EPT Deauville: Luca Pagano leads stacked field at end of day 1B
It's difficult to think that we ever left Deauville. After cooing at its splendour for the first two years of the European Poker Tour, various forces beyond our control led us away from Normandy for the next couple.
But after returning victorious last January, we're here again - and it's as though we never left. We've just wrapped day 1b of season six, and few will disagree: it's great to be back.
The men who will have most enjoyed this particular day by the beach include, but are not limited to, this little bunch: Luca Pagano 193,100, Joann Lenne 187,800, Ludovic Lacay 185,800, Freddy Deeb 181,500 and Goghan Soysan 184,100. The full official chip count will appear on the chip count page overnight.
Pretty much everything that can possibly be written about Pagano has been already been written during six years of watching him on PokerStars blog. I can't, however, remember a day that the Team PokerStars Pro from Italy has been Day 1B chip leader, but that seems to be his lot tonight. Pagano is heading the list of 225 players remaining from the starting 429.
That sparkling turnout, when added to yesterday's 339, made a starting field here of 768 and had sparks flying from the calculators of the tournament officials. When they calmed down they handed us the information currently on prizewinners and payouts page, which in summary can be reduced to the fact that the winner will take €847,000 from a total prize purse of €3,686,400. It's worth the trouble of battling that monstrous field.
Also obviously still in the hunt are numerous other members of Team PokerStars Pro. There was a fine showing from that esteemed rabble today, especially welcome after a day of relative absenteeism yesterday.
Peter Eastgate was well worth watching all day. In the Caribbean last week, Eastgate was telling all comers to make their way to one of the "softest" tournaments he said he had ever encountered. There would have been some Schadenfreude to be had from the locals had Eastgate busted early, but he didn't. He only went and chipped up to 112,000.
Hats off too to Jude Ainsworth (103,600), Alex Kravchenko (93,600), Vadim Markushevski (83,200) and Dario Minieri (64,900), as well as ElkY (62,400), known on these shores as just plain Bertrand.
The flipside is that we bade farewell to Vicky Coren, Joep van den Bijgaart and Greg Raymer. They joined a star-studded rail that also included the likes of Max Lykov, Antony Lellouche, Bruno "Kool Shen" Lopes, Jeff Sarwer, and the former champion here Mats Iremark.
You can relive all the action from the day in any of the following level-by-level links.
And here's a bonus extra post about the PokerStars "Jobs 2 Stars" contest.
We've also got all this in most of these players' native French. And because Moritz Kranich won this tournament last year, we have a German cousin here too. (He's not been kept quite so busy this time around.)
You can get moving pictures at PokerStars.tv and all the static photography is injected with permanent ink that will tattoo any thieving mitts with © Neil Stoddart. You wouldn't want that.
The fields combine tomorrow for day two, when all today's pack join the likes of yesterday's leader Robert Cezarescu in aiming for day three.
That's that for now. I'm off home. Call the valet, I'm parked right across the street.