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WSOP 2010

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Andrew Pantling the London Chip Leader

The 2010 edition of WSOP Europe blasted off in spectacular fashion today, with the first tournament commencing as a total sell out.

The £2,500 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event attracted 244 entries. This is the first time a Six-Handed tournament has been played at WSOP Europe. This tournament is the first of five gold bracelets events which are scheduled this year at WSOP Europe, currently taking place through September 28th at Casino at the Empire in London.

All tournament tables were filled to capacity, spread across two floors at the Empire. The huge turnout required the implementation of an alternate system to fill empty seats as players were gradually eliminated. By the middle of the second level (about 80 minutes into the tournament) all players had been seated and were in action.

Remarkably, the tournament began just a few minutes after the scheduled noon start, despite an overflowing casino jammed with poker players. By 12:15, all that could be heard was the rumbling sound of poker chips being rattled and stacked. Some 12 hours later, those same sounds were a bit muffled as more than 80 percent of the field had been eliminated.

The end of Day One chip leader is Andrew Pantling, from Ontario, Canada. He seized the lead late in the day, which lasted 12 hours. Pantling's biggest claim to tournament fame to date was a victory at the European Poker Tour (WPT) Grand Final in Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em, held last May. However, he has yet to cash in a WSOP event. Pantling appears well on his way not only towards achieving his first in-the-money finish, but he could go on to make his first WSOP final table.

Other notable names still alive in Event #1 include -- Chris Bjorin, John Tabatabai, Phil "Unibomber" Laak, Jeffrey Lisandro, Praz Bansi, Liv Boeree, Andrew Lichtenberger, and Willie Tann.

When Day Two begins on Wednesday at 2 pm, only 31 players will remain in contention for a WSOP gold bracelet. Play will go down to the final six players, which will comprise the first final table at this year's WSOP Europe. The final table will take place in Thursday.

Today’s tournament began with a short pre-game ceremony. WSOP executive Ty Stewart kicked things off by introducing WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel, who has overseen operations during all four years of the London series. Effel welcomed the crowd and added that he expects this year’s turnout to be the biggest ever. Based on the initial turnout, Effel’s enthusiasm appears justified.

Bigger events are yet to come. The upcoming £1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament starting this Friday is projected by many to be the biggest WSOP Europe tournament in history. Excitement is so strong that three starting days will be required to accommodate the huge field that is expected.

This is the largest WSOP Europe series ever held in London. In 2007, there were three gold bracelet events. In both 2008 and 2009, four gold bracelet events were played. This year’s schedule includes five gold bracelet events.

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