So vast was the playing field today that until the last few hands of play the identity of the chip leader was largely a mystery, something to be kept secret until tournament officials rub their eyes and get stuck into logging the numbers, scrawled on bags out on the tournament floor, onto a spreadsheet.
But as play ended a short while ago, and order was restored, it was Russian Alexey Rybin’s stack stretching higher into the Riviera night than any of the rest. He bags up 213,100 after today’s nine levels.
His lead is only slight, hoever. Italian Emmanuel Coppola missed Rybin by a mere grand tonight, closing on 212,000 that should make for a comfortable day off.
Chip leader tonight, Alexey Rybin
Behind both of them trail a swarm of pretenders. Serge Medec finished on 184,200, Alexander Wice on 181,700, Igor Kurganov on 162,000 and Evgeniy Zaytsev on 161,000.
The tournament room
Others who bag up well tonight include Andrew Scott (119,900), Isabelle Mercier (106,500), Michel Abecassis (82,100) and EPT Snowfest winner Allan Baekke (81,800).
Needless to say the ranks of Team PokerStars were well represented. While we lost Chad Brown and William Thorson the likes of Jude Ainsworth (down to 4k, up to 110k and then finishing on 62K), Dario Minieri (42,000), Luca Pagano (64,500), Humberto Brenes (51,100) and Arnaud Mattern (29,900) are among the team that’ll be back on Saturday.
Their chip counts and those of all the 275 survivors can be found on the chip count page.
If you want meat to go with those bones you can recap on all of the day’s level-by-level action at the links below.
Tomorrow the day 1b field, likely to be bigger than the 585 field that played today, will take their seats. How many exactly will depend on whether the airports of Europe re-open in time and the plane they were booked to fly to Italy aboard was not taking off, Flash Gordon-like, into a big cloud of Ming’s volcanic ash.
As we write a handful of Team PokerStars Pros are travelling under that cloud, hurtling south across France in a minibus, the driver with orders to get them to the casino on time. Find out whether the likes of Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier and Peter Eastgate make it here by noon, or are still on speaking terms at least, when play starts again tomorrow.
See you then.