Ronny Kaiser leads eight players into the final of EPT Tallinn, all in search of their first EPT title, but with ample pedigree between them.
Kaiser is the Swiss enfant terrible of the live poker scene, but if he is to claim a title at the age of 21, he will have to oust the likes of Jani Sointula and Sami Kelopuro, two of this game's relative veterans (you know, like, 36 and 24), to prevail.
Starting today with 24 players, Kaiser set the early tone, cracking the aces of Michael Graydon within the opening orbit. That began a rush for the rail and sent the fear of God through anyone finding aces in the hole.
Before the day was done, at least two others would have their aces cracked by eventual finalists: Kjartan Jonsson (who lost to Raigo Aasmaa and finished 17th) and Jeff Sarwer (Sointula, 13th). Kaiser sat calmly and simply continued his gentle progress into the big money--even though there were others snapping at his heels.
The final eight are as follows (in seat order):
1 - Grzegorz Cichocki - 2,059,000
2 - Raigo Aasmaa - 904,000
3 - Jani Sointula - 769,000
4 - Stuart Fox - 514,000
5 - Arvi Vainionkulma - 258,000
6 - Sami Kelopuro - 1,325,000
7 - Erlend Melsom - 365,000
8 - Ronny Kaiser - 2,394,000
That represents something close to a dream final table, proving that in a small-ish field, the cream can duly rise to the top. From day three onwards, many folk on media row have touted the possibility of the likes of Sointula, Kelopuro and Kaiser doing battle for the trophy -- and so it came to pass.
Although we lost the aforementioned Sarwer, the double-bracelet winner Praz Bansi, and then Johan "busto_soon" Van Til in ninth today, that is an extraordinary concentration of talent remaining.
No one should underestimate the less well-known faces there either. Cichocki for instance sat to the left of Kaiser all the way until the last nine, and showed an amazing spirit for the battle. Poland has never crowned an EPT champion, and they've perhaps not had a better chance.
Likewise Estonia. Raigo Aasmaa carries home hopes into the final. Tomorrow will be a fine day.
The best way to pick through all the wreckage of day four is by following every elimination, double up and other notable nonsense in our level by level reports.
There are video blogs from Tallinn at PokerStars.tv.
Play resumes tomorrow at noon. Goodnight.
All photos on PokerStars Blog from Tallinn are ©Neil Stoddart/PokerStars.