Day 1b of PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Berlin was even more star-studded and jam packed than expected. Turnout for Day 1a was impressive, but the second starting flight put it to shame. With 557 players overflowing the Hyatt's grand ballroom on Day 1b, EPT Berlin's €5,000 main event became the largest poker tournament ever held in Germany. The 945 runners built a prize pool of €4,725,000, of which €1 million will go to the winner.
After nine Day 1b levels, 288 players remained to join the 196 left from Day 1a on Thursday. Tu Tuan To emerged from the pack to run away with the chip lead during the last level. This German player goes by the nickname "Little Buddah," but there is nothing little about the 212,600 stack he bagged at the end of the night. It's just 900 chips shy of the stack belonging to the Day 1a chip leader, Israeli Kfir Yamin.
David Paredes, who finished fifth in the NAPT Venetian main event last week, ended the day with a top-ten stack, as did Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth. Fellow Team Pros Florian Langmann and William Thorson are close behind. Marcel Luske, Antoine Saout, Max Pescatori, John Kabbaj, Chad Brown, and Noah Boeken all have reasonable stacks to work with when they return on Thursday.
Boris Becker made it to Day 2 with a few big blinds left. He'll be joined by fellow sports-turned-poker stars Fatima De Melo and Vikash Dhorasso. German television star Charlotte Roche also earned a callback to Day 2. Team PokerStars Pros Jan Heitmann, Lex Veldhuis, Luca Pagano, Sandra Naujoks, and Johnny Lodden weren't as lucky.
Nicolas Levi raised some eyebrows with the chest-baring neglige he wore all day thanks to losing a last-longer bet to Alexia Portal at EPT Deauville. Levi won't get the chance to return in more manly attire ― he busted shortly after the dinner break. Carter Phillips rivered a two-outer to chip up early but then ran set into William Thorson's bigger set and found himself on the rail shortly thereafter. Viktor Blom, Mike "Timex" McDonald, Benny Spindler, and Craig "HU4ROLLZ" Bergeron were also sidelined by the end of the night.
Follow all of the intrigue live here as the whole field squeezes into one room for the first time on Day 2. The fight for the money resumes Thursday at 12:00 p.m. CET.