Over half the field of the European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final Main Event has been shown the door as both flights of Day 1 are set to merge on Monday. The final Main Event of season seven will end up being one of the richest in EPT history, as 686 players paid the €10,000 + €600 ($14,354 + $861) to enter, creating a total prize pool of €6.86 million ($9.85 million) and a first prize of €1.5 million ($2.15 million).

Leading the way going into Day 2 at the Gran Casino Madrid is Sweden’s David Sonelin with 275,900 chips. Sonelin is looking for his first major poker title, though he did take down the Everest Poker ONE High Roller Event less than one month ago, winning €75,000 ($108,352). Obviously, leading a week-long tournament after the first day does not guarantee him anything, but having a 23.5 big blind lead over his next closest competitor is a good start.

That competitor is Brian England from Hazlet, New Jersey, USA, currently sitting with a stack of 238,300 chips. England only has two recorded live tournament cashes to his credit, but like Sonelin, his biggest success occurred just last month, when he placed second in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Main Event at Caesars Palace, cashing in for $94,944.

All told, the top five players in the chip counts all played during Day 1A. Norway’s Ole Kristian Nergard was the Day 1B leader, finishing with 198,200 chips, just 200 more than Mattias Bergrstrom and 400 more than 2008 WSOP runner-up, Ivan Demidov.

Entering Day 2, the top ten is about as international as we’ve seen, with two players from Sweden, two from France, and one each from Canada, Brazil, Norway, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Expand that into the top twenty and you add players from Iceland, Mexico, and Hungary.

Here is a look at that top ten:

David Sonelin (Sweden) – 275,900
Brian England (USA) – 238,300
Ben Wilinofsky (Canada) – 233,400
Alex Gomes (Brazil) – 225,900
Lucien Cohen (France) – 201,500
Ole Kristian Nergard (Norway) – 198,200
Mattias Bergstrom (Sweden) – 198,000
Ivan Demidov (Russia) – 197,800
Jean Noel Thorel (France) – 180,300

There looks to be some extremely tough tables on Day 2, as several will feature multiple players with top twenty chip stacks. Three players in the top twenty will be seated at table 45, two will be at table 8, three will be at table 52, two will be at table 4, and three will start at table 35.

Despite the withdrawal of PokerStars from the U.S. following the “Black Friday” indictments of April 15th, there are more players from the United States at the EPT Grand Final than any other country. Americans accounted for 18 percent of the field, followed by Spain at 9 percent, France at 8 percent, Germany at 7 percent, and Russia at 6 percent. PokerStars is the headline sponsor of the European Poker Tour and many players in the field qualified via the world’s largest online poker room.

A total of 104 players will make the money, with eight cashing in the six figures. Here is a look at the top ten payouts:

1st – €1,500,000
2nd – €900,000
3rd – €550,000
4th – €400,000
5th – €315,000
6th – €250,000
7th – €185,000
8th – €130,000
9th – €95,000
10th – €95,000

This is the first time that the EPT Grand Final has been held outside of Monte Carlo. Said EPT chief executive and accomplished poker player in his own right, John Duthie, “We wanted somewhere new, dynamic and inspiring, and just knew that Madrid would tick all the boxes for the travelling poker player, regardless of age or desires. The same familiar team will be running the event and the schedule will provide something for everyone.”

Play resumes at noon CET at the Casino Gran Madrid as we advance towards the final table on May 12th.

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