(Way Outside) the Epic Poker League: Main Event Day 1

WSOP bracelet winners Katchalov, Lamb and Rast 1-2-3 in chips

by , Aug 10, 2011 | 7:35 am

The highly anticipated debut of the Epic Poker League held their first $20,000 Main Event Tuesday afternoon at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. The first day of the “rake-free” tournament ($400 of each buy-in went to the dealers) with $400,000 added ended with three of the hottest players in poker, Eugene Katchalov, Ben Lamb and Brian Rast the top three in chips.

The first EPL event featured plenty of notable names absent as Daniel Negreanu, most of Team Full Tilt, and Doyle Brunson deciding not to participate. Card-holding members need to enter at least one Main Event, Pro/Am and charity event each season to maintain their card.

In a radio interview last week, Phil Hellmuth wasn’t sure if he’d play in the first event. After making his “announcement” on Twitter Monday, he made his traditional late appearance, but was eliminated shortly after the dinner break.

The EPL will hold tournaments in a variety of no-limit hold’em formats, with the inaugural event played six-handed. Registration closed at the start of level 5, nearly 8 hours after play started. The tournament clock showed 137 players entered to create a $3,085,200 prize pool. The winner at the conclusion of play Friday will earn as the top 18 places make the money. The top 27 EPL money earners return February for the $1,000,000 League Championship freeroll.

Jason Mercier and Sean Getzwiller (a Pro/Am qualifier) are the other bracelet winners from this year’s WSOP among the 63 players returning Wednesday afternoon at 12pm PST to play another six levels.

Top ten chip counts:

    Eugene Katchalov – 356,300
    Ben Lamb – 287,200
    Brian Rast – 260,500
    Antonio Esfandiari – 248,100
    Noah Schwartz – 220,200
    McLean Karr – 191,800
    Hoyt Corkins – 187,400
    Isaac Baron – 167,700
    Dan O’Brien – 163,300
    Erik Seidel – 161,200

The full list of chip counts along with live updates, table draws, videos and more can be found at www.epicpoker.com

Pre-M.E. Festivities

Before the Main Event, the EPL kicked off over the weekend with The $1,500 Pro/Am tournament, offering nine Main Event seats, drew a combined field of 190 entrants as the final table was filmed for the Heartland Poker Tour. Steve O’Dwyer was the winner, earning $23,810 plus his EPL Main Event Seat. The only EPL-eligible player to snag a seat on the cheap was Andy Bloch, eventually finishing 3rd. Michael Craig recaps the final table.

While the Pro/Am final table was in action, 81 players put up $240 (plus a ton of $100 rebuys and add-ons) to raise over $50,000 for Operation USA, with the money earmarked for the victims of tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri. Plenty of goodies were given to all players with Zappos contributing $2,500 to the winner. Reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year Andy Frankenberger won the title, donating the winnings to the charity.


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