The PartyPoker Premier League VI is done and dusted and it’s on to the next stop on an increasingly figure hugging poker schedule. The World Poker Tour (WPT) has shipped its impressive range of artillery onto every Gondola it can find as it drops anchor in the beautiful city of Venice.
The Venice Grand Prix is a five-day €3,000+€300 buy-in that is in it’s fourth season since first joining the schedule back in Season XIII. In those prevailing years the WPT have held five actual tournaments with two stops in Season X, and for the most part it has been the tournament where players rise from relative obscurity to take the plaudits; barrow full of cash and a place in the WPT Champions Club.
Day 1A didn’t attract the sort of numbers that the WPT is accustomed too with only 65-players fighting through the snow, wind and rain to find a seat in the oldest casino in the world: Casino de Venezia. But the fields for Day 1B always carry more weight, and it is felt that the field will grow in excess of 200-players before the tills close down for good.
Amongst the most well known faces in the crowd included WPT Ambassador and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton. The legend of the game pitting his wits against much younger brains, proving that there is no substitute for experience; Sexton finishing the day with 99,900 chips to put him third in the leader board when the cards stopped flying.
The first man to reach the century was Marvin Rettenmaier. The Global Poker Index (GPI) world number one is the world number one because he is not only playing well, but he is running very well also. He became the first player to reach the milestone of 100,000 chips after flopping the nuts on a board of [Qh] [Th] [3h] whilst holding [Ah] [9h] in a single raised pot. At that time Anssi Mustonen was seated to his direct left and was by far one of the best players at the table, sitting behind a chip stack that only the German’s dwarfed. Typical then that he should look down and see [Kh] [5h] for the second nuts and after a little bit of argy-bargy he was looking for people to stop him from heading face first into the Grand Canal. Rettenmaier would go on to finish a comfortable second with 129,600 chips.
The eventual chip leader came from across the much bigger pond. Stephen Behm is on his own mini-heater, albeit the start of one, after recording his first-ever live tournament cash in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars event in San Jose just a few weeks ago. He bubbled the final table, but his $124,460 seventh place finish allowed him to take a shot at a European WPT title and so far that plan is working out just fine.
Behm got his money in on a [7c] [5h] [3c] [Jd] board in the final three hands of the day. He was holding [Ac] [6c] for the draw, but he was behind in the hand as Dorin Rauta was holding [Kc] [Jc] for top pair. Behm needed lady luck to shine and shine she did. The [As] popping its head out of the deck to send Rauta homeward bound and Behm to the top of the chip lead with 188,000 chips, or as he later wrote on his bag.
“I have a lot of chips.”