EPT Deauville: Day two done

At around 7pm this evening, media row might have been mistaken for the place to be. It resolutely isn't - let's get that clear - but in quick succession we had visits from the World Champion Peter Eastgate and then Luca Pagano, the record holder for cashes on the European Poker Tour.

Each, unfortunately, was describing their exit from day 1B of EPT Deauville, a day that began with 343 players, finished with only 134, and sent a dense smattering of stars out into the crisp French night, their quest for an €850,000 first prize at its end.

Forming glittering constellations across Normandy tonight are the likes of Dario Minieri, Julian Thew, Gavin Griffin, Salvatore Bonavena, Jan Boubli, Antony Lellouche, Andy Black, Davidi Kitai, Maria Mayrinck, Noah Boeken and Jon Van Fleet. None could make it through the day.

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Dario Minieri cast into the shadows

Other established stars such as Mats Iremark, Freddy Deeb and Stephen Chidwick made the cut, but none has made themselves the kind of big stack they more comfortably sit behind.

That's because we have discovered another huge pool of poker stars today in Deauville, many of them as yet unheralded, and plenty of them French. Despite being exiled from the EPT for three years, representatives of the home nation have clearly been saving their Euros and honing their game ahead of this week's assault on the record books. More than half of today's field were from France, and a good chunk have prospered in Normandy.

The top of the overnight leaderboard looks like being a scrap between eight or nine players. Alessio Isaia, Joep van den Bijgaart, Pawel Chmiel, JB Bot, Ivo Donev, Michael Fratty, Cedric Valette and Tristan Clemencon all have in the region of 50,000-60,000.

There's also a shark in the hunt: David "Devilfish" Ulliott has brought his hot streak to Deauville and has something like 58,000 in the tank tonight.

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David Ulliott

Each will bring those chips back tomorrow as we merge the surviving players from the two opening days. Jonathan Abdellatif (105,000), Guillaume De La Gorce (79,800) and Manuel Bevand (72,500) will carry their huge stacks to the summit to the combined counts.

Refresh your memory - or discover a whole new world - with our selection of shiny hyperlinks detailing today's play:

All still photography on this blog comes © Neil Stoddart, or "Anti Toddlers" as an online anagram creator spat out today.

Bon soir from Deauville. We'll be sailing back to town tomorrow.

Stop press: Such are the vagaries -- the beautiful vagaries -- of tournament poker that we can even write this update. Three hands before what you read below was published, it was entirely accurate. But in the time it took us to formulate the paragraphs below, they were rendered irrelevant. In the final couple of hands of day 1B, Dave Ulliott managed to double the huge stack he already had into the tournament chip-leading 120,000 chips. He's our overnight leader and no mistake. Below you'll find what we wrote before we knew that that was true. Apologies, etc.