EPT10 Deauville: Ziyard taking tourney one tuna baguette at a time

Once play concluded last night and the big stacks were all noted and tabulated, the fact that Zimnan Ziyard was near the chip lead was no surprise. After all, the EPT8 Loutraki Main Event winner has frequently been building big stacks at tourneys throughout Europe over recent years.

But as we were discussing yesterday, as humans we're wired to notice patterns -- indeed to seek them out, and even sometimes to trick ourselves into seeing them when they aren't even there. A quick trip over to the roulette wheel down the hall from the tournament room will provide ready evidence of the latter.

So when we saw Ziyard had ended Day 2 at EPT Deauville second in chips, we seized on a coincidence -- last year at EPT9 Deauville, Ziyard had also ended Day 2 in second place.

"I did?" asked Ziyard when we mentioned the coincidence to him at the last break. "I don't remember."

It could be that the rest of last year's Day 3 had lessened the likelihood of his remembering. After starting second of 154 to begin the day, the British player took a bumpy tumble down the counts to be eliminated before the day concluded, finishing 69th, the cash proving only small consolation after the promise with which the day had begun.

"Yes, I've done that a few times," Ziyard said with a grin. "But the plan this time is to hang on as long as I can and hopefully be there to the end."

We continued on the subject of last year, chatting about how immediately after busting the Main Event he had hopped in to a €880 buy-in side event and topped a field of 146 to win.

"It wasn't a massive field, so it wasn't impossible," shrugged Ziyard.

When asked about how he'd built his stack yesterday -- and maintained it thus far today to move up over 440,000 -- Ziyard was similarly self-deprecating as he referred to other, more meaningful patterns.

"I hit a few sets and kept on hitting top pair in a lot of hands," he explained. "That was about it... got a good flow of cards and didn't get coolered."

Primed to make the cash again this year, that brings up another streak after his finishing 20th and in the money at EPT8 Deauville, then again making the cash at EPT9 Deauville. What was his explanation for the continued success at the Casino Barrière?

"It must be the tuna baguettes I have for breakfast everyday," he explained, cracking an infectious grin. "They keep me going!"

8G2A1178__TeamOnline_Zinman_Ziyard_Neil Stoddart.jpg

ZZ near the top

"Maybe it's the beginning of the year and I feel motivated to play well," Ziyard added. "And maybe I'm staying more focused, too, after having had a break over Christmas and New Year's."

Zimnan was aware of another pattern, the one that has lasted for nearly a decade on the European Poker Tour that has seen no repeat winners of an EPT Main Event.

"I'm just looking forward to making my second EPT final table," he said when asked about the prospect of becoming the first two-timer. "I think that's a big step in my career, anyway -- making a final table -- and so I'll just try to get there first and then aim for the next step."

Sounds like a smart plan to us not to worry too much about all of these patterns from the past, and instead focusing on the present -- one tuna baguette at a time.

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A Zimnan Ziyard postscript to add... he'd maintain that big stack over much of the next level, losing a bit just before the bubble burst, however, in an interesting hand he described to Laura Cornelius. Take a look:

Follow our coverage from EPT Deauville by heading to the main EPT Deauville page. There's hand-by-hand coverage in the top panel, plus chip counts, and feature pieces below. EPT Live coverage continues today as well, so tune in there for a close-up view of the action.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in European Poker Tour