We have spent the best part of this season trying to downplay the importance of an early chip-lead. Day one leaders almost never make the money and even less frequently reach the final table. Don’t get excited until the bubble bursts, we insist.
At about the mid-point of day two of EPT9 Berlin today we could have pointed in the direction of Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi and said: “There. That’s what we’re talking about.”
Mizrachi, who this time yesterday was bagging up the most chips of anyone from a bumper Day 1B field, was sent to the rail in the fourth level of play today, about 24 hours short of making the money. He was sent packing with the nut flush against the turned full house of Khiem Nguyen, a hand that put the young German player temporarily into the box seat.
But even Nguyen couldn’t cling on at the front. Almost nobody ever can. It’s why Aku Joentausta may expect to sleep well tonight but won’t be making any firm plans to buy an €880,000 mansion. He is our day two overnight leader, with 751,300, but there is still a long, long way to go until this one is a wrap.
Joentausta is most familiar to anyone who was at EPT Barcelona earlier this season, where he finished in 14th for slightly more than €40,000. But he has been collecting the cashes in smaller tournaments pretty steadily since then and purred through the six levels of play today.
Finns have ice in their blood, which is precisely the right diagnosis for success in this game. Ronny Voth (526,100) is not only breathing down Joentausta’s neck, but is also trying to disprove the whole “discount the day one leader” thing. He was out front at the beginning of Day 1A, and is now second over all.
Nguyen is still up there. He has 490,800, and there will also be the likes of Lukasz Golczyk (448,200), Dominik Nitsche (434,600), Eilert Eilertsen (383,600) and the defending champion Davidi Kitai (282,100) to contend with tomorrow.
The tennis star Boris Becker is the most familiar name among a chasing pack of approximately 175 players. Becker still only has one in-the-money finish on the European Poker Tour, but has put himself in a solid position to make that two tomorrow, in his home event. Becker has 113,000 chips, which is right about the average.
Other notable stacks include:
Jan Bendik – 175,000
Theo Jorgensen – 171,600
Olivier Busquet – 170,000
Alex Kravchenko – 135,000
Pratyush Buddiga – 134,900
Toni Judet – 96,000
Liv Boeree – 85,400
Mickey Petersen – 60,100
Nicolas Chouity – 2,000
Meanwhile the only thing that Max Lykov, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Eugene Katchalov, Jeff Hakim, Moritz Kranich, Ivan Demidov, Martin Jacobson, Lucian Cohen, Tobias Reinkemeier, Mattias De Meulder, Benny Spindler, Jake Cody, Dimitar Danchev, Zimnan Ziyard, Cengiz Ulusu, Anton Wigg and Vanessa Selbst have in common tonight is that they are out. None of them could make it through the day.
Play finished 15 minutes ahead of schedule today — we sacrificed the last break — in order to allow players and reporters alike to watch the Bayern Munich v Barcelona Champions League semi-final, and we suggest you do the same.
But when you return, you can review at your leisure all of our coverage today, which included all of the following:
Eilert Eilertsen on beer, football and poker
The European Poker Tour – The Musical!
Jan Bendik heads PoY race, but who knows if he knows it?
Season nine cupboard bare for UK, USA and Germany
Getting philosophical: If no one sees a player eliminated, is he really out?
Mark “RenRab 01” Darner on his first EPT
The science of choosing a TV table
Don’t forget, full chip-counts will be available in the panel at the top of the main EPT Berlin page as and when we know them. And here’s some video entertainment from PokerStars.tv:
There’s all the action from the side events on the side events page. Other than that, nothing. You’re all dismissed.