One hundred and seventy players in all made it to the start of the day and they were distributed, nine to a table, throughout the tournament room. The plan was to play eight more levels or down to 40 players, whichever came first. In the end we would reach both those goals almost simultaneously.
As things got under way players' stacks ran the gamut from very big to almost nonexistent. Peter Eastgate and Ola Brandborn were leading the charge with a sizable advantage over their nearest competition but, as in every tournament, a lead on Day 2 doesn't guarantee victory, or even a spot in the money.
For whatever reason, it seems a multitude of players tighten up toward the end of Day 1. Whether they want to say they made it through the day or they actually believe a short stack coming into Day 2 is a profitable situation we can't say. One thing is for sure though, when the cards hit the felt this afternoon those very same tight players became shove-machines, creating more all-ins and eliminations than the combined army of media was able to record.
Rising to the top like so much proverbial cream were a few players lucky enough to occupy the position of chip leader, however fleeting the experience may have been. Some lasted only momentarily on the throne while a few were able to weather the repeated uprisings of the masses of short stacks to maintain their stranglehold on this tournament.
Joe Serock was one of the latter. Beginning the day in the top half of the chip counts with $35,200, he was able to chip up by employing an extremely aggressive strategy. Scandinavians are known for their aggressiveness, especially pre-flop, but Serock was still able to show them a thing or two about maniacal behavior.
Joe Serock, who has apparently been beset for the entirety of his poker career by the glory-seeking imposter known as Joe Sebok, finally put together an instructional site to clear up this misunderstanding. As it turns out, according to Serock's site, Joe Sebok is not actually the son of Barry Greenstein or the one who has made an astonishing amount of money in the short time he's played tournament poker.
In truth, it seems Joe Serock is actually the one to whom these glories belong. We here at PL.com would like to sincerely apologize for all these years of misappropriated coverage of Joe Sebok. Seebz, you should be ashamed of yourself.
In other news the most vocal member of the tournament field, Leroy Soesman, came to be at this tournament through an interesting turn of events. Winner of some sort of poker/Fear Factor mash-up game show they have in Holland, Leroy won a $160,000 package, which has allowed him to freeroll at big-buy-in events all over the world.
To hear how he did it, straight from Leroy himself, check out the exclusive PL.com interview conducted by the intrepid Martin Derbyshire.
Overtaking Serock late in the evening, seeming to come out of nowhere, was Rasmus Nielsen. The first player to break the $300,000 mark, Nielsen finished the day in first place with $295,500.
Each and every one of the 39 remaining players, regardless of stack size, will be returning tomorrow to play down to the final table. As always on the EPT we'll have a TV table of eight with the tables staying eight-handed or less until we get to the final nine players. At this point we'll merge to the nine-handed final table which precedes the television table. If that doesn't make sense now just stay tuned and it will all become clear as it happens.
While the record for the biggest poker prize pool in Scandinavian history was broken when this event sold out, one more record was shattered here tonight. Team Pokerstars pro Luca Pagano made it into the money, bringing his total number of EPT cashes to eight, the most anyone has been able to accumulate so far on the tour.
For a full rundown of where the field stands in terms of chips, simply click through to our Live Updates and scroll down the page. Also on that page is a detailed accounting of all the action we bore witness to today.
Action will be back under way tomorrow at 2 p.m. (CET) and, as always, we expect you all to be there with us. That's 5 a.m. for everyone on the West Coast of North America so we suggest going to sleep as soon as possible. By the end of the day we'll have our final eight and a clear picture of who has a shot at taking down this EPT title, as well as the first-place cash flow.