While the field was not as large on Saturday for the 2021 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event, it still made its impact. The runners who came to the line brought the total number of players right to the cusp of the record for the largest WSOP-E Main Event in history. That record will more than likely be broken on Sunday, as late registration will go on for the first five levels of action on Day 2.

 581 Players Just Shy of All-Time Mark

Throughout the action on Saturday, the eyes in the King’s Casino were watching the tournament clock – and, in particular, the player numbers – just as closely as they were watching their opponents on the felt. By the time that the final numbers came in for Saturday’s Day 1B festivities, 147 players had stepped up with their €10,000 for entry. With just the two-Day Ones alone, the €5 million guarantee was exceeded, but the best is yet to come.

The 581-player field isn’t set in stone yet. Late registration will run into Day 2 for the first five levels of action. The next signpost on the road is the record for the WSOP-E Main Event, which was set in 2011 when the WSOP-E was contested at the Majestic Barriere Cannes and the LeCroisette Casino Barriere in Cannes, France. 593 players came out for that tournament, meaning that the 2021 version of the WSOP-E Main Event only needs another dozen players to tie the record – something that should be quite easy to do within the first five levels of action on Sunday.

Moncef Karoui Seizes Day 1B Lead, Daniel Rezaei Still Holds Overall Lead

For the 147 combatants on Saturday, it was more about survival than making any bold moves. Still, there were some players who were able to build up some highly impressive stacks without the benefit of a large field of chips to collect.

One player who might be dangerous if he is able to collect some more chips is Lithuanian pro Matas Cimbolas. In the final level of the night, Cimbolas decided to either double up or go home. On a flop and turn of J-5-2-2, Cimbolas pushed all his chips to the center and, after Claudio Di Giacomo made the call, the 146,500-chip pot was going to be of huge benefit to one gentleman at the detriment to the other. It all depended on what cards were turned up.

Cimbolas had chosen a great moment to strike. His pocket Queens were way out in front of Di Giacomo’s pocket sevens, leaving only two outs in the deck. When a King fell on the river, Cimbolas had doubled up his stack and was in a very viable position heading to Sunday’s action; Di Giacomo, however, dropped to 20K in chips and departed the tournament soon afterwards.

The Saturday action belonged to Moncef Karoui, however. Many of those chips came in a battle with Pablo Theobald in a hand where Karoui picked off a bluff. On a K-J-2-K-6 board, Karoui has put out 19,500 in chips only to see Theobald power in a 50K bet. Karoui took several moments to reconstruct the hand before finally making the correct call. He turned up a Q-J for two pair, Kings up, while Theobald had only a busted flush for the fight.

That hand pushed Karoui up to 487,000 in chips and the lead, a position he would not relinquish for the remainder of the Day 1B action: 

1. Moncef Karoui, 553,300
2. Cedric Schwaederie, 407,200
3. Luuk Gieles, 368,500
4. Rytis Taujanskas, 313,000
5. Piyar Doganay, 311,100
6. Nebojsa Ankucic, 310,800
7. Ran Shahar, 277,300
8. Felix Trau, 274,300
9. Kacper Swiderski, 262,700
10. Tayfun Oziu, 261,000

Combined with the Day 1A leaderboard, we have a highly unofficial leaderboard that looks like this:

1. Daniel Rezaei, 617,500*
2. Moncef Karoui, 553,300
3. Ole Schemion, 540,000*
4. Ian Bradley, 492,600*
5. Edmond Jahjaga, 474,300*
6. Dario Quattrucci, 443,600*
7. Jovan Kenjic, 432,100*
8. Enrico Campanile, 409,100*
9. Cedric Schwaederie, 407,200
10. David Kaesler, 389,300*

(* – Day 1A Player)

99 players made it through the Day 1B action. Along with the 277 that made it through the carnage of Day 1A, the 384 players left will all come together for the first time on Sunday morning at 10AM (4AM East Coast time). The remaining players still do not know what is up for grabs as the late registration period continues on for the first five levels of action on Sunday. It will not be until late Sunday afternoon, Rozvadov time, that the final totals will be in for the 2021 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event.

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