EPT11 Deauville: Alex Tikhoniouk leads, but ElkY and MacPhee lurk with menace
Q: What's small and pale and roundly despised, yet desired by everyone nonetheless?
A: Chips at EPT Deauville.
It's one of the quirks of this particular tournament, hosted annually in Casino Barriere on the north coast of France, that the priceless tokens with which to demonstrate ones wealth are strange little disks in pastel shades that are hated across the board.
But if you want to win an EPT title, and in this case €543,700, you had better quickly overcome your aversion to these unusual chips and start accumulating them through five days. Shortly before starting his tournament on Day 1B, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier got the right idea. "Playing #EPTDeauville Day1b," he tweeted. "Those chips are quite ugly but let's get them anyways ;))"
By the end of Day 2, ElkY had been true to his word. The Team PokerStars Pro from France, who also said that being back in Deauville felt "like home again", is back in the top five of the surviving 138 players tonight. Wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan "BE LEGENDARY", he enjoyed the kind of day he used to have every time he stepped into a tournament room, and bagged 281,500. It's great to have him back.
ElkY is not having this all his own way, however, as a man named Alex Tikhoniouk has the most at this stage. Tikhoniouk may have a name that would suggest he hails from somewhere close to the Arctic circle, but he is in fact leading the Irish contingent here. He was feeding on scraps at one point -- "It was a crazy day, because I was down to like four bigs," he said -- but rose through the ranks late today, finishing with 312,600. Tikhoniouk turns 25 on Sunday, which is final table day.
Kevin MacPhee managed to get a six-bet shove called by an opponent with pocket eights earlier today, playing on his reputation as one of the most tricky players in the game. MacPhee's tens held and that set him on a remarkable surge forward too. He bagged 308,300, which puts him in second place.
Benjamin Pollak headlined the first EPT Live feature table of the week and started his own upward surge under the attentions of the webcast. He finished with 275,800 and was trailing only ElkY and Adrien Guyon amid a healthy home contingent. (More than 40 per cent of the starting field here was French.)
Only about 140 players made it through today, meaning the side events will continue to be packed out. There will likely be a few big names in them too, as the likes of Jake Cody, Anton Wigg, Vicky Coren-Mitchell and Michael Tureniec were among those eliminated.
Other notable stacks at this stage include:
Robert Schulz, 296,900
Adrien Guyon, 291,100
Jouny Hanna, 290,000
Bertrand Grospellier, 281,500
Benjamin Pollak, 275,800
Carlo Savinelli, 275,400
Olivier Piechaczyk, 272,600
Andrius Bielskis, 261,000
Nicolau Villa-Lobos, 230,600
Jan Heitmann, 199,000
Simon Ravnsbaek, 197,600
Sergio Aido, 146,000
Marcin Horecki, 112,000
Jannick Wrang, 111,500
Vladimir Troyanovskiy, 91,600
Paul Berende, 78,600
Martins Adeniya, 62,200
Dominik Panka, 45,800
Dimitar Danchev, 44,800
Look back today with coverage from the Main Event of EPT Deauville on the Main Event page. Check out all the action from around the festival on the main festival page. Also follow the action on EPT Live and stay up to date with the sensational EPT app for iPhone, iPad or Android.
Goodnight! Let's hope for some more snow...