We had a hunch since this thing kicked off that the local players wouldn't be afraid to gamble, and today our suspicions were confirmed. A combined total of 182 players survived the two Day 1 heats to make it back to the felt this afternoon and by the end of the day that number was more than quartered.
Just 42 bags were needed to hold players' chips as play was suspended at almost exactly 10 p.m. With the money kicking in at 56, a few players left the Las Vegas Casino here in Budapest with more than just memories to show for their efforts.
The day was marked by big hands and aggressive play, with the single most pivotal pot leaving France's Arnaud Mattern on the rail and Slovakia's Lukas Benkovic with the title of chip leader.
Mattern is no stranger to fans of the EPT, having won the main event in Prague last season. Mattern plays for the decorated Winamax team, and managed to build a big stack before crashing and burning at the hands of Benkovic.
Mattern has never been accused of using a passive strategy. Today we saw what can happen when you play to win and trust your reads to the bitter end.
To make a long story short he got deep in a hand with nothing but ace-king high, putting his opponent on an even weaker holding. When Benkovic shoved on the river Mattern took a long time before making a bold call. His opponent was bluffing but, as is sometimes the case, he was bluffing with the best hand.
The mountainous pot was shipped to Benkovic and Mattern was left to replay the hand over and over in his head.
PL.com's Rod Stirzaker had a chance to speak with the Slovak so make sure to head over and see what he had to say.
While Benkovic took the chip lead with one massive hand there was another player at work building a stack the old-fashioned way, one small pot at a time. Albert Iverson went through the day being referred to by a different name, due to a clerical error by the tournament staff.
That mistake was duly cleared up and Iverson was able to bask in the gentle glow of the limelight under his real name.
When the chips were bagged up and put to bed for the night it was Iverson out in front by a mile with well over $400,000. For the full end-of-day counts click through to the dedicated page.
Sixteen players in all got paid today including PL.com fave Kara Scott. Scott did an admirable job of maneuvering with a short stack and managed to squeak into the cash. We spoke earlier and she expressed the same frustration we all feel when we only make the first rung of the payout ladder. Still, it's a hell of a lot better than not cashing at all.
Day 3 will get going tomorrow at 1 p.m. when the 42 remaining players will battle it out for a spot at the final table. Only eight seats are available so everyone will have to bring their A game to get it done. PokerListings.com will be all over this event like a Hungarian on a bowl of goulash, so stick with us as we play down to a champion.