While the last two years have seen this season finale taken down by a non-European invader, in the persons of Jeff Williams and Gavin Griffin, things are shaping up a little differently so far here in the Principality of Monaco this time around.
Cyril Bensoussan of France got things started today as king of the hill with $128,300, a number that seems paltry when compared to the mountains that were amassed before the clock had run out on the last level of the night.
Two names synonymous with Scandinavian poker jumped out to the lead and were neck and neck for much of the day. Johnny Lodden and Andreas Hagen both accumulated their mammoth towers through their usual combination of constant pressure and well-timed aggression. The cards played along and, along with their innate Scandinavian mania, Lodden and Hagen controlled the action at their respective tables like a talented Norwegian chef preparing a tasty plate of traditional gravlaks.
As the hours ticked by a few other big names caught up with these two, challenging them for a share of the chip lead. Fellow Scandie young gun Borge Dypvik, whom PL.com has followed with interest for some time, is a relentlessly aggressive player and managed to use that aggression to relieve more than a few players of their stacks.
WSOP Main Event winner Joe Hachem, who has left absolutely no question to his talent after winning one of the biggest WPT events ever on Season 5, is also wielding a big stack going forward and could follow in Gavin Griffin's footsteps and become the first player to win a WSOP bracelet, a WPT event and an EPT title with a win in this event.
Mighty Joe Hachem wasn't the only Team PokerStars Pro to finish the night well-chipped though as Italy's Luca Pagano played solidly throughout the day to put himself in a great spot going into Day 3.
There was one player who managed to evade detection until the sheer size of his stack overrode his discretion. Oyvind Riisen, yet another Norwegian, rocketed past the rest of the field and finished the day with over $400,000.
The only time Riisen has shown up on the PL.com radar was when he made a huge finish at the inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event, taking down fourth-place honors and around $500,000.
It takes a few hours for the tournament staff to tabulate the chip counts and hand them over to PokerStars, who subsequently give them to us for posting, so while we can't say it's 100% for sure, we can predict with confidence that Riisen is the chip leader going forward.
As always PL.com is doing what has to be done to make your EPT Grand Final experience as enjoyable as possible. For your delight today we've conducted an interview with one of the finest tournament players the Internet has to offer, Daniel "THE__D__RY" Ryan. Click through to hear what he has to say about where's he's been and where he's going in the world of poker.
With the players tucked in for the night, just like their chips which are resting in their cozy plastic comforters, PL.com is free to spend a few minutes relaxing before hitting the hay ourselves to get ready to do it all over again tomorrow. We know how desperate you are for your poker fix so if you can't keep the monkey off your back for the next 12 hours simply click through to our Live Tournaments home where you'll find links to Live Updates and everything else PL.com has to offer. Nighty-night!