The day began with a field of 192 survivors from Days 1a and 1b taking to the tables at noon Czech time for a total-field consolidation. Leading the pack was chipleader Stephen Devlin, who with $122,200 found himself nicely ahead of runners-up Adrian Koy ($115,500) and Maciej Mazur ($104,300), with the next highest stacks hovering just below the $80,000 mark.
Also in contention after the first day of play were the likes of Rob Hollink would hit the bricks early in Level 10 when his pocket aces were cracked by Martin Wendt, who cold-called his way to trip nines and finally took the last of the George Bluth of poker's chips with an all-in re-raise on Fourth Street. Hollink would be joined in oblivion by one Rolf Slotboom, the Energizer Bunny of the event who'd finally run out of batteries when his K♠ J♠ failed to improve against Gerd Mueller's A♣ T♣.
The elimination of Czech chess champion Pavel Blatny midway through Level 11 would reduce the field to the century mark, while Martin Wendt's elimination a half-hour later with KJo against Nicolas Laikos' pocket queens would pare the field down to an even ninety. Then the Spaniards took over.
First it was Luis Sevilla, who played fast and loose poker at a table that included Canadian Leo Kam and Hit Squad member and all around hard geezer Praz Bansi. Bansi would meet his demise at Sevilla's hand, losing close to $120,000 in two hands after folding to a $22,000 flop bet on a king-high board in the first round and then shoving for his last $60,000 with K♠ 4♥ against Sevilla's A♠ K♥ and watching the predictable occur on the board.
Sevilla's countryman Jose Navarro would continue the Spanish domination in a huge hand with Day 1 chipleader Stephen Devlin. As it all went down, Navarro raised preflop to $7,000 and saw Devlin re-pop to $20,000. Navarro smooth-called and the flop came 9♥ 8♦ 5♦, prompting an $18,000 wager from the Spaniard and an all-in move for $156,000 from the Brit. Navarro snap-called with a set of fives and saw Devlin turn up J♦ 6♦ for the diamond draw, but the turn ended things prematurely when it brought the case five, giving Navarro quads, a $400,000 stack and full rights to the chip lead while Devlin made his sad sack way to the rail.
In the meantime, the likes of Dag Martin Mikkelsen, Bjorn-Andre Kildalen (busted against Sevilla, who hit runner-runner with A-3 to make a wheel and crack Kildalen's pocket tens) and Leo Kam were forced to retire due to lack of chips and the constant stream of eliminations meant the money bubble was looming.
It loomed for about fifteen minutes and then it was broken, with tournament organizers not even through announcing the beginning of hand-for-hand play when Nichlas Saarisilta moved all-in for his last $28,000 with pocket sixes and Tobias Reinkemeier made the call with K♠ J♣. The board came 9♦ 8♠ 2♥ J♥ K♥ and just like that, 56 survivors were guaranteed a payday.
On the outside looking in was Bertrand Grospellier, who'd fallen to Reinkemeier a few minutes earlier when he got all-in with A-J and was Funke'd by Tobias' A-Q. Grospellier had made a decent run of it on Day 2, having begun the day with barely $15,500 in chips and making it last a lot longer than lesser players would have managed, but the Frenchman still heads back to the world of professional video gaming empty handed on this night.
The bursting of the money-bubble did nothing to slow the enthusiasm of the field for getting all of their chips in the middle, with Oyvind Roysem, Gerd Mueller and Yann Monnier hitting the bricks before Magnus Petersson met his untimely demise, all-in with the ubiquitous K-4 (on this day, anyway: the hand that busted Praz Bansi also spelled doom for Alec Torelli) against an opponent's A-J and the victim of a jack on the flop. Petersson, Roysem, Mueller and Monnier all earned €6,380 for their time.
William Fitzpatrick, the aforementioned Reinkemeier, Britt Petersen and Kai Are Hauge would find themselves amongst the ranks of the departed as the day drew to a close, and in the waning moments those numbers swelled to include one Yannic Mulder, cult-favorite of the Dutch and a spirited young pro who saw his stack dwindle to scratch before shoving with sixes against Thierry Labat's pocket jacks. No help came on the board and Mulder was out just as the day concluded, left to watch the surviving 32 players bag and tag as he himself collected an €8,850 check (or is that Czech, har-har).
Of those 32 survivors, among the most ballingest are Dag Palovic, Mikael Norinder, Jose Navarro, Kristian Kjondal and Arnaud Mattern. Official chip counts haven't been provided by EPT staff at the time of this writing but we'll have them up before the start of play tomorrow. Action resumes at noon Central European time and will last until a final table of eight has been established. As always, PokerListings.com is your source for comprehensive coverage and atrocious puns alike. Goodnight!