A banner Day 1b at the 2013 Battle of Malta is done with a record-setting field and a massive prize pool setting the scene for a big finish.
After a surprising 417 entries on Day 1a a sold-out Day 1b packed the Portomaso Casino to capacity with another 471 runners squeezing onto the tables.
All told it made for a record-breaking 888-player field, a €440,000 prize pool and a likely €80k+ first-place prize.
Norwegian Roar Aspas has the unofficial chip lead at 275,000 heading into Day 2 but full chip counts for the combined field are still to be determined.
Pesonen, Lovgren, Kihara, Jukka Dudeson Advance
PKR pro Sofia Lövgren.
Among the massive field today were several notable names including Dan "Jungleman12" Cates, Kara Scott, Sam Holden, Lauri Pesonen, Naoya Kihara, Nicolau Villa-Lobos, Luca Moschitta and Sofia Lövgren among them.
Results were mixed, though, with Cates, Scott, Holden, Moschitta and Villa-Lobos hitting the rail.
Kihara and Lövgren, however, are through to Day 2 with Lövgren on about 63k and Kihara at last check near 80k. Pesonen also finished strong on 139k.
Three members of MTV phenoms The Dudesons also hit the tables today with Jukka the only one to survive on 101k.
Today's survivors join the survivors from Day 1a tomorrow including Andreas Hoivold and Day 1a chip leader Dario Amato.
The 251 remaining players will get back at it at 1 p.m. local time and push as close to a final table as they can.
Check our live updates here for a recap of all the action; watch our Spirit of Poker Awards presentation from today below:
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