European Poker Tour Deauville Day 1b: Pagano at it Again
After yesterday's impressive showing of 339 runners, today's Day 1b field at the Casino Barriere went and blew it out of the water. Once all the late registrations and so on were over with, 429 players had paid their money and taken their Day 1b chances, bringing the total number of runners to an incredible 768 - smashing last year's record figure of 645 to smithereens.
As is traditional for the second start day, the big names were rather heavier on the ground than they were on Day 1a. Team PokerStars Pros who ventured out of their hotel rooms included Dario Minieri, Vicky Coren, Greg Raymer, Luca Pagano, Alex Kravchenko, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Jude Ainsworth.
After around three hours, sparking concern that he would miss this start day as well after failing to show up as scheduled yesterday, Peter Eastgate showed up.
Also gracing the felt were the likes of Freddy Deeb, Isabelle Mercier, Rob Hollink, and Joe Beevers. It was an impressive turnout by any standard.
Luca Pagano got off to an excellent start, almost doubling in the first level, and by level 8 he'd amassed over 200,000. He dipped a little toward the end of the day, but still managed to be top of the Day 1b pops come bedtime, on 198,500.
Pagano's fellow countryman and Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri shot into a monstrous early lead after he turned a straight to bust Dutch bracelet winner Marc Naalden in the biggest pot of the tournament up to that point. Minieri couldn't hang on to his gigantic stack, though, and finished the day on 64,000.
Former poker press member turned PokerStars Sponsored Player Julien Brecard had an excellent start. A pair of sneakily played aces early in the day set him up for a good run, although he dropped below his 65,000 high point later. This winner of the People's Choice award at last night's French Poker Awards eventually went through to Day 2 with 58,900.
Folks who failed to make it through included Brice Cournut, Vitaly Lunkin, Ricardo Sousa, Jeff Sarwer, and Joep van den Bijgaart.
Happy folks who go through, on the other hand, include Peter Eastgate, Juha Helppi, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Alex Kravchenko.
Day 1a chip leader Robert Cezarescu remains the man to beat going into Day 2 on 216,900. Hot on his heels are Vladimir Geshkenbein, Luca Pagano and Ludovic Lacay, among others.
In all, just shy of 400 players made it through to Day 2, which will kick off at noon GMT+1. We'll be on the floor when it all happens, so join us at PokerNews.com for all the action, live and direct from EPT Deauville and remember to follow us on Twitter.