Martins Adeniya out to clear lead heading into EPT Deauville Day 3
There was a point today when a colleague came to us to say that four of the top six players were British. It didn't seem right to blow our own trumpet, particularly when the movement at the top of the chip count page was so fluid through to the end.
By the close of play that little statistic had become something less prosperous for the Channel raiders, but one name remained immoveable at the top, that of Martins Adeniya, who bags up 512,200 and the chip lead tonight.
"I came into the day with 115,000," said Adeniya. "My stack swung around between 100,000 and 150,000 for a while, but then a young kid at my table tried to bluff me. I made a huge call on the river to get a full double-up to 250,000. I've just been building from there, picking up small pots."
Chip leader Martins Adeniya
"I had another big pot where I had a full house against the same guy who I think rivered a flush. I took a lot of chips off that one player."
Adeniya is a thoughtful kind of player, rarely talking but his eyes being those of someone seemingly hyper observant, something that translates into some strong play against both strong and weak opponents. He rarely looks under pressure.
Chips and more chips
"It's been a quite a comfortable day," said Adeniya. "I've not done too well flipping against short stacks, but at the same time I've been on the right side of the big pots. I feel like I've dodged some callers... I think I played pretty well today."
This is not the first time Adeniya has been at the sharp end of an EPT. Last season Adeniya impressed on his way to a 15th place finish, which at the time seemed premature. Adeniya though has a career path on the ascendant, as his record shows.
Eyes wide open, Adeniya stack building
"Before I had a lot more wild aggression which was just all over the place but now it's a lot more controlled," said Adeniya. "I feel like I'm a better reader of players and I'm using that. Before I used to be really good playing against very good players, not so good against bad players. But right now I've improved my game. It's going to be hard to stop me in this tournament."
It marked a big difference from when we started. After mistakenly appointing Toufiq Ouirini as chip leader late last night it emerged this morning that Amir Salhani had in fact bagged up the most, some 191,100 which, according to some half-baked statistical analysis using figures from the past three seasons of Day 1 chip leaders effectively gave him a six per cent chance of winning the main event, or at the very least a 69 per cent chance of making the money.
The tournament room
Turns out that was rubbish. Salhani was among those making their way to the door (or to the side events) this afternoon, where he would be joined by all manner of poker dignitaries including Kevin MacPhee, Antoine Saout, Chris McClung, Kara Scott, Zimhan Ziyard, Joe Ebanks and Jake Cody, who were joined by Team PokerStars Pros Arnaud Mattern, Nacho Barbero, Vanessa Rousso, Fatima Moreira de Melo and Liv Boeree.
Fatima Moreira de Melo
Tomorrow those returning, who include the likes of Toby Lewis, Ludovic Lacay, James Dempsey, Paul Berende and Chris Brammer, will make their run for the money which will kick in when only 128 players remain, as will the last remaining Team PokerStars Pro in the contest, Luca Pagano (is it ever anyone else?)
On course for EPT cash number 20: Luca Pagano
It was a full day and the standings will make things interesting on Day 3 tomorrow. For now, content yourself by reading today's coverage, including interviews and articles below and our live updates which you'll find here, along with chip count details.
That's all from Deauville, where the temperature has dropped to minus 6 degrees (it's only minus 4 on the Ross Ice Shelf). Sounds like ideal conditions to stay indoors and enjoy an EPT party. We'll tell you how it went at 12 noon tomorrow. Well, maybe five past.
Sunset in Deauville today
Until then it's goodnight from Normandy.
All photography © Neil Stoddart