The Day 1 ten-handed survival grind of the last two days became a distant memory today as the European Poker Tour Berlin came alive. From the off, the action was fast and new heroes emerged through a tangle of major clashes and cooler set-ups. One had to be bullet proof to survive to Day 3.
The player who survived the best and sits on top of the pile was Aku Joentausta who bagged up 751,300. He had a steady climb to the top that included a lot of medium-sized pots. Team Pro, Jake Cody, felt the Finn's force when all in with a dominated ace. Joentausta flopped two-pair and it was good game for the triple crown winner. Joentausta vaulted into the chip lead when he turned a straight to bust fellow countryman Janne Nevalainen who had flopped trips. He held, and even, increased his strangle-hold through to the end the sixth and last level of the day.
The player of Day 1b was Michael Mizrachi and he shone ever-so-bright again today before he burned out in style. "The Grinder" flopped the nut flush in a hand versus Khiem Nguyen and was all set to win a half-million pot only for the latter to turn a full house and take all of Mizrachi's chips as he stormed into the chip lead. Nguyen maintained a big stack and finished on 490,800.
Last season's champion, Davidi Kitai, came back with work to do today and he worked his 32,000 stack very well. One of the hands of the day saw him double up versus another former EPT champion, Benny Spindler. Both flopped sets (Spindler the bigger) only for the reigning champion to turn quads to destroy the German and his stack. Kitai will have 282,100 to work with on Day 3.
Other players happy to have very workable stacks for Day 3 include: Ronny Voth (526,000), Lukasz Golczyk (448,200), Dominik Nitsche (434,600), Pascal Vos (426,000) and Pal Koppegodt (424,300).
The Team Pros back to represent the red spade tomorrow are: Jan Heitmann (104,800), Sandra Naujoks (190,800), Theo Jorgensen (171,600), Liv Boeree (85,400) and Mickey Petersen (60,100) and SportStar Boris Becker (113,000).
Some who came back with high hopes today only to leave with green eyes included Teams Pros Max Lykov, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Rino Mathis, Matthias De Meulder, Victor Ramdin, Vanessa Selbst, Marcin Horecki and Eugene Katchalov. Also part of the "not so" Cool and the Gang were: Anton Wigg, Piuz Heinz, Scott Seiver, Griffin Benger, Marvin Rettenmaier and champion here from three seasons ago, Kevin MacPhee.
The focus tomorrow turns to the 168 players that remain and the bubble that'll probably burst at some stage. As ever, play will start at 12:00 CET time and the PokerNews reporting team will be on hand to bring you all the action.