EPT Deauville: Chasing the dough
It's day three on the EPT and this is where organised scheduling gives way to the whims of the poker Gods - and the styles of 133 players. In previous days, the order of business is dictated by the clock, but now have a simple task: to shed 109 of those players and leave us with a neat field of 24. We won't leave here until it's done.
That could take anywhere between about five hours and tomorrow morning, and it's scarcely even worth the trouble to make a prediction.
With more confidence, we can say that the bubble is likely to burst in the first few hours. Only 104 players will be paid for their work here on the Normandy coast, which means 29 will yet be shuffling out of Casino Barriere with nothing. It's our sorry business to keep pace with those disappointed folk, and then to champion the winners in their continued quest for the top prizes.
The chip leaders overnight were the French duo of Nicolas Levi and Ludovic Lacay, both with a terrific EPT pedigree. But in terms of EPT history, none can match Luca Pagano, the Team PokerStars Pro at the top of the all time tournament leaderboard and today in with a very good chance of extending his record. A 14th cash is in the offing.
In the darkly-shaded middle of the venn diagram that shows Frenchman in one circle, EPT legends in another, and Team PokerStars Pros in the third, you'll find only two names: Bertrand Grospellier is one; ElkY is the other. And we all know that's the very same global superstar of poker. He really is quite good.
But it will also be worth keeping an eye on the PokerStars qualifiers Benjamin Juhasz, Craig Bergeron and Shane Schleger, seemingly with the whole online rooting community behind them.
And then there's the World Champion Peter Eastgate, the dynamic Dario Minieri. Check out the full list on the the chip count page and then continue to follow us for blow-by-blow action.
Play is due to start at noon. So tune in at about 12.30pm to hear the excuses.