Now Live EPT Malta888Live Festival London European Poker Tour Campione Day 2: Botond Leads As Bubble Approaches

Balazs Botond (Photo: Neil Stoddart)

Day 2 of the European Poker Tour Campione Main Event has come to an end after six, 75-minute levels were completed inside the vast Casino di Campione. At the start of play 325 players took their seats, each with high hopes of becoming an EPT champion, but that dream is over for all but 99 of them.

The dreams of stardom are well and truly alive for Balazs Botond, the overnight chip leader. He bagged up 646,000 in chips by the time the tournament director called an end to the day. Botond flew under the proverbial radar for the majority of the day, and when his monster stack was brought to the Live Reporting Team's attention, we attempted to investigate how it was built.

"Were you involved in many big hands to build your stack?" he asked before adding, "We guess you're running really hot, no?"

"Actually no," came the reply before two of his opponents informed us, almost at the same time, "He's just playing really well!"

"Yeah. I'm playing really well," confirmed the PokerStars hoodie-sporting Hungarian.

Botond's stack contains almost 150,000 more chips than his nearest rival — the dangerous Ronny Kaiser. The current EPT Tallin champion, Kaiser has been tearing up the high stakes pot-limit Omaha cash games on PokerStars over the past few weeks and his terrific form seems to have followed him into the live arena because he ended the day with 506,500 inchips.

Like Botond, Kaiser was not drawing much attention to himself until he was involved in a massive pot toward the latter stages of the day when his {A-}{A-} held against {A-}{K-} and {8-}{8-} to send two players to the rail and boost his stack past the 500,000-chip barrier.

After almost eight full seasons of the EPT with no double winner, it is almost impossible not to mention the possibility of someone becoming the first player to win two EPT main events. Almost without fail, at least one former champion makes a deep run and Campione is no different. There are eight players remaining in the field who have lifted that coveted trophy.

Along with the aforementioned Kaiser, the following players, in chip count order, will no doubt be referred to as the "potential first double EPT winner" on at least one occasion on Day 3. Keep an eye out for David Vamplew (412,900), Roberto Romanello (331,000), Liv Boeree (300,900), Nicolas Chouity (257,000), Rupert Elder (161,600), Martin Finger (122,400) and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (113,500). Imagine if all eight made it through to the final table!

A special mention has to go to Team PokerStars' Liv Boeree who looked to be down and out within the first couple of levels of play. After a clash with Vamplew, who she was seated next to all day, she was left with just 8,000 chips with blinds at 500/1,000/100. She staged an epic comeback however, and when she sits down on Day 3, she will do so armed with almost exactly 100 big blinds!

End of Day 2 Chip Counts

PlayerChip Count
Balazs Botond646,000
Ronny Kaiser506,500
Alexander Andermatt436,000
David Vamplew412,900
Stefano Demontis382,400
Massimiliano Bellon Bellucci364,000
Olivier Busquet353,100
Roberto Romanello331,000
Ivo Donev317,500
Primoz Adamie307,000

Play resumes at 1400 CEST (0500 PDT) on Thursday and will continue until only 24 players remain. You can follow all of the action over on the PokerNews Live Reporting pages, and we will have a full recap of the action for you shortly after play ends.

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