When we started today the general consensus was that we wouldn't get anywhere near the last 32 player stage, which is what is usually expected on day two of an EPT. All the hallmarks of a long day in the saddle were plain to see: nearly 250 players and a money bubble for starters. But like Mother Nature restoring balance even under the most extreme conditions, today only varied slightly in its task of getting to the money and beyond. From the field of players returning at noon only 47 remained at the close of play.
To a man and woman each of those eliminations takes with it a story, if not cash compensation. The former EPT runner up Gino Alacqua, the Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso, the former finalist Ludovic Lacay and the last Deauville champion Mats Iremark all left empty handed. Their stories will go largely unheard as the nature of the game means that those remaining monopolise our attention.
Of those still left, the German player Moritz Kranich is most heavily-laden with chips. He had more than 550,000 at the end of the day.
The French EPT veteran Michel Abecassis will also return in a strong position, finishing today with chips to the eyeballs. (That's roughly 300,000.) Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott began the day in top spot and signed off still in good shape to win his third major poker title in as many weeks.
Elsewhere Isabelle Mercier and Rousso flew the flag for PokerStars from the off. Rousso crashed out early, unable to boost her meagre few grand, leaving only Mercier. She made it into the money, only buckling after the bubble burst, all-in with ace-king against pocket kings, good for €6,225.
Others cashing included Surinder Sunar (62nd), Gabriel Nassif (60th), Freddy Deeb (56th), Ricardo Sousa (58th), and one of the early leader Guillame De La Gorse (53rd) and PokerStars player Olivier Busquet (51st).
Last of the former champions to bust today was the EPT Warsaw winner Joao Barbosa. We'll have to wait until Copenhagen next month before another champ can have a run at it but Barbosa's cash today is one to be saluted. It was his fifth in seven EPTs, one of which he won. Cancel the print run on Newcomer of the Year ballot papers.
So who does that leave?
Favourites will be Kranich, Ulliott and Abecassis for both reputation and volume of chips. But Alessio Isaia, Vikash Dhorasso and Ivo Donev will not be ruling themselves out after a night of rest and some exposure to the chill of the English Channel on the short walk back to the hotel.
You can read back through all today's posts, which include details of Barbosa's efforts, appearance of 120,000 chips in front of Dave Ulliott this morning and all sorts of other snippets at the links below:
All still photography on this blog comes © Neil Stoddart.
Until tomorrow, when we play to a final table, good night from Deauville.