Alex Wice opens big lead at EPT Deauville


How about this? After Day 4 of the EPT Deauville Main Event PokerStars qualifier Alex Wice leads going into the final three tables, bagging up 3,410,000 chips for a huge chip lead, after an eventful day at the Deauville International Centre.

That just about sums up a day in which several players could boast of their lead at one point or another, but only one would ever hold onto it. We tried to keep track of them, the likes of Fabian Holling, Anthony Hnatow and Kenny Hallaert, all of whom finished well. But Wice impressed the most.

Chip leader Alex Wice

That Wice had nearly double that of the next player at the end of close was testament to his ability to find safe passage through what can be one of the most volatile days. There's often no way to predict the turbulence to come, but no doubt several players today wish they could.

Action from today...

Chief among them, no doubt, was today's starting chip leader Raphael Kroll. While he began with 829,000 he'd lost them all before his exit in 31st place. Other big losers, if you'll excuse the expression, included Team PokerStars Pro Thomas Bichon who departed in 75th place, followed by double bracelet winner Praz Bansi in 74th (on the plus side his first ever EPT cash after four seasons of trying).

Former chip leader Raphael Kroll

Thomas Bichon on his way out

The likes of Ludovic Lacay and Shander de Vries would also fall today, in 52nd and 48th place, while the last of the Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier crashed out in 44th place, despite spirited attempts at a comeback.

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier

Not far behind them was Bruno Launais in 39th and we also said goodbye to former chip leader David Sonelin in 36th, as well as affable Italian Nicolo Calia in 32nd and Joe Ebanks on the other side of Kroll in 30th.

Nicolo Calia

So who were the main beneficiaries of all this? First and foremost Wice. The jovial Canadian, of the online grinder school, takes a big lead into Day 5, almost 1,600,000 chips ahead of second place Laurent Polito. He and his burgundy woollen bobble hat an easy-to-spot feature of the week.

Laurent Polito

Aside from them several players are within reach of the lead. Hnatow closed on 1,710,000; Hallaert on 1,664,000. Big American PokerStars qualifier William Johnson will return with 1,647,000 while Sweden's Martin Jacobson, who finished second in Vilamoura earlier this season and third in Budapest back in Season 5, has a stack of 1,540,000.

Martin Jacobson

They and the remaining players now race out into the freezing conditions of France's northern coast to bag a table at one of Deauville's two-and-a-half restaurants, to toast their continued success. Competing against them for seats will be the 66 players eliminated today, detailed on our payout page, to whom they gave a head start.

A blue chip tournament

You can catch up on all the action from Day 4, including ElkY's Olympic bid, our relations with Burundi, a sighting of the PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™ and the odd hand, at the links below. You'll also find the official chip counts on the chip count page.

Level 18 & 19 updates
Level 20 & 21 updates
Level 22 updates

Thanks to our photographer Neil Stoddart for his work with the oils today, also to our foreign bloggers writing in French, German and Dutch.

It will be all change tomorrow as we switch venues from the Deauville International Centre to the Casino Barriere Deaville's Salles des Ambassadeurs. In all it's about two-and-a-half minutes away and has more chandaliers.

In the meantime don't go anywhere.

A pile of massive chips guarded by a member of the local gendarmerie

We'll see you tomorrow.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in European Poker Tour