As expected on Saturday, Day 1C of the €1000 No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack at the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe was the largest of the three-Day Ones. After the day’s action, a new overall leader for the tournament was crowned as Day Two looms on the horizon.
How big was Saturday’s field? The players were flocking to the felt for the very start of the day’s play, something that is usually unheard of in a tournament. 127 players were already on their respective tables with their 20,000 in chips. By the end of the first level of fourteen for the day, the field jumped up to 183 and showed little signs of slowing down.
Among those taking their patch of felt were players who had previously been entered in the tournament. According to the rules of the Monster Stack, players could re-enter the tournament if they busted out of Days 1A and/or 1B. Players such as Kunal Patni, Kenny Hallaert, Aylar Lie, Alex Foxen, Kristen Bicknell and Thomas Pettersson made the maximum donation to the prize pool (€3000) and were looking for a cash to offset the early expenditure at the WSOP-E.
The Monster Stack had a guarantee on it (€500,000), so King’s Casino and WSOP-E officials were pleased when that was cracked just after Level 4 began. The 261 entries that were on the Day 1C clock brought the total number up to 516 total entries and, with another four levels of late registration available, there was a nice prize pool being built for the first event of the 2017 WSOP-E.
By the time the late registration period had ended and Level 9 began after dinner, there were 306 players registered for Day 1C. That brought the total to 561 entries for the three-Day Ones, building a prize pool of €538,280 for the top 85 finishers to divvy up. The first-place payday will award the first bracelet of the 2017 WSOP-E and give that fortunate champion a €117,708 payday.
As the tournament drove into the Czech evening, the body count of players who had been sent to the rail began to rise. Kenny Hallaert, John Racener, Erik Cajelais, Brandon Cantu, Phil Hellmuth, Felipe Ramos and Bicknell were all out soon after the dinner break. For a select few, however, they would rewrite the overall leaderboard.
One player in particular was on the move throughout the day, but in the final level of the night he kicked in the afterburners. Sander van Wesemael was sitting on an impressive stack of 137K in chips when Level 14 began, but a battle he started with Veysel Kortan completely changed his fortunes.
The leader heading into the final level of the day, Kortan decided that he wanted to get fancy and began blind raising every hand. After one Kortan blind raise, van Wesemael decided to stand up and three-bet the action, which Kortan called. An A♠ Q♠ 8♠ monochrome flop brought a check-raise out of Kortan, taking van Wesemael’s 10K bet up to 28K, which was called by van Wesemael. Kortan kept the pressure on a nine on the turn and, on a King river to put plenty of possibilities on board, Kortan would move all in.
Now it was time for van Wesemael to think about the hand for a bit and, although the clock was called, he made his decision before a floorman could get to the table for the count. Van Wesemael called to put his tournament life at stake and it was the right move as his A♦ Q♦ was good over Kortan’s sheepishly turned up 7-3 air to shoot van Wesemael to 300,000 in chips. Soon afterwards, Kortan was out of the door instead of heading to Day 2.
With the conclusion of Day 1C, van Wesemael will become the overall leader of the tournament. In fact, the top five from Day 1C make up half the Top Ten overall leaderboard:
1. Sander van Wesemael, 323,500
2. Valentin Vornicu, 296,500
3. Ismael Bojang, 268,500*
4. Sergio Fernandez, 267,000**
5. Jeff Cormier, 265,000*
6. Giovanni Petroni, 239,000
7. Micky Blasi, 213,000*
8. Ryan Hefter, 208,000***
9. Scott Stewart, 207,500
10. Tobias Bornefalk, 207,000