The 211 survivors from Day 1a and the 249 from Day 1b combined meant that 460 players returned to the Casino San Remo on Friday for Day 2 of the PokerStars European Poker Tour San Remo. In the lead was Team PokerStars Pro Ruben Visser with 251,500, but EPT Grand Final champion Nicolas Chouity was not far behind. By the end of the day, both were still in but had taken a tumble in the chip counts (particularly Visser, who finished up below average). The overall chip leader was Georgios Manousos.
The young Greek at the top of the chip counts was being closely railed by his father, who sneaked into the tournament area to check up on his boy at every opportunity during the day. He must now be bursting with pride because Manousos is the man to beat as we approach the money.
In the first level of play, EPT Barcelona winner Carter Phillips doubled up to the chip lead in an enormous suckout of a hand. The board read and Lorenzo Sabato set Phillips in with . Phillips called with and was in terrible shape, but the turn and river came down the and to give Phillips a bigger boat than Sabato's. "It's probably the sickest live suckout I've ever had," Phillips said, and, indeed, it tilted Sabato so much that he had to leave the table for a minute. Regardless, this pot put Phillips at 400,000, and he remained among the big stacks for the rest of the day. He finished up on 496,400.
With such a large and star-studded Day 2 field, the list of the busted alone reads like a "who's who"of poker: Martin Hruby, Alex Gomes, Terrence Chan, Vitaly Lunkin, Ivan Demidov, Angel Guillen, Pieter de Korver, Galen Hall, Andy Black, Marcin Horecki, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Salvatore Bonavena, Barry Greenstein and Fernando Brito were among those who made it to Day 2 but no further.
Meanwhile, at an entirely the other end of the chip counts, the names are no less familiar. The chip lead changed hands numerous times throughout the day, with the aforementioned Carter Phillips and Ruben Visser, Simeon Naydenov, Victor Ramdin and Kevin Vandersmissen all taking turns at the top spot during the day. And with five former EPT winners left in the field - David Vamplew, Roberto Romanello, Carter Phillips, Max Lykov and Nicolas Chouity all know what it's like to lift the EPT hardware - we're looking at a very exciting tournament for the next four days.
Other folks still in the running include two-time NAPT winner Vanessa Selbst, recent EPT Berlin 11th place finisher Fabrice Soulier, potential triple winner Ted Forrest, 2009 World Champion Joe Cada, EPT Berlin runner up Max Heinzelmann and EPT Copenhagen finalist John Eames.
When we return Saturday, we won't be too far off the bubble - 144 places pay out and 164 players remain. The lowest cash will make a not-too-shabby €7,500 - but come next week, one lucky player stands to make €930,000 and a ticket to the EPT Grand Final in Madrid just a few days later.
We'll be back on the tournament floor at noon CEST (0300 PDT) Saturday as our remaining runners journey toward the bubble and beyond.