Claudio Cecchi in charge at EPT London
Stereotypes are both offensive and annoying. They are offensive because they categorise huge swathes of people as acting and thinking the same way, casting the same aspersions on hundreds of thousands of people that happen to share the same birthplace, heritage or set of beliefs.
They're annoying because they tend to have a grain of truth in them.
For instance, Americans have a stereotype of British people having bad teeth. It is both offensive and at least half-way true. It's not our fault, we have incredible sweet shops and we love being spoilt for choice. And, in a record-breaking field, we've had a field that would drive the sweet tooth of any poker player, British or otherwise, crazy with top quality players from all round the world. Negreanu, Hachem, Ivey, Minieri, Raymer, Obrestad, Demidov. You name them, we've got 'em. Most have been tried, tested and marked as favourites in the past but our Day 1 chip leader Claudio Cecchi isn't one of them. He's come close to a big finish with a 21st at EPT Vilamoura last month and a 16th at Barcelona back in 2008 but this is his first major moment in the spotlight.
The Italian made a mad dash late in the day to chip up to quarter-of-a-million in a rush of three big hands. He had aces against kings, flopped a set against a flush draw and then sucked out with queens against kings. Things slowed down a little after that (how could they not?) and he finished the day as the overall chip captain with 237,500.
Now, that's quite some achievement given that today's 509 entries topped up yesterday's 339 field to make a UK record 848 player tournament that has put a shelf-creaking £4,112,800 on show. Just behind him is yesterday's chip leader Soheb Porbandarwala who brings back 218,600 to Day 2 (which starts at 12 noon incidentally). The other biggest hits of the day were David Vamplew (205,500) and Tony Cascarino (181,400). Some 235 players finished the day, add that to the 146 of yesterday and that makes a Day 2 field of 381.
As always there are some sweets that you've never tried and you might find some surprisingly tasty while others take a few quizzical chews before you can make your mind up. We'll find out over the next couple of days what we think of those that finished deep in the chip counts today. More familiar flavours that made it through however were Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu (122,200), Joe Hachem (108,400), Andre Akari (29,800), Anh Nguyen (24,700), Juan Maceiras (62,000), Sebastian Ruthenberg (53,800), Chad Brown (45,600), Noah Boeken (78,200), Richard Toth (48,900) and Salvatore Bonavena (107,100).
Most players attending this event will unaware that it is now also doublin as the Grand Final of the UK and Ireland Poker Tour, which kicked off in Galway, Ireland, last December. The UKIPT's eight regional events have been acting as a breeding ground for this 5,000 main event here in London.
Some of the players that have made names for themselves on the tour, and are still in the running here, include Jamie Burland (112,100), Femi Fakinle (78,000) and Mick Graydon (66,400). There are also plenty of other more established Irish and Brits in with a shout, such as Team PokerStars Pros Jude Ainsworth (163,500) and JP Kelly (121,100) as well as Cascarino, Fintan Gavin (92,000), Sam Trickett (98,100) and Dave Ulliott (54,000). Liv Boeree finished on an above average chip count of 76,500 which should be counted as a successful first outing in the PokerStars livery.
Play will resume tomorrow at 12 noon. Join us then for the action as it happens. Catch up with all today's action by clicking on the links below:
Our camera crews have also been scooting in and around the tournament floor picking up interviews and all that jazz. Catch the Day 1B wrap in moving sound and pictures below.
Thanks, picture credits and (c) go to Mickey May and Neil Stoddart who have been busily snapping away all day. Until tomorrow then. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.