UKIPT Nottingham: Atwal again at top of the Notts charts
No one ever really minds precisely how they win a poker tournament. The big comedy cardboard cheque in their mitts is the substance that supersedes the style.
But going pillar to post, leading on every day, definitely earns some extra credit, and here in Nottingham, Aman Atwal could pull off that coup. The leader at the end of day one has just wrapped day two and is still at the top of the charts.
Atwal has 386,000, which is a chunk bigger than any of his challengers. "I lost five races today but just said nice hand, got my head down, didn't tilt and got on with it," Atwal said. "I've cruised really."
Paul Ephremsen, with 363,500, is his closest challenger. Ephremsen has been updating his Twitter followers of his progress all day, and you should hop over to @PaulEphremsen for those details.
The rest of day two was eight hours of big-stack bullying, followed by a sustained period of agonised clinging on. The bullying part helped us trim a starting field of 279 so rapidly that officials decided to bring forward the final table by a whole day. The knock-on effect was that period of clinging on as the bubble approached: the fear of leaving with nothing meant action slowed to a crawl.
Eventually, of course, the fragile membrane gave way and Cong Bo Le was the player to leave in 73rd. He took a big fat zilch away from two day's intense concentration and could only watch as the remaining 72 shook hands, applauded and began bagging their chips, all at least £850 richer.
Amid all these histrionics, the dominant stacks looked on in perfect calm. In addition to Atwal and Ephremsen, Oliver Schaffmann (313,500), Parminder Kandola (304,000) and Nicholas Gavriel (298,500) will sleep well tonight. They are the top dogs; the complete list is over on the chip count page.
The slight change in schedule means that tomorrow we will play from 72 down to a final table of nine. At today's rate, that would probably take about 15 minutes, but things are sure to slow dramatically as the big money looms into view. Remind yourself what they're playing for with a glance at the payout structure page.
We lost a lot of good folk, including the last Team PokerStars Pro, Julian Thew, plus Marty Wilson, Rumit Somaiya, Jonathan Raab, Natasha Ellis and Sam Grafton. Oh, and Marc "The Conv" Convey.
Join us tomorrow at noon for that race into the deep cash. And relive today's action with any of the level-by-level updates, the links to which you can see below.
There are plenty of videos over at PokerStars.tv, which you should enjoy. You'd be a fool not to click.