PokerStars Festival Bucharest: Grafton among the chip leaders as final 14 take a break

Things are really heating up now in the PokerStars Festival Main Event, particularly for British pro Sam Grafton.

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The Squid in action

The Brit just eliminated the 16th place finisher, Yaniv Avinoam, to take the chip lead. Avinoam three-bet shoved for 513,000 over Grafton's 75,000 open (blinds 15K/30K), and 'The Squid' asked for a count. He then made the call with the A♦9♣, and that was ahead of Avinoam's A♥7♥.

The A♣T♣3♣ flop not only kept Grafton in front, but also gave him a flush draw which was completed by the K♣ turn. The 9♦ completed the board, bringing Grafton up to 2.9 million and the chip lead at the time, Avinoam off to collect €5,935, and the field as a whole down to 15.

However, since then, Anil Ozdemir has snatched the lead with a 3.83 million stack, taking Grafton down to second with 3.1 million. Full chip counts are at the bottom of this post.

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Current chip leader Anil Ozdemir

Rewinding to earlier in the day, we lost one of the dominant forces in this tournament throughout, Nandor Solyom. The Romanian was the first player to reach the one million chip point yesterday, and put on a clinic of how to play a big stack on the bubble. Raising every hand, keeping the pressure on his opponents, and forcing them to have to make huge decisions for their tournament lives. That gave him the chip lead coming into today.

However, he lost a chunk of his chips in one massive cooler. After Linas Pugzlys opened to 35,000, Solyom three-bet to 126,000 from the small blind, only for Traian Bostan to then four-bet jam from the big blind for 1.32 million. Pygzlys got out the way, and Solyom thought for a minute before making the call.

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Solyom's gone

That thinking time turned out to be quite impressive, as when he turned over the K♥K♣ it meant he almost folded, believing his opponent had the very hand he ended up revealing: the A♦A♣. The pocket rockets held up, taking Bostan up to 2.7 million and the chip lead, and dropping Solyom down to just 380,000.

Despite then eliminating a player to regain some chips, things went from bad to worse for Solyom. He found himself all in in a dream spot with the A♠A♣ against Fahredin Mustafov's J♥8♥, but a cruel runout of J♠4♥9♥2♠8♠ gave Mustafov two pair. Solyom exited in 19th place for €5,230. Check the full prizes page here.

The remaining 15 are now on a break, so here are the full chip counts:

Anil Olgun Ozdemir3,830,000
Sam Grafton3,100,000
Daniel Nietrzebka2,250,000
Fahredin Mustafov2,020,000
Razvan Lucian Cetanas2,000,000
Johann Eclapier1,700,000
Traian Bostan1,380,000
Marius Alexandru Gicovanu1,100,000
Cristian Neicu1,070,000
Paul Calin Ciaca1,005,000
Yuriy Kudrynskyy980,000
Samuel Viorel Goje780,000
Patrick Bueno540,000
Ionel Tanase415,000

The plan is still to play down to a final table of eight. Stay tuned to the PokerStars Blog for more coverage.

For live updates, check in with our friends at PokerNews here.

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Jack Stanton
@J_W_Stanton in Live Poker