Yesterday things were much easier as the close of play loomed. A couple of guys had mighty stacks, easily distinguished from the rest, with Ljubomir Josipovic on top with close to 200,000. Today has been a different story. Put it down to the larger field, bigger names, fatigue or whatever, but no clear day 1b leader has emerged tonight, instead a cavalry charge of stacks made their way to the front. So who will threaten Josipovic most from that list of warriors?
Well, we've been trying to work that out ourselves. With half an hour left to play that was the big question. Who is the chip leader?
"I have Levi on 125k, but he's just lost some," said one colleague.
"I don't think Baekke will be the leader anymore," said another. "I reckon it's between Jim Callopy and Sami Kelopuro. Hang on, John Eames has got 110k and is getting a massage." A clear sign of success.
Jim "Mr_BigQueso" Collopy
"Wait, Jeff Sarwer has got 140k now, and Rob Yong's up to 140,000, he just knocked out Ruthenberg."
See, clear as mud.
So just to get this straight, after another eight levels of EPT Vilamoura, quite a few players are doing well. What we can tell you though is that they include Jeff Sarwer (144,300), Vishal Pundjabi (124,600), Rob Yong (123,000), Amir Pirbazari (124,600) and Jim Collopy (122,400). Not far behind them are the likes of John Eames (110,200), Marco Dalla Tommasino (109,600), Johan van Til (98,000), Team PokerStars Pro newbie JP Kelly (93,000), Christophe Benzimra (90,600), Nicolas Levi (87,300), Julian Thew (83,500) and Team PokerStars Pro Henrique Pinho (82,000).
So yes, we're calling this one for Sarwer. And you'll find confirmation and a clearer picture of everyone else on the official chip count page.
Day 1b chip leader Jeff Sarwer
We also know that their success came at the expense of many players familiar to followers of the tour. The Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Rousso, Dario Minieri and Peter Eastgate were seated at the same table first thing, but each would be rail bound before the day's half way point. Joining them there was Carter Phillips, Huck Seed, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Pascal Perrault, George Danzer, Marcin Horecki and Juan Maceiras. ElkY would also vanish in a glittery puff of smoke, seen off by Jeff Sarwer.
Team PokerStars Pro Peter Eastgate
But while there were losses for Team PokerStars Pro there was room for the odd success story. Luca Pagano, Jan Heitmann, Alex Kravchenko, Johannes Strassmann, Juan Manuel Pastor and newcomer Jude Ainsworth all bag up chips tonight for a return tomorrow. It should make for interesting times as the two day one flights unite to do it all again.
The full chip counts of the remaining players from day 1b are over on the chip count page, giving the full scores for each of the 101 players that survived from the 186 who started today. They're playing for a piece of the €1,561,700 prize pool and a first prize of €404,793; the payouts before that are detailed on the payout structure page.
There are video blogs to keep you busy in the meantime over at PokerStars.tv and thanks to Neil Stoddart, hands tied by legal restrictions, who used his feet to bring us all of today's photography.
You can catch up on all of the day's action at the links below:
Jan Heitmann - 24,100. That's the spirit
Play resumes tomorrow for day two at 12 noon. We'll see you then.