After eight-hours and nine minutes of play, day 1a of the €7,500 World Poker Tour (WPT) Grand Prix de Paris ended with half of the starting day field bagging up their chips. The day started with 140 players and 70 of them will spend the day relaxing before returning to this prestigious venue for day two on Wednesday.

The man who has a slender chip lead at the top is Mikko Sundell. Sundell following in the footsteps of fellow countrymen Jani Sointula and Sami Kelopuro who have both had some impressive recent results in live major European events, proving that Finnish poker is on the up and up. So far in 2011, Sundell, who bagged and tagged 203,800 chips, has two five-figure cashes to his name. Literally hanging on to the coat tails of Sundell is the PartyPoker qualifier Yann Dion. Dion once again proving how fruitful it is to play online to qualify for the live events, as he bagged up an impressive 201,400 chips.

The day started off with two of the worlds greatest live tournament pros being eliminated in the first few levels showing just how difficult it is to navigate through the choppy waters of a WPT event. We believe former November Niner James Akenhead may have actually been the first casualty of the day and, in fact, he was in and out so quick we didn’t even see him. Next to follow Akenhead out of the door was former EPT and WPT winner Roberto Romanello who literally had steam coming out of his ears after having the clock put on him after one minute in the tank, after his nut Broadway straight was beaten by an obvious full-house on the river.

The early chip leader was French Olympic Boxer Brahim Asloum proving that poker attracts professionals from all over the world of sport. But then Sundell started to make his impression on the field and despite momentary top spot appearances from Mad Marvin Rettenmaier and high stakes pro Jean Noel Thorel, Sundell never really left the top three spots; and in a huge hand against Arnaud Mattern confirmed his title as the number one man of the day.

With a raise of 1,800 standing before him, Mikko Sundell called before Arnaud Mattern three-bet to 6,250 from the small blind. Sundell made the call after the initial raiser folded, and both players stared at a flop of . Mattern liked it and fired out a bet of 12,650. Sundell also liked it and moved all-in for 70,000 and Mattern snap-called. When the hands were turned over Mattern had the shock of his life.

Mattern:
Sundell:

Sundell’s hand held up to propel him to the top of the pile and Mattern was walking around in the crisp Paris air minutes later.

You can read the full story of today’s play on our live updates section here. The full story in pictures can be found in our gallery here.

Please ensure you are back right here for all of the action from day 1b which we believe will be even bigger and better than today.

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