Conforming to the traditional pattern, today's second flight of European Poker Tour Deauville starters was somewhat larger than yesterday's. When the numbers were totted up at the end of registration, the total for Day 1b was 472, bringing this EPT to 891 runners overall - a significant increase from last year's 768. They have generated a prize pool of €4,276,800, 128 places will pay out, with the eventual winner taking home €880,000.
The field was not only larger but considerably more star-studded than Day 1a's. Among those who took to the felt were Team PokerStars Pros Luca Pagano, Liv Boeree, Nacho Barbero, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Toni Judet, Salvatore Bonavena, Vanessa Rousso, Jude Ainsworth and Viktor "Isildur1" Blom.
One Team PokerStars Pro who failed to make a splash was Dario Minieri. Within minutes of sitting down at his table he'd treated railers to a classic slice of Minieri magic, raising preflop with and then betting every street despite not having hit a thing until the ace on the river, when he went all in. His opponent called the whole way with which had made two pair, and Minieri became one of the earliest casualties of the day.
Daniel Negreanu was another Team PokerStars Pro who had a dreadful day, and will not be returning tomorrow. He spent much of yesterday tweeting about his dissatisfaction with Deauville hotels, and as it turned out he enjoyed his tournament experience even less than the accommodations. Within minutes of the shuffle-up-and-deal he had his flopped two pair beaten on the river and was down to 10,000. He managed to grind his way almost back up to his starting stack, but eventually got it all in with top pair and a flush draw against a set and failed to improve. He has been saying that he won't be returning to Europe now until at least after the World Series of Poker.
Frank Op de Woerd may not the most familiar name on the poker circuit, but his online alter ego "webjoker" will be very familiar to Dutch poker fans. As a tireless blogger for NL.PokerNews.com, Op de Woerd has attended scores of EPTs, but always in his capacity as a member of the press. Experiencing his first ever EPT as a player today, Op de Woerd seemed comfortable and unfazed by his tough table, which also featured Team PokerStars Pros Liv Boeree and Salvatore Bonavena. After a slow but steady upward grind through much of the day, Op de Woerd lurched forward in the counts when he knocked out the lovely Ms. Boeree. Op de Woerd raised under the gun with and found Boeree moving all in from the big blind with . Op de Woerd made the call and his hand held up to bust the EPT San Remo champion and put him up to over 70,000. He lost a nasty kings versus aces cooler right at the end of the day, however, to drop him back to 47,000. That's about average going into Day 2.
Franco-Russian chess master Almira Skripchenko found herself seated at a table with Team PokerStars Pro Viktor "Isildur1" Blom - a curious seat draw as the two of them have some history together. They played each other at chess years ago - Skripchenko won - and when Skripchenko started playing poker Blom was an avid railer of hers online. Blom finished the day with 144,700, among the chip leaders, and Skripchenko also made it to Day 2.
Chip leader at the end of the night was Philippe Massias on 175,600 - well behind the 196,800 that Day 1a chip leader Guillaume de la Gorce finished up on. Legendary French singer Patrick Bruel is also up there on 153,100. Other notables still in the running include Nacho Barbero, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Bruno Fitoussi.
The combined 501 Day 1a and Day 1b survivors will be reconvening at the Casino Barriere tomorrow to begin the long road to the money.
We'll be back on the floor from noon local time to bring you all the action from Blom, ElkY et al, so join us back at the PokerNews Live Reporting Blog for all the action.