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With three days down and three to go, the World Poker Tour (WPT) Merit Classic North Cyprus Main Event is half over. Well, it is actually two days down, with one of those days being split into two starting flights, but you get the picture. Ok, three calendar days down, three to go. Is that better? Regardless of the terminology, Antonio Buonanno finished as the chip leader after Day 2 with 428,000 chips, the only player of the 79 remaining with over 400,000.

Day 1A saw 150 players buy-in and 22 re-enter for a total of 172 entries, while Saturday’s Day 1B was just a bit larger, with 161 unique entries and 42 who gave it another try, bringing the total after the two starting flights to 375. That in and of itself would have been a new record for WPT Cyprus, but another 29 players dropped the $4,400 buy-in before registration closed, making the final count 404 runners.

The prize pool has amounted to $1,486,720 with 45 players getting paid and $325,400 going to the winner.

According to the reports from, Day 2 required the tournament’s floor people to be on their feet. In one incident, Ilan Boujenah had been thinking long and hard about a key decision on the river when the clock was finally called on him. Moments before the clock was to tick down to zero, some felt that Boujenah had made a fake calling motion.* Tournament Director Christian Scalzi was called over and assessed a two hand penalty. Boujenah was furious, but there was not much he could do, so he had to eventually just accept it and move on.

Later, after a number of raises and re-raises pre-flop, one player was all-in and Toby Lewis was figuring out whether or not he wanted call. He asked the dealer for a count of his opponents chips to see how much he would be risking and once it was determined that Lewis had him covered, Lewis said, “Ok, that’s fine.” The dealer, who was a native Russian speaker, thought Lewis, a Brit, was folding, which in turn led to the opponent, also Russian, to reveal his pocket Nines. Lewis, who did not appear to be folding, sat there motionless. The Tournament Director ended up deciding that the two players should just split the pot, each taking 3,500 chips. Both thought that was fair after the miscommunication.

Day 3 is currently underway at the Merit Crystal Cove Hotel and Casino on the northern coast of the Mediterranean island nation. The money bubble will burst as several more levels will go by the wayside.

World Poker Tour Merit Classic North Cyprus Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Antonio Buonanno – 428,000
2.    Dimitri Kataev – 377,000
3.    Alexander Bogdanov – 367,000
4.    Nicolas Chouity – 361,500
5.    Seref Anar – 335,000
6.    Oliver Price – 318,000
7.    Christian Christner – 312,000
8.    Alexander Lakhov – 309,500
9.    Andrii Nadieliaiev – 306,500
10.    Stefan Schillhabel – 301,500

*Faking a chip move is not allowed as it is a way players could coax a reaction out of their opponents, giving them information about their opponents hand through less-than-kosher means. Whenever a player commits to a move, be it mucking his cards or betting chips, he must take the move to fruition and complete it in one motion.

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