Leading the charge
Whatever happens here or at the Grand Final in Monte Carlo in March, this season's EPT has belonged to the Nordic players. Players from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway have written all of the stories and taken most of the cash.
Surprise, surprise, they're at it again in Deauville. The Day 1A chip leader looks like it's this man: Frederik Hostrup, from Denmark.
Frederik Hostrup and his chirping chips
At least Frederik is entertaining his table as he runs all over it. As the stack of chirping chip grows, so does the conversation and the Dane is smiling pleasantly as he bludgeons his way through the field. He's playing today for Pokerteam Denmark, but asks me to tell you that he's a regular on the PokerStars tables as Mr Swatch. He's busy with about 75,000 chips right now, but keep a look out for him. He might have some extra money to throw around by Saturday night.
Another familiar Scandinavian player is Henrik Olander, from Sweden. Henrik gave a poker masterclass at the final table of the EPT event in Dublin last year, eventually bowing out in second place after he ran into Mats Gavatin (also from Sweden, of course). Henrik has about 44,000.
Henrik Olander: back with another stack
And finally a non-Nordic player, but one who hardly needs any introduction. Ram Vaswani, Hendon Mobster, EPT champion, etc., is back with the chips. Ram has about 55,000 in that stack.
Ram Vaswani: single handedly taking on the Nordics
Some more notable eliminations: the past hour has seen the demise of Noah Boeken, Simon Young and Patrick Antonius.