After two Day Ones that brought the numbers close to the record, Sunday’s Day 2 action at the 2021 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event shattered the record. More than 600 entries were received in the event, which will head off to Day 3 on Monday with Germany’s Christian Stratmeyer at the helm of the ship. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, however, as the defending champion of the event, 2019 victor Alexandros Kolonias, lurks back in the pack looking to hold on to his championship belt.

688 Total Entries Create More Than €6.5 Million Prize Pool

It might be hard to think of it now, but officials with the King’s Casino and the WSOP were originally concerned about the player numbers for the 2021 WSOP-E Main Event. A €5 million prize pool was guaranteed for the tournament and the players certainly responded. The €10,000 buy-in tournament was assisted by an optional rebuy for players, but it is conceivable that the record would not have been tested without the rebuy offered.

At the end of the fifth level of action on Sunday, the numbers were totaled up. 688 entries had come to the King’s Casino to attempt to become the next champion of the WSOP-E, creating a prize pool of €6.536 million. 104 players will split up that prize pool, with the minimum payout for the lower end finishers a tidy €16,500. The eventual champion of the 2021 WSOP-E Main Event will take home the princely sum of €1,276,712.

The 688 entries entirely crushed the previous record holder, the 2011 event held in Cannes, France. In the 2011 tournament, 593 players came for the action, with the eventual champion Elio Fox taking down what will remain the largest prize in WSOP-E Main Event history, €1.4 million. It is also arguable that, without the rebuy option available, that the 2021 tournament would not have eclipsed the record – but that is for the historians to figure out!

Stratmeyer Uses Massive Double to Catapult into Lead

Stratmeyer was very nearly out of the tournament before a massive hand saw him thrust into the lead. Going against Vlad Darie, the board read J-7-4-9-9 and Stratmeyer checked his option over to Darie. Darie would push out a 263K bet, leaving a sole 5000 chip in the rear, for what reason is unknown. Was it a bluff? Did Darie have the goods? Calling would mean Stratmeyer would be out of the tournament, so he considered his options carefully.

After the deliberations in his own head, Stratmeyer made the call, and it was the correct one. He turned up J-10 for two pair, Jacks up, and a missed straight draw. Darie only had a Q-10 in his hole cards for a complete air bluff that sealed his fate. As Stratmeyer stacked the 1.2 million pot, Darie would earn a triple up before shipping those chips off to Adnan Toric and exiting the tournament.

Stratmeyer would ride that 1.2 million chip wave to the close of the action on Sunday night, adding some more bulk to his stack before the bell rang to close the action:

1. Christian Stratmeyer (Germany), 1.354 million
2. Boris Kuzmanovic (Croatia), 1.223 million
3. Jovan Kenjic (Serbia), 1.175 million
4. Luuk Gieles (Netherlands), 1.139 million
5. Robert Sampat (Netherlands), 1.1 million
6. Ian Bradley (United Kingdom), 1.092 million
7. Wiktor Smolka (Poland), 1.017 million
8. Jan-Peter Jachtmann (Germany), 970,000
9. Alexander Tkatschew (Austria), 926,000
10. David Kaesler (Germany), 914,000

Other notable pros who have some substance to their stacks include Vojtech Ruzicka (727,000), Ole Schemion (613,000), and one of the victors of the 2020 World Series of Poker Championship Event – not Damian Salas, who won the “hybrid” event in December 2020, but the man who won the online event during the summer, Stoyan Madanzhiev (471,000).

There is still a great deal of work to do on Day 3 on Monday. The 153 remaining players will have to be whittled down to the 104 that will receive a new flag on their Hendon Mob resume and a piece of the 2021 WSOP-E Main Event prize pool. Plans are for the final table to be played out on Wednesday and the next champion of the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event will be crowned.

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