The second flight at the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Grand Final played through nine levels on Sunday and left 167 players standing. Ole Kristian Nergard finished Day 1b with the most chips at 198,200 while Mattias Bergstrom and Team PokerStars Pro Ivan Demidov are nipping at his heels with 198,000 and 197,800 chips, respectively. Day 1a’s leader David Sonelin (275,900) remains at the head of the combined chip counts heading into Day 2.
In total, 686 competitors from 51 countries (the USA most heavily represented with 121 entrants) have taken to the felt over the last two days to attempt the supreme European five-day challenge — with the ultimate goal of reaching the final table and the €1.5 million top prize that is up for grabs at the Casino Gran Madrid.
This €10,000 buy-in Main Event has, as every year, featured a tough field, stocked with high rollers, previous champions from both sides of the Atlantic, and pros from the live and online arenas. Each table had an interesting lineup — World Series of Poker champion and Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem was rubbing shoulders with fellow Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren, Per Linde and Ben Vinson for much of the day while across the room, Dutch power pair Noah Boeken and Rob Hollink sat next to each other for nine full hours. Both Boeken and Hollink advanced to Day 2.
It took longer for Day 1b to produce breakaway big stacks; Nergard’s was one of the first, while Surinder Sunar made a late surge to end the day in sixth place with 179,200 — good for tenth place overall. Falling before the final bag-and-tag were Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Rousso, Viktor "Isildur1" Blom, Luca Pagano and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. The latter may not be too disappointed as the evening before he took down the High Roller Event and a cool €525,000!
After the dinner break (the return to summer weather heralding barbecue night) there were still two full tables worth of previous EPT champions left in the Day 1b field. One in particular found the dress code (already relaxed to accommodate the unique style of the poker player) too stiff to reclaim his stack when he returned — Roland de Wolfe took a while to convince the management that he had conformed to the "smart-casual" rules earlier and should be allowed back in to the (admittedly splendid) tournament area.
Former EPT champions who did not make it until the end of play (Salvatore Bonavena, Roberto Romanello, and Max Lykov to name but a few) have the Champion of Champions Event to look forward to at the end of the week, where for the first time, previous title winners will face off against each other, hoping to win the lion’s share of the €100,000 prize pool.
Top 10 Overall Chip Counts
|6||Ole Kristian Nergard||198,200|
|9||Jean Noel Thorel||180,300|
The Main Event, however, has announced its own total prize pool — a huge €6,860,000, paying 104 places a minimum of €15,000. Six 75-minute levels are planned for Day 2 on Monday, with the possibility of making the money dangling in front of the remaining competitors. Not many of them will flinch from aggressively chasing the big stack and the big score however, as between them they’ve won pretty much every accolade the poker world has to offer. Besides the chip leaders there will be reasonable stacks in front of Carter Phillips, Christer Johansson, Kenny Hallaert and Willam Reynolds, guaranteeing an interesting second day here in Madrid. Join PokerNews for live coverage beginning at 1200 CEST (0300 PDT).
The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be back on Monday for all the action as the EPT Grand Final plays on, so be sure to check back for all the updates, and as always, follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.