On Day 2 of the World Poker Tour Merit Cyprus Classic, 131 players returned and the volatile Chino Rheem led the way with a stack of 291,500. By the end of five 90-minute levels, Sam El Sayed finished at the top of the surviving 53 runners with 375,500 — only 4,000 ahead of Erik Cajelais. El Sayed had been one of the big stacks coming into the day but quietly took the chip lead near the end of the day despite other stacks having peaked over 450,000 at points during the day.
Fireworks were expected early on, especially with Rheem sitting next to Hüsnü Sincar, but the early action was elsewhere. Two former EPT champions, Martin Finger and Nicolas Chouity, clashed and the result was Chouity's elimination after running into Finger's top set.
Michael Mizrachi, who was briefly the chip leader on Day 1b was also an early casualty leaving brother Robert as the sole representative from the Mizrachi clan to go into Day 3. He has 365,000, which is enough to put him in third place for now. Gaelle Baumann also disappeared earlier than she'd hoped when her was outdone by El Sayed's .
Meanwhile Rheem and Sincar finally hit their boiling point when, in a four bet pot, Sincar floated on a flop with against Rheem's and snap-called the latter's shove on the turn. The on the river changed nothing and Sincar picked up a 440,000 chip pot, Rheem dropped from over half a million chips to just 320,000, but it was still enough to put him in second place at that point. From that point on, Rheem seemed to simply cruise through the day, finishing on 361,000 to keep him in the hunting pack.
Other players who made it through the day included the German trio of Marvin Rettenmaier, Dominik Nitsche and Manig Loeser. Former bracelet winner and owner of the biggest tattooed arms in poker Erik Cajelais also held the chip lead briefly but lost it when attempting to three-barrel bluff Andrey Shatilov with a whiffed straight draw. Oleksii Kovalchuk, former EPT champion Martin Finger and Per Ummer also made it through to Day 3.
There were a lot of casualties on Monday, as well, including Tuan Lee, Lukas Berglund, Toni Judet and former November Niner Kelly Kim.
Top 10 Chip Counts Heading into Day 3
|1||Sam El Sayed||375,500|
On Tuesday, the bubble will burst and the field could get down to the final two tables. The action will kick off at 1300 EEST (0300 PDT) with the final 53 players. Be sure to check out the PokerNews Live Reporting Blog for all of the action from the felt.
Follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.