Last night, as Day 1B was ending, Roberto Romanello appeared to be the chip leader. Racing ahead of the competition, wearing a red and white striped headband with a spiky grey wig sticking out of the top, he was easy to spot from a distance of up to 50 yards, and his chip stack was a tower of multi-colour.
Then at the last minute, after most players had already drifted out for the night and the typewriters of media row stopped hammering, Dirk Richter was declared leader in front of stunned witnesses. From out of nowhere the German had amassed a stack of 296,700 within three hands of the bell, some 100,000 ahead. It was he that would lead the field into Day 2, not Romanello.
Well, Richter will lead going into Day 3 as well after another good day at the baize. Only this time we saw him coming.
Chip leader, Dirk Richter
This is all new to the German. Richter is playing the biggest event of his career since the live satellite he played two days ago, in which he won a seat to the main event. He led from start to finish today, bagging up 593,000 tonight, pursued, once more, by the Welshman Romanello. He kept the wig, and kept also the equally trademarkable eagerness, despite losing a huge pot early on. He finished second in chips with 566,000, ahead of third-placed Antonio Palma on 545,000.
While the snow fell all day outside, inside EPT Prague inched towards the money. With 80 players finishing to be paid the scheduled six levels would take us close, but not quite close enough. It means of the 93 players who return tomorrow, 13 of them will be leaving empty-handed.
Chips. And a train
Already left with that fate are the 160 players eliminated today, the lucky ones busting in time to register for the $2,000 side event.
Among them were the likes of Praz Bansi, Fatima Moreira de Melo, Theo Jorgensen and Laurence Houghton, as well as Florian Langmann and Michael Keiner, along with former EPT champions Joao Barbosa, Kent Lundmark, Christophe Benzimra, and within sight of the finish, Liv Boeree, who’s full house was busted by Josh Prager’s quad kings..
Fans of EPT trivia will have plenty to get their teeth into as Day 3 unfolds. Still on course for an it’s-about-time-someone-put-this-record-to-bed second title are Kevin Stani, Rob Hollink, Toby Lewis, Kevin MacPhee and former Prague champion Salvatore Bonavena, while Luca Pagano is a few places away from a 17th EPT cash.
For black belt anoraks there’s another deep run — an example to us all — Pierre Neuville and one last hat-tip to Karl Heinz Kloser, the 26th-placed finisher here last season. He’s back, and his tactic of open shoving has proven effective once more. He’ll make another well-earned run on the money tomorrow.
We’ll also see the return of husband and wife team Josh and Helen Prager, as well as Matt Affleck, Dominik Nitsche, Marcin Horecki and Tobias Reinkemeier.
Full counts for all of the above are available on our chip count page, while pictures and updates from all of today’s action can be found at the links below.
Play continues tomorrow when the field will be reduced to just 24 on Day 3 of EPT Prague. In the meantime allow us to point you in the direction of our foreign bloggers; Wo ist der Pub?, Een bier alsjeblieft, and denominilo un tassi. Our thanks also to photographer Neil Stoddart who spent some of the day working on his Christmas card range.
Best stay indoors
We’ll be back at 12 noon local time tomorrow. Until then it’s good night from Prague.