There was a brilliant sideshow going on today in Casino Hohensyburg. While the cabaret of singers, dancers, gymnasts and burlesque performers took their well-earned occasional break, 358 poker players anted up €5,000 and squeezed in eight levels of an EPT event.

And in those brief moments when the lights were up and the room was not throbbing to the beat of Abba’s “The Winner Takes It All”, those poker players were taking their first steps towards determining exactly who would be that blessed individual vaunted by Benny, Bjorn, Frida and Agneta.

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At final count, there are still 140 of today’s players in with a chance after a characteristically remorseless cull of this day 1b field. As ever, there was a scant regard for reputation among the throngs: one of the first players to hit the rail, for instance, was the reigning EPT Prague champion Salvatore Bonavena, and by the time we took dinner he had been joined on the sidelines by the esteemed likes of Dario Minieri, Peter Eastgate, Jesper Hougaard and Clonie Gowan.

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Clonie Gowan

Although they made it to the buffet, Bertrand Grospellier, Noah Boeken, Stephen Chidwick, Danny Ryan and Ramzi Jelassi didn’t make it to curtain-down. And as night turned into early morning, Katja Thater, Frederic Hostrup, Marcel Luske and Jonas Molander also drifted off into the darkness. The Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano was the only one from that familiar band to make it through the day.

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Luca Pagano

The frontrunners tonight seem to include the World Series bracelet winner Max Pescatori and last year’s sensational EPT Dortmund champion Mike McDonald. The young Canadian scooped a huge pot late in the day to rocket past 60,000.

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Mike McDonald

Even that is about 30,000 short of a man named named Marco Noll, who might be our chip leader with around 90,000.

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Marco Noll

Similar names for the future such as Jan Radow, Ville Haavisto and Peter Bueermann are also right up there and challenging. Our chip count page shows the approximate counts for some notable players taken in the dying moments of today. The full official count will appear there overnight, as and when it is provided by tournament staff.

It’s also been a great day all round for Florian Langmann. The young German first came to prominence when he finished runner up to Joseph Mouawad at EPT London on season four. And today he was formerly welcomed onto the team of PokerStars ShootingStars, which includes only the finest talents from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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Florian Langmann

Langmann also bagged up close to 40,000 chips, and will join his new team-mates George Danzer, Jan Heitmann, Sandra Naujoks, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Johannes Strassmann in tomorrow’s draw.

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Sandra Naujoks

All of those six will look to play a major part as the survivors from two tiers converge tomorrow, for a day when we might even play down through the money bubble. Another eight levels are planned for Thursday in the Ruhr region, and I dare say the dancing girls might even make a return.

Join us at 2pm local time as the action hots up. And by all means take a look back on today’s action by clicking any of these neat, underlined headlines.

Once more into the wood
Deja vu all over again
The views in brief
Best men and bridesmaids
In the frame
Italiano und Deutsch
Man overboard
All is well
Auf video
All change please
Eastgate shown the door
Kyllonen misses the show
It’s been grand
Outs and ins
Everything’s changing
Yelp! Whimper. Silence

There’s also German action in Swedish, German action in Dutch and German action in German courtesy of our various language-speaking bloggers. And moving pictures are always available at PokerStars.tv.

All static images come from the lens of Neil Stoddart.

Gutte nacht.

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