Gianluca Speranza leads the pack after Day 2 of the Slovenia stop on the World Poker Tour (WPT) Season X calendar at Casino Portorož as he chases the top prize of €144,399 (£127,350/$204,670).
Italian Speranza holds 421,700 in chips going into Day 3 of the €3,000+€300 (£2,645/$4,252+£264.50/$425.20) buy-in main event in Slovenia as the tour makes its second stop on the schedule following May’s WPT Spanish Championship in Barcelona.
With 26 surviving the opening two days from a starting field of 141 – to create a prize pool of €462,000 (£407,384/$655,100) – Speranza is closely followed in second place by Austrian Manuel Blaschke on 393,300 chips.
Englishman Thomas Macdonald (296,200), Romania’s Ionut Florin Pandilica (286,600) and Armando Graziano (240,100), of Italy, make up the top five ahead of today’s third day, with the average stack sitting at about 163,000.
A total of 84 players made it through the two Day 1 flights, but Middle East Poker champion Dominik Nitsche – who had started the day as chip leader – was unable to retain his tournament life when the German ran into Austrian Manuel Blaschke’s pocket aces just after the lunch break.
Players such as Toby Lewis and Benjamin Piquet were also eliminated on Day 2, but some of the more notable survivors include Tony G, Casey Kastle, Marcello Marigliano and John Eames.
The biggest hand arrived late in the afternoon when Speranza called British professional Toby Lewis’ three-bet with 9-8 offsuit and then proceeded to secure a straight to lift the Italian to 280,000 chips.
That proved to be the boost Speranza needed to begin his charge to the top as he ended Day 2 as chip leader.
Just 14 players will make the money, so 12 more will have to be eliminated before anyone is guaranteed at least €7,500 (£6,617/$10,635).
The eventual winner will leave with a prize package worth approximately €144,399, which includes a buy-in to the WPT Championship at The Bellagio in Las Vegas worth €25,000 (£22,057/$35,463).
Top 10 chip leaders after Day 2 of the WPT Slovenia:
1. Gianluca Speranza (Italy) – 421,700
2. Manuel Blaschke (Austria) – 393,300
3. Thomas Macdonald (UK) – 296,200
4. Ionut Florin Pandilica (Romania) – 286,600
5. Armando Graziano (Italy) – 240,100
6. Domantas Klimciauskas (Lithuania) – 240,100
7. John Eames (UK) – 227,700
8. Valentin Stroiescu (Romania) – 210,600
9. Dan Hila (Romania) – 171,200
10. Johan Patrick Hirvonen (Finland) – 154,000