PokerStars Festival Marbella: Fernando Curto leads the final 10 in the Main Event

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Curto played his cards right

Earlier today we postulated that today was the day when the fight for a place at the final table really began. At noon local time 76 players returned with that goal in mind. They couldn't win the tournament today, the final table was as far as they could go.

As it turns out they couldn't even go that far. When play was paused with 30 minutes left in the ninth level of the day, 10 players still remained, split five and five over the final two tables. This is how they stacked up at the end of the day, with 30 minutes left at the 40,000/80,000 ante 10,000 level.

1. Fernando Curto - 6,130,000
2. Iñigo Naveiro - 3,700,000
3. Ignacio López de Maturana - 2,650,000
4. Fabrizio Privitena - 2,270,000
5. Ignacio Bárcenas - 2,175,000
6. José Carlos López - 2,020,000
7. Leo Margets - 1,735,000
8. Mazvydas Simaitis - 1,120,000
9. Marco Paul Lander - 1,085,000
10. John Divers - 825,000

Sometimes the chip leader climbs to the top through the steady accumulation of chips, chipping up slowly throughout the day with no major pots to speak of. Not this time. Fernando Curto has a huge chip lead and it's all down to one hand. You can read the in-depth version of the hand here, but the short version is that with three shoves in front of him he picked up aces and scored a triple knockout, with Fatima Moreira de Melo and Ludovic Geilich two of those knocked out in that hand. That pot alone was worth almost as much as Iñigo Naveiro had at the end of the day. Curto has final tabled a big event here before, he finished eighth in 2013, the year Geilich won the Main Event. Curto is a 44-year-old amateur player from Salamanca and is a keen golfer.

De Melo (22nd, €5,640) and Geilich (23rd, €5,640) were two of the big names left heading into Day 3. They perished - as did Anton Wigg (31st, €4,070) and defending champion Jonathan Schuman (55th, €3,015 - but De Melo's close friend Leo Margets fights on.

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De Melo ran into aces...

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...so did Geilich

Although Margets will start tomorrow in seventh place her stack of 21 big blinds is healthy enough. Should she go onto win tomorrow it'll be the second biggest cash of her career and her best on home soil. She'll have the support of the neutrals and De Melo. The gold medal Olympian was dining in the restaurant attached to the casino at the end of play and came over to check how Margets was fairing on more than one occasion.

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Margets will return for Day 4

If Margets isn't the player holding the trophy aloft tomorrow, then whoever is will have scored the biggest cash and result of their career and have €168,700 reasons to be very happy. Play restarts at noon, but for now, from Marbella, it's good night.

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Nick Wright
@PokerStars in Live Poker