EPT Baden: Day three over, final table set



Ladies and gentlemen, we have a final table.

After a quick, slow, quick, slow day in Baden, we finally shaved the field down from 40 to the eight players who'll duke it out tomorrow for the EPT Baden crown.

They are, in order of chip stacks:

Vladimir Poleshchuk - Russia - 624,000
Julian Thew - England - 610,000
Denes Kalo - Hungary - 468,000
Manfred Hammer - Germany - 369,000
Anton Allemann - Switzerland - 254,000
Thierry van den Berg - Holland - PokerStars qualifier - 227,000
Thomas Fuller - USA - 190,000
Ted Lawson - USA - 81,000

The 40 began falling in the very first hand, and taking the earliest bath was Hevad "RaiNKhan" Khan, the Team PokerStars pro from the United States. RaiNKhan took a nasty beat from Julian Thew at the end of yesterday, and shoved his short stack in when it was folded to him first thing today. Not a bad move most of the time, but Manfred Hammer -- whose name has spawned repeated "Hammer time!" shouts in the press room today -- found aces. That was that for RaiNKhan.

At the same time on the television table, Carlo di Renzo was running into Alan Smurfit's aces. The carnage had officially started.

In went the chips and out went the players. We lost PokerStars qualifiers Matt Tyler and Roman Yitzhaki, as well as well-known European pros Thor Hansen and Surindar Sunar. Soraya Homam, Harald Poeschl and Johann Fest also took the walk.

Then, no sooner had the bubble floated into view, than it was burst by Heimo Kraner, from Austria. We were in the money.

It didn't last long for Daniel Mangas, from Spain, who had his kings outdrawn by Thew's jacks. Thew went on a charge for the rest of the day, finding big cards when necessary, and playing the big stack with aplomb. He's second in chips going into tomorrow.

Among his victims was Pascal Perrault, the final remaining EPT champion after Andreas Hoivold was eliminated in 22nd. Also hitting the spas with a bundle of cash were Alexander Kravchenko, the World Series final table finisher, and David Sonelin and Michael Durrer, PokerStars qualifiers, who perished in 11th and 12th, respectively.

Many of their chips found their way into the stack of Vladimir Poleshchuk, from Russia. He'll take the chip lead into the final. His last victim of the day was the PokerStars player Sebastian Ruthenberg, who couldn't repeat his third place finish in Dortmund earlier this year. He went out in 10th.

When the final nine assembled around the not-really-final-table -- we play to eight on the EPT -- there were a couple of short stacks in front of Gunnar Rabe, from Sweden, and Ted Lawson, of the United States. Rabe was the first to find a hand -- pocket tens -- but they weren't good enough to beat Manfred Hammer's queen-ten, which turned a straight.

So it was over. The eight were decided and they're in line for a monster payout when proceedings begin again at 3 p.m. central European time.

We'll have a blow-by-blow account right here. Don't miss it.

Today's eliminations:

9 - Gunnar Rabe - PokerStars qualifier - €38,600
10 - Sebastian Ruthenberg - PokerStars player - €38,600
11 - David Sonelin - Sweden - PokerStars qualifier - €30,000
12 - Michael Durrer - Germany - PokerStars qualifier - €30,000
13 - Age Spets - Norway - €25,700
14 - Hans Eskilsson - Sweden - €25,700
15 - Pascal Perrault - France - €19,300
16 - Peter Gould - England - €19,300
17 - Alexander Kravchenko - Russia - €12,860
18 - Hector Fuentes - Spain - €12,860
19 - Victor Goossens - Holland - €12,860
20 - Alan Smurfit - Ireland - €12,860
21 - Kalil Rahal - France - €12,860
22 - Andreas Hoivold - Norway - €12,860
23 - Jiri Vacek - Hungary - €12,860
24 - Daniel Mangas - Spain - €12,860

The final table payouts:

1st - €670,800
2nd - €375,000
3rd - €225,000
4th - €160,820
5th - €132,900
6th - €105,000
7th - €83,600
8th - €60,000

Picture (c) Neil Stoddart
Brad Willis
@BradWillis in