Pokerstars.net EPT London, Day 2: French Stars Carry the Day
Only a couple of hours after John Juanda took down the WSOP Europe Main Event at the Empire Casino in a marathon final-table battle, 158 competitors returned to action across the city at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour London Main Event. Among the top pros surviving from the two Day 1 flights were Vanessa Rousso, former EPT London champ Vicky Coren, former World Champion Scotty Nguyen, Barry Greenstein and Kathy Liebert. By the end of Day 2, only 32 players remained, as France's Philippe D'Auteuil finished the day atop the leader board. D'Auteuil was closely trailed by fellow Frenchmen Antony Lellouche and David Benyamine as action halted for the day.
Irish Open champion Neil "Bad Beat" Channing was an early casualty, finding himself crippled after running pocket tens into pocket kings. He busted a few hands later when his Q-J couldn't outrun Andrew Teng's A-K. Other early bustouts included Jean-Robert Bellande, Roland de Wolfe, Alex Kravchenko and Isabelle Mercier, who moved all in against two other players with pocket nines. She was way ahead of one opponent, who showed pocket eights, and way behind the other, who tabled pocket tens. The board ran out Q-7-6-9-8, giving Mercier a set but still sending her to the rail when her opponent made a straight on the river.
Day 2 became all about the bubble, as the top 56 finishers in the event made the money. Several top players busted just short of the cash, including Gus Hansen, Nicolas Levi, Barry Greenstein, and Kathy Liebert, who got it all in with K-Q against pocket sixes and lost the coin flip. Hafiz Khan became the unfortunate hero of the 56 remaining players when he went out on the bubble. All the money went in with Khan's A-Q against pocket jacks, and the ace on the turn left Khan looking good to survive. The poker gods had other ideas, and a jack on the turn sent him home one shy of the payouts.
The pace picked up considerably once the bubble burst, with several big name players heading to the rail as Day 2 drew to a close. Arnaud Mattern busted after a couple of run-ins with David Benyamine, the last and most notable of which when Benyamine's pocket fours flopped a set to crack Mattern's queens. Frenchman Antony Lellouche vaulted to the chip lead when his pocket kings held up against Vicky Coren's pocket tens on a king-high board. Lellouche finished the day just behind Philippe D'Auteuil on the leader board.
With 32 players remaining, preliminary chip counts had these players at the top at the end of Day 2:
Philippe D'Auteuil - 477,000
Antony Lellouche - 470,000
David Benyamine - 280,000
Erik Sjodin - 280,000
Peter Busch - 257,000
Johannes Strassmann - 250,000
Joseph Elpayaa - 250,000
Eric Liu - 175,000
Robert Firestone - 168,000
Ian Frazer - 164,000
Join PokerNews tomorrow on Saturday at 1:30 PM local time as the remaining 32 players attempt to reach the final table of eight.