Day 1a of the MPN Poker Tour London’s £480 Main Event saw entries soar to the highest seen for a first flight so far on the tour at Aspers Casino, Stratford. A total of 188 entrants came to compete in the fifth anniversary leg of the MPNPT, which hosted its very first poker event here back in 2014.

Dmitrijs Golovanovs Leads After MPNPT’s Fifth Birthday Attracts Record Day 1a Field in London.

That inaugural Main Event saw Bulgarian Antoan Katsarov top a field of 84 to win £9,645; while the international – and friendly – nature of the tournament has remained unchanged, the numbers in 2019 are very different. The £200,000 poker prize pool guarantee is on track to be smashed by the time registration closes at the start of Day 2.

Chip leader at the end of play was Dmitrijs Golovanovs on 274,000. Hot on his heels, though, are Mohammed Sohel on 254,000, Nicholas Tratton on 243,000, and Nikolas Ponomarev on 230,500. A total of 52 players survived the Day 1a field to progress to Saturday’s Day 2.

As Day 1a relentlessly swelled, the evening’s Main Event Mega Satellite – guaranteeing 10 seats – did the same, eventually awarding 22 tickets into either today’s Day 1b (13:00) or Turbo Day 1c (19:00). Those not intent on either tournament last night were treated to a colorful Players Party hosted in the Sky Bar at Aspers Casino, featuring a cake to celebrate the tour turning five, a piñata, balloon magic and the level that MPNPT players have come to expect.

With such a turnout for the first flight, the stage is set for one of the largest overall Main Event fields in the history of the tour. Joining the fray today, and fighting their own last-longer battles, are two groups of players looking to bag more than a share of the prize pool’s riches. Four players won a last-longer to get here in the first place: the All Roads Lead to London winners are now in contention for two €1,500 packages to MPNPT @ Battle of Malta, 17-22 October 2019. Another package will go to one of five Birthday Boys, who entertained their way into MPNPT London with prizewinning short videos; one will take down back-to-back packages after outlasting their four opponents in the Main Event.

The side event that kicked off the London poker festivities, the £1,100 MPNPT London High Roller, was won by Richard Kellett, who saw off the last of the 69-entry field to take home £21,300 just in time to head to the Players Party.

Live coverage resumes on the MPN Poker Tour Blog from 13:00; live streaming begins on Saturday (Day 2) at 13:30 with the ultimate commentary duo of Jesse May and Padraig Parkinson in the booth.

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