point.
Big stack: Ludvik Lidviksson
We had five one-hour levels today. During that time, as we eased from the Adriatic into the Ionion Sea, we lost 48 players from the 171 who started. To save you the maths, that means 123 will return tomorrow for Day Two.
That high mortality rate confirms there are plenty of healthy stacks out there. Among those I spotted at the end of play were Sweden’s Samir Shakhtoor on 37,750, Germany’s Thomas Bihl – who won last year’s WSOP Europe £2,500 HORSE event, – on 35,000, France’s Paul Testud on 30,000 and early pace setter Jonathan Dsouza, from Canada, on 28,000.
Solid start: Thomas Bihl
Mike “Timex” McDonald spent the early levels bouncing around his starting point, but picked up key points late on to finish up with 25,000 – he’ll be one to watch tomorrow.
Not many ladies have found their way to the PartyPoker Million VI tables. One, Elissa Ihlenfeld, was unlucky to depart when her A-Q ran up against K-Q on a board showing two queens – and a king.
Players have made it to the cruise from all corners of the globe. There are representatives from Australia, South Africa, Canada and all over Europe.
Then there is a contingent who flew in from Brazil. Christian Kruel is the playing member of the trio, supported by former Rio high school friends Carlos Cerqueira and Henrique Bello. Carlos said: “We’ve been working together since watching Rounders in 2001. Christian plays, I make sure he is in the right shape, and Henrique looks after the finances.
“We make a good team, Christian is doing well and we believe one day he will win a bracelet.”
Christian, a former backgammon champion in Brazil, finished 8th in the PartyPoker Million in 2005, but although he is still in tonight, he has only 7,000 or so chips after finding himself on a tough table. Doing better is Finland’s Mika Paasonen, sitting on 23,000. But he strongly believes he could easily have been out – pre-flop, he folded pocket queens face-up to what he was convinced was one of the Big Two: kings or aces.
A regional oddity – the clocks have gone forward an hour tonight, so it’s one hour less sleep for the remaining players before we reconvene at 2.30pm local time tomorrow for day two. Come back then for the latest action from the tables, and when the MSC Poesia, our magnificent nautical base, turns towards Turkey for stops in Izmir and then Istanbul.