EPT London: Final table set
Let's start at the end.
Tomorrow, the final table of this week's EPT London will feature the following eight players chasing this trophy.
Florian Langmann - Germany - 927,000
Joseph Mouawad - Lebanon - 780,000 (PokerStars qualifier)
Marcel Baran - Germany - 583,000 (PokerStars qualifier)
Josh Egan - New Zealand - 477,000 (PokerStars qualifier)
Anthony Lellouche - France - 466,000
Paul Mendes - England - 282,000
Ian Cox - England - 234,000
Fredrik Haugen - Sweden - 190,000 (PokerStars qualifier)
How we got there is a long, long story that began at 1pm today. At that point there were 40 players, headed by Surinder Sunar, Ben Grundy and Anthony Lellouche. As you can see, only the Frenchman Lellouche survived unscathed on a day where the poker "names" had it rough.
Erik Friberg, who had previously sat around a World Series main event final table, came back today with just 7,000 chips and shoved them in on his second hand. He went out. And then we raced towards the bubble, losing Carlo Citrone, another well-known professional in 33rd place, the last not to get paid.
In the money, we found some genuine world class players: former EPT champions Pascal Perrault and Roland de Wolfe; WPT champion Sunar, and a certain Team PokerStars pro named Moneymaker.
But none of them would make it to the end. De Wolfe hit a couple of miracle flops to stay alive early in the day, but went out in 19th. Perrault was edged out in tenth, just an inch, or metric centimetre, from the final table.
And as for Moneymaker? Well, he'd played some of the best cards of his career to go deep here: he was the star that everyone was trying to dethrone. He dodged some bullets and shot plenty of his own, but he couldn't stop Florian Langmann's flush draw getting there, and he'll have to wait to add an EPT win to his WSOP bracelet.
Let's hear it, then, for the PokerStars qualifiers - all in one way or another following in Moneymaker's footsteps. There was Katja Svendsen, who had bossed and bullied her way through the field for three days, only coming unstuck when a well-timed squeeze-play, with 5-4, was miraculously called by Joseph Mouawad's 7-8. She came 27th.
That was one place higher than Martyn Reeve, of Wales, and five below Vijayan Nagarawan, who is going back to Malaysia with £12,230. Peter Petersen takes the same back to Denmark.
And we also bade a sad farewell to Phidias Georgiou, from Cyprus, who had entertained railbirds and struck fear into players all the way to 11th place, good for £28,537.
But that's not all. That's by no means all.
Of the eight men reconvening for that final table tomorrow, four of them are PokerStars qualifiers, undoubtedly one of the best showings by qualifiers in these events.
Leading them is that man Mouawad, who knocked out Katja. He continued to eliminate player after player, until he'd got up to 780,000.
Marcel Baran, from Germany, also hacked and slayed his way through the field. He'll be back with 583,000.
And Josh Egan's long flight from New Zealand was clearly worth the trouble. He'll be returning tomorrow with 477,000 and the prospect of a huge win.
The final PokerStars qualifier is also still in with a great shout. Fredrik Haugen, of Sweden has 190,000 and is in the unique position of being the only Nordic player on an EPT final table. I'm sure that's a first.
So, that's it for now from London. The final table begins at 3.30 p.m. tomorrow. Join us then for all the action.
And here's all the action from today:
Qualifiers on the charge
Boom or bust on the bubble
Lights, cameras, action...
Money men (and woman)
All the way to the money
The shape of things to come
Going slowly into that good night
Hand for hand