EPT8 San Remo: Late charge puts Cheong in front
There was something "old school" about Day 2 on the European Poker Tour main event in San Remo, a hark back to years gone and something that put everyone to the test.
Years ago, when the EPT was a burgeoning fixture on the world poker calendar it wasn't unusual to get an EPT done, wrapped up start to finish, in a matter of two days. Just ask anyone who was at an EPT in Seasons 1 and 2. For the most part they followed a similar pattern - an early Day 1 start, a 3am finish and then the same again on Day 2, which also doubled as the "final day". EPT2 Dublin even included a venue change for the final table.
"It's just like the old days," said John Duthie as play stretched into a seventh level and the clock struck midnight. Duthie was among those players who survived today's marathon, forced on the main event to ensure enough room for the full list of side events taking place tomorrow.
Veterans of the tour may look back on such times with rose-tinted sentiment; boutique events compared to the goliath the tour has become. But there was a stark reminder of those days today that reminded just what a toll playing so late into the night can take, with seven levels, each 75 minutes long, making the today's 2pm start a 2am finish.
Mats Gavatin with a huge winner's cheque back in Season 2
But poker players are a sturdy bunch, immovable for the most part, eager to play on and on. How else can you be sure the biggest hand you've ever played isn't just around the corner?
So spirits were high as play ended, no higher than those of tonight's chip leader Joseph Cheong, who bags up 632,000.
Chip leader Joseph Cheong
That comes with the usual caveat - that a chip lead is often only temporary - but he has the next 12 hours at least to enjoy it, before the likes of Daniel Neilson (584,500), Mustapha Kanit (577,000), William Thorson (508,500) and Sergey Tikhonov (504,500), all of whom performed excellently today, get their teeth into Day 3.
It's about now that the true character of an event starts to emerge, with a still strong field promising a typically eventful San Remo leg of the tour.
There remain a gang of former champions such as Mike McDonald (265,500), Kevin MacPhee (283,000) and Toby Lewis (122,000).
In addition to Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Selbst (497,000), Duthie (147,500), Johnny Lodden (287,500) and Lex Veldhuis (341,000) and the likes of Barny Boatman, Elio Fox, Jon Spinks, Melanie Weisner and Shaun Deeb, whose chip counts, along with the rest of them, can be found on the official chip count page.
Various others were not so productive today. Among the fallers were the Team PokerStars Pros Eugene Katchalov, Salvatore Bonavena, Jonathan Duhamel, Vanessa Rousso, Sandra Naujoks and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. Joining them on the rail were Michael Tureniec, Praz Bansi, Jennifer Harman, Xuan Liu, Anton Wigg and former champions Liv Boeree and Rupert Elder.
Even with such a long day in the saddle we're still two tables off the cash, which will form the first roadblock for players to navigate when play resumes tomorrow. The top 128 players will finish in the money, leaving the remainder out in the cold. Find out exactly who will be rewarded with what when live coverage continues at 2pm (local time) on Monday.
Until then catch up with all the events of today by clicking through the links below:
That's all for today. We started with 837 players on Friday and now just 144 remain. There will be fireworks tomorrow when the bubble bursts, not to mention a whole lot of emotional pandemonium among the locals. It's not to be missed.
The view over San Remo
In the meantime our thanks to photographer Neil Stoddart whose copyright once sank Lehman brothers. Also a hat tip to our foreign bloggers working in German, French and Italian, not to mention Howard Swains, who took the Gavatin photo back when anyone with a camera was considered to be a photographer.
In keeping with the old school tradition, we're now off to bed. Until tomorrow it's goodnight from San Remo.