EPT Deauville: Nicolas Levi flies into lead on day two
Home field advantage is key to sport and games. The natural order of the world seems to boost those performing on home turf, operating in familiar territory and with the local crowd screaming your name into the rafters. Those very people watch hoping, in some cases demanding, that a local be crowned champion, proof that their lot are better than the other lot. It probably dates back to the cavemen being first to club a mammoth.
Deauville is chock full of those home town heroes tonight, Gallic men and women who have revelled their way through the day two field, their goal to send the crowd nuts come Monday night.
Chief among that tribe is Frenchman Nicolas Levi, among that string of French pros who consistently reap the rewards of world poker. Levi took flight late today, reaching ear-popping heights, bagging up 648,500.
Chip leader: Nicolas Levi
Close behind was his countryman Ludovic Lacay on 500,500, who topped the 600k mark earlier, and George Secara who closes the night on 535,000. With such a lead, and ability to swing it like a sack of horse manure, few would predict Levi will be brought down to earth easily when play resumes tomorrow.
Behind him feature some likely characters. Stefan Fuchs (490,500), Benjamin Juhasz (447,000) Jake Cody (435,500) and Goghan Soysal (413,000) rest in solid position ahead of the money bubble tomorrow.
Last night it was Luca Pagano with his foot on the accelerator, and while Lacay may have got the better of him, Pagano's panache remains in place. He closed on 260,000.
Meanwhle the fate of his Team PokerStars Pro brethren is varied. While Peter Eastgate, Vadim Markushevski, Jude Ainsworth (another deep run in an EPT), Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Dario Minieri survive through to tomorrow we lost Arnaud Mattern, Katja Thater, Richard Toth, Vlad Zguba and Alex Kravchenko to a relentless rate of attrition.
Just 133 remain tonight, all detailed on the chip count page, heading home with an appointment to be back at noon tomorrow when they'll play down to 24. The big turnout has left a higher than normal field to get through, particularly when only 104 leave here with money to pay for all the wine, but we'll be here from start to finish, wine or no wine, however long it takes.
ElkY with his eyes on the prize
But if this hasn't been enough to put you on until then, and you need more poker to satisfy your appetite, use these links below like a 100 calorie snack to eat between meals. Go on, try two.
That then really is all for Friday at EPT Deauville. Needless to say we're never alone in these endeavours. Our German and French cousins are here, bringing you all of this in local and neighbouring dialects, while video blogs from throughout the day can be found at PokerStars.tv. Out of Hackney, London, Neil Stoddart provided photos today, whose skills with a lens only matched by his ruthlessness in the copyright violation courts. Our thanks to him.
So that's that. We're off to sample Deauville's off season fare. Until tomorrow.