EPT Tallinn: Ace-cracking Nikolas Liakos snatches last-gasp lead
Day two is done at EPT Tallinn and for all the chatter about the friendliness of Estonia and the small, cosy field, it was a day characterised by bullies blustering their way to big stacks, the better to make a run at the money tomorrow.
The most bulging bags belong to Nikolas Liakos, from Sweden, and Lari Sihvo, from Finland, who crammed 460,200 and 400,100 respectively into them tonight. Liakos cracked the aces of the local favourite Henri Kasper in the very late stages to vault into the lead.
Sihvo, 25, had been at more than 300,000 for hours by the time the ace-cracking took place, and had had a very comfortable time of it. "I had a very good day, I didn't go down at all," he said. "All the time it was up and up."
But sleeping easy is by no means guaranteed. Although only those two have more than 400,000, they are hotly pursued by Michael Graydon (349,800), Liutauras Armanavicius (337,600) and Jani Sointula (333,300). And the conversation in the panelled drawing room of the 300,000 club is, in turn, likely to focus on the likes of Ronny Kaiser (269,600), Irene Baroni (257,600) and Sami Kelopuro (224,800), who are also lurking.
They are all awesome talents and have manoeuvred their way ominously into the top echelons ready to steam further forward tomorrow. That is perfect tournament strategy, of course, and it would be fitting at our newest EPT destination for some of the game's rising stars to make their mark.
Commentators have purred about Kaiser's talents for some while and there has been something particularly smooth about his relentless progression today.
Kaiser enjoyed a good SCOOP on PokerStars a few months back, but even he couldn't come close to Kelopuro's achievement. The man known as Lars_Luzak online took down the SCOOP Main Event and has transferred that rich vein of form to the live environment.
Baroni is also attracting significant attention. Most of her notable results have been in and around her native Italy - the occasional successful forays to nearby Slovenia and Austria notwithstanding. But she has been startling this week: playing like a cross between Annette Obrestad and Dario Minieri, which is a terrifying prospect. This is proving to be Baroni's breakout performance.
Minieri was one of the departed today. Similarly, a roll call of former EPT champions hit the rail. Elder? Out. Stani? Out. Lundmark? Out. Vamplew? Out. Romanello and Mattern? In! Those two remain.
Head to the chip counts, page for the latest score. And you can review the day in video at PokerStars.tv. There's also the level-by-level text and photo option available at any of the links below. Click through grandad.
All photos on PokerStars Blog from Tallinn are ©Neil Stoddart/PokerStars.