European Poker Tour Prague has been around since way back in Season 4 of the PokerStars EPT, but it's never been quite this big before. With a monster Day 1b turnout of 934 players added to the 244 who fired on Day 1a of the freezeout, the turnout has been pushed to 1,178, besting the 1,107 who played in 2014.
And there's still time for more. The final event in the history of the EPT will keep registration open until Day 2 kicks off Thursday at noon local time.
Day 1b saw another eight levels of play, and this time, little-known American player Ronald Morandini emerged as the chip leader with a late surge that pushing him to 237,400. That's good for the overall lead ahead of Day 1a star Henrik Hecklen. Matas Cimbolas (215,100), Anton Petrov (214,800) and Maxim Lykov (180,400) also finished with heavy bags. A pair of former EPT Prague champs, Ensan Hossein (2015) and Roberto Romanello (2010) also made it through.
Others among the 474 who punched Day 2 tickets were Ari Engel, Patrick Leonard, Mustapha Kanit, Philipp Gruissem, and PokerStars-sponsored players Felipe Ramos, Fatima Moreira de Melo, Luca Pagano, Vanessa Selbst and Gabriel Nassif.
William Kassouf, whom the ESPN TV cameras made a star or a villain at the World Series of Poker, depending on one's point of view, was among the Day 1b runners who weren't so fortunate. Kassouf tried to get his table talk game going but never seemed to be much above the starting stack. Down to just over 10,000 at 250/500/75, Kassouf got it in with and found himself staring at an opponent's tens.
"Nine high like a boss," was one of Kassouf's catch phrases on camera, but it did him no good in this instance when he merely paired a nine and busted out against the tens.
Other notable Day 1b eliminations included Oliver Price, Andrey Zaichenko, Antoine Saout, Max Silver, Gaelle Baumann, Sebastian Pauli and Benny Glaser.
When the Day 1a and Day 1b survivors combine at noon, there will be 591 runners remaining plus whatever players elect to enter the tournament at last call. More EPT action is on tap for Thursday, and PokerNews will again be your source for live coverage.