Ole-Kristian Nergard leads ahead of Ivan Demidov ahead of Day 2 in Madrid
Two days have been played at the EPT Grand Final in Madrid; one full day ticked off the tournament schedule.
The armed security guards of the Casino Gran Madrid watched 384 players march past their posts outside the gold-coloured doors to register, bringing the total number of entrants to 686 and the prize pool to €6,860,000.
We now know that the best of them, when the final table finishes on Thursday night, will walk away with a first prize of €1,500,000; a massive figure, reflecting the prestige and popularity of the EPT finale; an event that captures all that's good about high stakes tournament poker - opulent surroundings, and piles and piles of cash.
Inside the Casino Gran Madrid
If things continue the way they did today one of five players could be exactly four days of play away from that achievement, which this year, remember, comes with a direct invitation into the Champion of Champions.
Outside Casino Gran Madrid
Several players may have that in mind, but chief among them is Ole-Kristian Nergard.
Chip leader, just, Ole-Kristian Nergard
Those with good memories may recall how the baby-faced Nergard bought into the EPT Grand Final High Roller on his 18th birthday 12 months ago, too young by a matter of hours, to play the main event. Talk about making up for lost time. He ended Day 1B with 198,200 chips. Some way behind yesterday's leader David Sonelin (275,900), but a powerful finish nonetheless.
That's just 400 (four chips) more than second-placed Ivan Demidov.
The Team PokerStars Pro is a familiar face to anyone who has followed the game since he famously finished runner-up to Peter Eastgate in the 2009 World Series Main Event. He bags up 197,800 tonight.
Second in chips, just, Ivan Demidov
Matthias Bergstrom has also done well at the table today, closing on 188,000, while Jean-Noel Thorell on 180,300, and Surinder Sunar, on 179,200, also performed well.
STOP PRESS: Matthias Bergstrom finished with 198,200, not 188,000 and is just 200 behind chip leader Nergard.
In the usual way many weaved careful courses through the day, others did not. Team PokerStars Pros Raymond Wu (93,600 - "formidable"), Andre Akkari (76,600 - "solid") and Alex Kravchenko (45,300 - "steely"), Juan Manuel Pastor (25,000 - "plucky") will return, their one word reviews theoretically better than those departing, a list that included Viktor Blom, Vicky Coren, Dario Minieri, Bertrand Grospellier, Vanessa Rousso and the brothers Joe and Tony Hachem.
Viktor "Isildur1" Blom
Juan Manuel Pastor
The events of today leave Day 1A leader David Sonelin as the front-runner as the field unites on Day 2, with 299 players remaining. Those from today are listed in full glory on the Official Chip Count Page, which will be known as that as soon as the counts are made available to us by tournament staff. In the meantime fill your boots with all the action that took place today by clicking through the links below...
Now the Grand Final moves steadily into Day 2. That's it from Madrid for tonight. Our thanks to our foreign blogging buddies, "working" in German, Swedish and "Dutch". Thanks also to Neil Stoddart for today's images.
Join us tomorrow for the next stage towards the crowing of the last winner on the EPTs seventh season. For now, it's goodnight from Madrid.