We have our final. After four days of play, 619 competitors and 56 of 64 places paid so far, just eight players remain. It was a day of heroic effort and tragic defeat, and at the end of play there exists the possibility of a remarkable record being broken, in what has been the biggest EPT Barcelona so far.
If there was an underlying theme to this tournament's third day it would be the unfinished business of the EPT in San Remo several months ago. Back then several players showed the world an ability most learned to respect and fear. The likes of Randall Flowers, Jonas Klausen and PokerStars player Jason Mercier rocked the Italian stage on partisan surroundings and two EPT events later have done the same in Spain. Whilst Flowers and Klausen fell short of the final in Italy, finishing in 10th and 12th respectively, Mercier remained in the field tonight, and is within sight of becoming the first player ever to win two EPT titles.
Looking for an historic double, PokerStars player Jason Mercier
All that will come tomorrow, but for now there is a day of poker to look back on, one that started in quick fashion when the short stack on the day Andrey Chesnakov busted soon after play resumed. A steady trickle of eliminations would follow, including the likes of the last remaining Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown, out in 34th place.
Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown
Brown had started in good shape, found jacks twice but lost with them both times, the second time badly enough to send him to the rail and a pay-out of €17,300.
The remaining PokerStars qualifiers proved once again that not only is PokerStars the best way to win a seat to an EPT event but that it is also a profitable one. Henri Koivisto, a PokerStars qualifier from Finland, collected €19,800 for his 26th place finish, whilst Malte Strothmann from Germany made €24,700 for 21st, disappointed to be out but pragmatic in light of a superb second EPT appearance.
More was to come in the shape of PokerStars qualifiers Steven Wuesten from Holland (18th place for 24,700), Stephen Chidwick from Kent, UK, (15th place for €29,700) and Randall Flowers (13th place for €37,200).
Chidwick’s story was among the most interesting. As reported on the PokerStars blog earlier this week Chidwick is a renowned PokerStars qualifier having won 102 packages for the World Series this year alone and countless others for EPT and LAPT events. Sadly for the man of Kent, he fell short of replicating that success at a final table, but his 15th place finish is one worth saluting.
Sebastian Ruthenberg also continued his quest to light up the poker scene, bringing his world class form to Spain. It follows the German's success at the World Series this summer that culminated in a bracelet in the seven card stud hi/lo event. Still playing dynamite poker, Ruthenberg starts tomorrow second in chips with 1,204,000 and is looking to top his third place finish in Dortmund in season three.
Chip leader Martin Nielsen of Denmark
But for all the talk of records being broken the man standing in the way of that is Denmark's Martin Nielsen, the overnight chip leader with 1,229,000, who started as one of the short stacks when the last nine sat around one table. Ironically that was the same for Sebastian Ruthenberg who finished just as strong. If Mercier is to achieve the impossible he’ll need to beat them both, five others with the same intentions, and a whole load of precedent.
PokerStars sponsored player Sebastian Ruthenberg
Brandon Schaeffer came close to the record in season one, winning his first in Deauville and coming second in the next in Monte Carlo. Mark Teltscher did something similar; winning the EPT London in season two before finishing runner-up here in Barcelona twelve months ago. Now Jason has chance to better both of them.
It proved to be a long day, with the gap between nine players and eight lasting three and a half hours with the chip counts often being evenly matched. But we now have a great final table to look forward to. Here’s how it will look.
1. Martin Nielsen, Denmark, 1,229,000
2. Davidi Kitai, Belgium, 600,000
3. Dren Ukala, Germany, 734,000
4. Jason Mercier, PokerStars player, United States, 526,000
5. Samuel Chartier, PokerStars qualifier, Canada, 879,000
6. Daniele Mazzia, Italy, 359,000
7. Fintan Gavin, PokerStars qualifier, Ireland, 701,000
8. Sebastian Ruthenberg, PokerStars sponsored player, 1,204,000
It's been a long day, with a lot of action, and you can catch up at your leisure by clicking on the links below.
Players return for day three
Chad Brown eliminated
Tightening the restrictions
Exclamations of joy
More bust outs
A face in the crowd
Slimming the field again
Down to 23
Out, out, out, out and out
Pause in the action
The state of play at the dinner break
Klausen and Ukella battle for lead
An Italian down
Man of Kent, spent
Shooting star shoots another down
Randall Flowers eliminated
Level 23 updates
Level 24 updates
Televisual excitement is always available at PokerStars.tv.
Players get an extra hour of rest tonight with the final resuming tomorrow at the later time of 4pm local time. With the long night tonight that may be a good thing. See you then.