Seventeen players are still in the hunt for the first World Poker Tour title to be awarded in the Netherlands after the second day of play, including the legendary Marcel Luske, Joep van den Bijgaart, Pim van Wieringen, and Thomas Brader.
When the dust settled around 3 a.m. local time following Day 2 action in Valkenburg, it was Niels van Leeuwen who held the chip lead with 2.6 million in chips, and that's more than twice the amount of his nearest competitor.
The second day of play started with 119 players, a number that dwindled quickly as short stacks tried spinning it up and bigger stacks took advantage. Mates Moolhuizen was one of the players that busted in the first level when his ace-seven did not improve versus ace-jack, and other players that hit the rail before the money included Farid Chati, Ron Schut, Giorgio La Iacona, and Oanh Bui.
Brader was a strong force throughout the day and a strong call early on gave him lots of ammunition. Van den Bijgaart also won an important pot right before the money bubble and that helped him make his way to the final two tables.
On the bubble, it was none other then Paul Berende who was knocked out together with Pieter Zijderveld. These two shared the 45th-place payout, both taking home €546 a piece.
Alex Hendriks did manage to make the money, but not too long after the bubble burst he hit the rail in 40th place. Hendriks called all in from the big blind with queen-nine of spades and lost to van Wieringen's ace-five. Van Wieringen was on a tear from that moment on and knocked out Niels de Moree shortly thereafter.
Kevin Lemmens was also among the bigger stacks for most of the day, even briefly taking over the chip lead. Poker, however, showed once more that it's a game without mercy, as Lemmens was knocked out less than 30 minutes later after losing back-to-back huge pots.
Niels van Leeuwen showed immense poise today as he grinded like a champion and put himself in a position to take this event down tomorrow. Van Leeuwen took down lots of big pots near the end, including an uncontested five-bet shove into Brader.
Play resumes tomorrow at 2 p.m. local time, and PokerNews.com will be right there with you to crown a winner at Holland Casino Valkenburg in this World Poker Tour National Event.