Young Spaniard Oscar Lima heads into Day 2 of the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Tallinn €4,250 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’em main event as chip leader after topping the leaderboard from Day 1B in Estonia.
The 23-year-old from Zaragoza was joined by 189 other starters for Day 1’s second string to bring the event total to 282, which is significantly lower than the 420 players who lined up for last year’s main event in the capital city.
However, online specialist Lima – who made a late charge to build up his stack at the sumptuous Swissotel – begins today’s Day 2 on 132,000 chips, with experienced Finn Jani Sointula, who is an EPT regular, second on 123,950 as 60 players hit the rail.
Russian duo Anatolii Ozhenilok (108,125) and Maksim Kolosov (102,725) – the Day 1A chip leader – as well as Belarussian Sergy Pilugin (101,650) make up the top five in a field that attracted entrants from 40 countries.
Five former EPT winners started Day 1B, but only Kevin Stani and Jens Kyllonen survived as Toby Lewis, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Michael Tureniec crashed out early.
Stani and Kyllonen join another batch of former EPT main event champions from Day 1A in Rupert Elder, Roberto Romanello, Kent Lundmark, David Vamplew and Arnaud Mattern.
Meanwhile, Lima moved along quietly for the majority of the day, but will be a target for many entrants this afternoon.
Incredibly, this is his first EPT event – and the only reason he chose this poker tournament to make his debut is because it’s the opener on the tour’s eighth season.
Sointula regularly plays at the world’s biggest poker tournaments and built his starting stack of 30,000 up to 77,000 by the close of level two, before leaping up the leaderboard into second spot ahead of the tournament director announcing the end of play.
The Finnish star may not have won an EPT title, but did secure a runner-up spot to Argentinian Nacho Barbero in last year’s £20,000 High Roller Event at EPT London.
A total of 198 players return for Day 2 in this year’s European City of Culture, with the likes of Team PokerStars Pros JP Kelly, Ville Wahlbeck and Dario Minieri joining team-mates Marcin Horecki, Arnaud Mattern and Richard Toth from Day 1A.
Several other big-name pros to keep an eye on are Roberto Romanello – the EPT Prague champion – Martin Jacobson, Praz Bansi, last year’s winner Kevin Stani, Sami ‘Larsluzak’ Kelopuro, Juha Helppi and Jeff Sarwer.
Kevin Green leads the British charge on 65,750 chips, while Charles Clark, Matthew Ashton and Chris Brammer will all be back this afternoon.
The 282 starters created a prize pool of €1,071,600 (approximately £935,250), with the top 40 finishers all being paid. The minimum payout is €6,500 (£5,700), while the top prize is a rather lovely €275,000 (£240,000). However, even the eighth place finisher will leave Estonia with €25,000 (£22,000) for making the final table.
Top 10 chip counts heading into Day 2 of the EPT Tallinn main event:
1. Oscar Lima (Spain) – 132,000
2. Jani Sointula (Finland) – 123,950
3. Anatolii Ozhenilok (Russia) – 108,125
4. Maksim Kolosov (Russia) – 102,725
5. Sergy Pilugin (Belarus) – 101,650
6. Kirill Zapletin (Russia) – 94,400
7. Vicenzo Apicella (Italy) – 93,875
8. Dmitry Vitkind (Russia) – 92,000
9. Antti Kakkainen (Finland) – 87,950
10. Mudassar Khan (Russia) – 86,075