You can take your pick of the stories on day three at the EPT Warsaw. A Team PokerStars Pro makes the final table? A former champion on course to win an historic double? A PokerStars "steps" qualifier looking to turn $7.50 into a fortune? All that and more on a third day that is now washed, chopped and dished up; 24 players down to nine, in a little less than five hours.
In terms of excitement there was little to rival the diminutive Dario Minieri, perhaps the most incendiary player in the game today, who within minutes of the start had begun a unprejudiced campaign of carnage towards anyone in his way, sending three players to the rail within the first half an hour.
Dario Minieri: all sweetness and all-out aggression
Yesterday Minieri had done the same, a brash and cheek-filled waltz where he triumphed while others fell. Tomorrow he’ll be armed with 359,000 for what is his third EPT final table. He is chip-leader and an EPT crown would go nicely with the WSOP bracelet earned last summer.
Catch his typically laid back interview with the video blog team before the start of play:
Watch EPT Warsaw 08: Interview with Dario Minieri Day 3 on PokerStars.tv
The day started full of expectation, featuring both Minieri and his Team PokerStars Pro team-mate Isabelle Mercier, who was in good form having recently cashed in the £1 Million Showdown event in London. The two were drawn at the same table from the start and, with such colossal momentum on his side, Mercier did well to keep out of the Minieri storm before exiting in 16th place for €10,557.
Isabelle Mercier: 16th place
Two players arrived today with a potential second EPT title still a possibility. Ultimately only one would survive the day, knocking out the other along the way. Yesterday Roland de Wolfe looked most likely to capture a second crown, but as the day progressed the Frenchman Arnaud Mattern slowly overtook the Englishman, eventually busting De Wolfe in 13th place with nines over fives.
In the running for two-time champion: Arnaud Mattern
That completed a spectacular comeback for Mattern, who had been on the ropes earlier in the day and down to just 70,000 at one point. But he will start tomorrow as not only a crowd favourite (everyone loves a record breaker) and perhaps the most notable foe to Minieri.
Not that the final result is a foregone conclusion. Far from it. Also returning is another Frenchman Ludovic Lacay, himself a noted pro with two EPT cashes and the runner-up of the WPT Spanish Championship last year. Joao Barbosa, who is in only his first EPT season, has already cashed three times from four, showing dynamite form.
And once again PokerStars qualifiers have shown that a seat won online is still the easiest way to turn a few dollars into thousands. Both Sergey Shcherbatskiy and Atanas Gueorguiev made it here via the PokerStars route, with Shcherbatskiy in particular on a huge spin up. He entered a steps tournament at level one, costing just $7.50 and is guaranteed at least €21,114 on their way out tomorrow.
That’s for ninth place. Someone will leave Casinos Poland with €367,141 and you can follow the story start to finish here on the PokerStars blog.
The full line up will look like this...
Seat 1: Arnaud Mattern – 238,000
Seat 2: Ludovic Lacay - 296,500
Seat 3: Andrea Benelli – 100,000
Seat 4: Michael Muheim – 89,000
Seat 5: Joao Barbosa – 123,000
Seat 6: Dario Minieri - 359,500
Seat 7: Nico Behling - 343,500
Seat 8: Sergey Shcherbatskiy – 349,000
Seat 9: Atanas Gueorguiev - 186,500
That’s the short version; you can catch up on the specifics of the day by browsing through the links to all the updates below.
Let’s not forget our foreign speaking friends, with excellent adaptations of all the events of the day in Hungarian, Swedish, German and Polish. Last but not least, the video blog team have interviews with those that matter, all available on PokerStars.tv.
One of those many clips features Sergey Shcherbatskiy and fellow Russian Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko:
Watch EPT Warsaw 08: Lost in Translation Day 3 on PokerStars.tv