EPT Snowfest: Strassmann soars to summit of top-quality field
All things considered, we've been remarkably restrained with our snow and ski based allegory this week; we certainly could have done more. But it's a fact today that the action has resembled a rapid plummet from the highest mountain, only to level out at the foothills.
The snowball built huge momentum and then hit an Alpine cow. Or something.
We started with 259 players and we ended with 86. That's a fairly prodigious rate of elimination for six levels, but we still ended up thinking it was slow. Players flew out the door so fast in the first couple of hours that we genuinely thought we'd have to call it off early, else we might not have any play tomorrow. But once the bubble loomed into view, we ground to a halt and we'll need to wait to find out the unlucky six who will depart with zilch.
Not that any of that matters to the Team PokerStars Pro Johannes Strassmann, who has been occupying his own cloud for most of the day, let alone a mountain top. Strassmann busted Jorn Walthaus very early to all but double up, and it's been one-way traffic since then.
Strassmann, who has form on the EPT for sure, finished with 741,000, more than 150,000 more than anyone else.
The quirks of the table draw meant that the leader of the "anyone else" pack ended up not only sitting next to Strassmann, but was also kitted out in the same livery. Richard Toth, the Team PokerStars Pro from Hungary, bagged 584,000 - and he and Strassmann were terrible twins on table three today.
In the more sedate surroundings of table eight, the EPT Kyiv champion Max Lykov had one of those days at the office. Lykov is joint leader in the chase for EPT Player of the Year, and today he showed us all why. He was making hero calls and perfectly-pitched value bets, keeping up a fearsome aggression level throughout. Lykov was irresistible today and finished third, with 575,000. (Head over to the chip count page for full counts.)
Max Lykov: No one else had a prayer
Lykov also has the chance to be the first-ever two-time EPT Main Event champion - and he's the only player left who could pull that off at Snowfest. Arnaud Mattern, who began today with similar ambition, busted late, and he is in good company on the rail. Luca Pagano couldn't extend his tournament-cash record and Daniel Negreanu busted early. Nacho Barbero, Florian Langmann and Rino Mathis also left the building.
However Team Pro has, on the whole, had another spectacular tournament. Luis Medina, Johannes Steindl, Lex Veldhuis, Vadim Markushevski, Alex Kravchenko and Christophe De Meulder all made it through the day.
Hats off too to the birthday boys Julien Brecard and Jim Collopy. The former, among the day 1a chip leaders on the day he turned 31, is still in the hunt. The latter, ten years younger, celebrated his big day today by shoving 458,000 into his bag, fourth overall.
Head over to the payout structure page to see what they're all still vying for. Then click any of the following links to relive the action as it happened:
All the pictures, as ever, come from Neil Stoddart. And now, like the last of the snow, we melt away. Goodnight.