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2013 bwin WPT Merit Cyprus Classic Day 1b: Bernard Samaha Grabs Overall Lead

Posted at 20:30 2013-08-18 by Chris Hall

Day 1b of the 2013 bwin World Poker Tour Merit Cyprus Classic saw another 125 players turn up for the second of the two starting days in the hope of getting through to Day 2. There were numerous re-entries and the level of aggression seemed to have been ramped up by several degrees when compared to Day 1a. There were big battles and plenty of bluffs, with more people than ever willing to risk all their chips with marginal hands in the hopes of gambling up a stack.

At the end of the 10th level, just 46 players remained. Leading the way was Bernard Samaha, and he'll be the overall leader going into Day 2, amassing a huge stack 293,700 in chips. Samaha triumphs on Day 1b included flopping a boat towards the end of the day and getting paid in full.

Albert Daher finished second with 234,000. The youngster was not content with just playing live and was also grinding online tournaments at the same time for a period. Other big stacks to make it through included Asaf Avci who finished with 200,200 and Dutchman Tobias Peters who will return with 195,800.

Elsewhere, it was not a good day for the big names. Last year's champion, Marvin Rettenmaier, who busted right at the end of Day 1a, re-entered just before the dinner break on Day 1b, but was eliminated when his {J-Diamonds}{J-Hearts} was overtaken by Atahan Gukurova's {A-Spades}{J-Spades} after the latter turned a flush. All of the chips went in preflop.

In fact, it seemed that many of the players who chose to take a second shot at the WPT title in Cyprus were not having any luck. Former World Series of Poker November Niner Kelly Kim took a brutal beat, while Dominik Nitsche flopped top pair only to lose out to a player who chased a flush draw. Others to suffer the similar fate of elimination included Mateusz Moolhuizen, who flopped a set only for his opponent to turn a better set, and Martin Kabrhel, who was crippled early and couldn't recover when he flopped two pair only to be counterfeited.

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Those who did make it through included Kara Scott, who grinded through a tough day where she had to rebuild her stack several times. She finished with 43,100. Russian pro Sergey Rybachenko fell in the very last hand yesterday to end-of-day chip leader Alexey Rybin, but he managed to survive on Day 1b with 79,400. “I'm happy,” said the Russian, “Usually in Cyprus I lose with something like aces versus kings!” Natalya Nikitina, WPT Regional winner in Paris, also managed the Day 1 hurdle. She finished with 88,000 in chips, which is just above average coming back for Sunday's Day 2.

There were a few surprising no-shows. We expected Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi to take a second shot in the event after his Day 1a elimination, but he didn't show. Also Daniel "Jungleman" Cates was expected to be in action. He had been in Cyprus for the PartyPoker Big Game VII, but ended up not playing the event at all.

Speaking of the PartyPoker Big Game, PokerNews' own Laura Cornelius as able to grab a few quick tidbits from Scott about the game, and you can see that in the video below:

With the closing of registration on Day 1b, the prize pool was announced and it will be $250,000 for first place (including a seat at the WPT Championship at the Bellagio in May). The top 27 places will be paid, with $7,780 for a min-cash.

On Sunday, the tournament will recommence at 2 p.m. local time instead with just over 100 players returning. This start time is slightly delayed because of the legendary WPT Cyprus party that's going down on Saturday night. The party began around 9 p.m. and isn't expected to be finished until about 6 a.m. You'll be able to catch video of the party and all of the fun you missed right here on PokerNews on Sunday, so be sure to look out for that.

Unlike those partying away in beautiful Cyprus, the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be getting some much-needed rest in order to be back on the floor for Day 2. We hope you'll join us to follow along then.

Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.

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