With alternates allowed in the first three levels they ended up getting a whopping 309 entrants by the time the fourth level ensued on this Day 1b.
Add that to Day 1a and what you get is the fact more than 600 people ponied up the £5,200 for a shot at an EPT title here in London. So while the housing and stock markets crash the world over, poker in Europe is as healthier than it has ever been - and apparently as maniacally laggy.
Three hundred and nine came, but in just nine levels with more than enough play considering the $10k starting stacks, only 84 survived, suggesting once again that the Euros shipped it with such vim and vigor they can only be proclaimed classic Euro-donks willing to ship it bad with any two at a moment's notice.
And all this despite the presence of some of the best in the game, including that Phil Ivey kid to your right, who managed to catch a cooler on the way out halfway through.
While the EPT has yet to release the prize pool info, inside sources tell us they are sticking to that £1 million guaranteed first-place prize, and just doing the math on how the better-than-£3 million prize pool will be split between 56 places. No real word on whether the £250,000 add-on is still in effect, but we are told that said math should be available in the a.m. and are holding our collective breath in anticipation.
More players on Day 1b meant more chips in play and three players you've probably never heard of used the opportunity to build stacks bigger than anyone on both Day 1's. As a result, these three will head into play on Day 2 looking to prove they're more than just a Day 1 flash in the plan.
All three were hovering around the $130k mark as play wrapped, but with $179k in career tournament earnings - highlighted by a $75k win in Russia back in 2007 - Turkish rounder Huseyin Yilmaz is the most experienced.
Swede Erik Sjodin and French Canadian Philippe D'Auteuil look about as green as the grass in Hyde Park, but should be looking to start a couple of impressive live poker resumes with deep finishes here.
Fret not, though, high-stakes poker fans, you silly little monkeys: there were a couple of superstars who ended the day with stacks lurking in the weeds behind these nameless and faceless chip bosses.
The Prince of Poker, one Scotty "Cocktail" Nguyen, was ordering ice water today and grabbed enough chips to make a difference, while 2007 EPT Baden winner Julian Thew is back at it again here in London, sitting on enough to make his opinion on who will win this thing definitely count.
Familiar names like Team PokerStars Pros Barry Greenstein and Isabelle Mercier, plus online British stud Chris Moorman, November Niner Peter Eastgate, Full Tilt's Roland De Wolfe, Erik Seidel and Survivor Jean-Robert Bellande all ... survived as well.
While we battled the tight space between tables all day at The Vic and the 18-mile hike to the pit of a pressroom to witness at least two or three others (we swear), only one poker hand truly deserves mention in the PL.com recap tonight. Football legend Teddy Sheringham laid claim to a $45k pot in this one, and Teddy will surely grab headlines here in the U.K. should he use those chips for an even deeper run as the event moves on.
The former Man U striker and hero to a football-loving nation got himself embroiled in a multiway limped pot where he actually flopped quads and had the poker sense to check it. A player who'd flopped kings-full also checked, and when a third turned aces-full he joined the checking party as well. Needless to say, there were more than a few fireworks on the river before the loot was shipped to the soccer guy and the others hit the rail.
Sheringham and the other 83 who survived the day will join the 77 from Day 1a to make up a 161-player field starting play on Day 2 just after 1:30 p.m. London time tomorrow.
Despite our plans to drink beer as thick as molasses and eat steak-and-onion-flavored crisps until daybreak in a Paddington pub that never closes, PL.com will be there from start to finish.