The conversation around the dinner table last night centred on one crucial question. “If I distract the waiter, do you reckon you can swipe that half-full bottle of wine?”
Once that was settled, and the wine was successfully liberated, the assembled journalists put their collective minds to another pressing quandary: “Has Devilfish really got 120,000 chips?”
At our final sweep of the room last night, with only three hands left to play, Devilfish “Dave” Ulliott confirmed to more than one chip counter that he was sitting with “about 60,000” in chips. When the final “official” chip count made it to our inboxes somewhere between the starter and the main course, Ulliott suddenly had 120,000 beside his name.
Could he really have doubled up an already-huge stack right at the death, or was this a simple administration error? We expected the latter. But we were wrong.
And so we begin day two of EPT Deauville with a very familiar face at the top of the leaderboard. Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott has 120,000 in chips, and there is clear air between him and his closest challengers Jonathan Abdellatif (105,000) and Alessio Isaia (104,500). The man from Hull did manage to win a huge pot away from the gaze of the entire press pack, and that is likely to mean danger for many of the tiddlers swimming into his path today.
But there is a lot of play left in this one. As we prepare now for the start of play, 248 players have reconvened in the grand ballroom of the Casino Barriere. There’s currently a warm murmur of pleasant conversation as future foes grow acquainted, and the all-pervading chatter of chips.
Play will begin imminently and the idea is that we’ll watch another eight one-hour levels today, probably taking us through the money bubble and somewhere close to deciding our champion.
Other names to follow today include Manuel Bevand, Vikash Dhorasoo, Isabelle Mercier, Andrea Benelli, Ivo Donev, Juha Helppi, Joao Barbosa, Mika Paasonen, Surinder Sunar, Mika Puro, Ludovic Lacay, Freddy Deeb and the defending champion Mats Iremark.
The full list of day two players can be found on the starting chip count page.