Houghton ahead at EPT Vienna

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For some Vienna is about music, it's about history and the grandeur of places like the Hofburg and the Schönbrunn palace. But for others, the ones who keep us in happy employment, it means something else. For the young guys with Vegas in their eyes, the old-timers looking for a last hurrah in the sun and all those in between, Vienna is about 12 hours in a ballroom, with occasional cigarette breaks outside in the freezing cold. Played correctly there's no greater physical endeavour than to flag down the kindly waitress who smiles when she brings you drinks.

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Those 353 players who came to the Kursalon today just happened to make this a record event, combining for what is thought to be the richest poker tournament ever held between the Alps to the West and the Little Carpathians to the East - Austria to the lay person.

After the second Day 1 flight, Englishman Laurence Houghton leads the way, chief among 161 survivors, bagging up 190,600 chips tonight ahead of Adrian Simaldoni on 181,000 and Giacomo Maistio with 172,400. Houghton's total compares well to yesterday's leader Sergii Baranov, who finished with 183,200; an accomplishment made all the more notable by Houghton's solid play after early setbacks took him close to the felt.

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Chip leader Laurence Houghton, feared by Negreanu, as explained in an early tweet

Beyond the leaders there will be chips waiting tomorrow for several Team PokerStars Pros, among them the fatigued Daniel Negreanu (54,200), the dependable Sebastian Ruthenberg (103,800), the effervescent Fatima Moreira de Melo (53,200), the jovial Darus Suharto (109,600), the award-winning gent Boris Becker (30,400), the indisputable Nacho Barbero (132,300) and the Burgermeister von Value Town Jan Heitmann (14,500). Their counts, and others, are available now on the chip count page.

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Fatima Moreira de Melo

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Daniel Negreanu

Pascal Perrault will also return tomorrow; the defending champion from the first incarnation of EPT Vienna was down to just one out earlier tonight, but closed on 61,300. Back in season one it was a great achievement to make the second day. In season seven it doesn't even guarantee a money finish. It's also worth noting that there were more players today than there were in total back in Perrault's glory year.

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Pascal Perrault

Also keeping observers occupied was Tom Dwan, who didn't arrived until after the dinner break, to spin a dwindled stack of less than 20,000 into an end of day stack of 61,900.

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Tom Dwan (center)

Sadly, there are plenty of names not appearing in the draw for tomorrow. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier is one of them, departing early after a brief spell on Negreanu's table; Rino Mathis was also among the first to leave. Other bustees include Team PokerStars Pros Salvatore Bonavena, Dario Minieri, JP Kelly and Luca Pagano (from 90,000 to zero in level nine), as well as David Benyamine, John Juanda and Kevin MacPhee.

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Dario Minieri

So for now that's everything, just the wait for play to resume tomorrow when the remaining 278 players will return. To catch up on all the events of the day go to any and all of the links below.

Level 1 & 2 updates
Level 3 & 4 updates
Level 5 & 6 updates
Level 7, 8 and 9 updates

As mentioned earlier you can find the official chip counts from Day 1B on the chip count page, funnily enough, and the videos of the day are all featured on PokerStars.tv, including an excellent guide to Vienna from Thomas "one take" Kremser.

Our thanks to our foreign blogging buddies. German you know, Dutch too, but take a look at the Greek version for some mind-blowing typeface. It really is all Greek to us. One last thanks to photographer Neil Stoddart whose copyright infringement legal team is thought to be behind the collapse of several banks you may have read about last year. Be warned.

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If you can't bear to wait a full 12 hours for more poker action you can always catch up on events at the ANZPT Grand Final in Darwin. They play naked there so it's worth a look. Otherwise we'll see you for Day 2 at noon tomorrow.

Photography (c) Neil Stoddart.