Classy Jacobson seizes lead ahead of EPT Deauville final

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At the end of one of the European Poker Tour's quickest days, just eight finalists remain in the EPT Deauville Main event, held in the regal Salles des Ambassadeurs at Casino Barriere. It took a little less than four levels to turn three tables into one today, and as players raced the sunset to a dusk finish, it's Martin Jacobson who takes with him the chip lead into the final, bagging up 7,280,000 at the close.

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Chip leader Martin Jacobson

Day 5 was something of an operatic overture to accompany this entire week in northern France. Packed into a short burst of poker were tournament vignettes, snippets reminding us of earlier stages - the lethargy of day one, the tension of money jumps of Day 3 and the sudden rush of Day 4 that can take hold and wipe out half a table within minutes.

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The last three tables

Added to that was an intimate atmosphere; a small corner of the tournament room fenced off to provide an unlikely playing space. In scenes harking back to EPTs staged four seasons ago, the rail was only inches away from the players, while spectators and media alike looked for any nook or cranny from where it was safe to watch.

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The tournament room

What they would see was a quick-fire process of assassination, names we'd grown familiar with this last week, departing one after the other.

Emile Petit was the first to depart in 24th place although not until more than an hour of play. If anyone was forecasting a long day they would be mistaken, with four players, Riccardo Giacalone, Zimnan Ziyard, Fabrice Soulier and Andrzej Nowak-Rogozinski chasing each other to the rail within five minutes, followed shortly after by Sebastien Bidinger, taking play to two tables.

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Fabrice Soulier

At the heart of the destruction were the likes of Jacobson and Alex Wice, obvious talents who knew when to strike and did so with conviction when the opportunity arose. They will be most feared when play restarts tomorrow, although there were flashes of ability from others today.

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Alex Wice at work

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Alex Wice at rest

Frenchman Anthony Hnatow started today obsessed with increasing his stack, a tactic that if deployed tomorrow will likely take him into title contention. It was also a good day for Julien Claudepierre, whose solid play leaves him poised for his best ever tournament result. Then there is Kaspars Renga, the short stack in the closing stages, who used the age old technique of hanging on for dear life to reach the final table. Whatever works.

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Anthony Hnatow

Gradually two tables became one. Kevin Keosomphet departed in 16th, then Fabian Holling and the last American William Johnson. When Laurent Polito was sent to the rail in ninth by Jacobson the final table was in place. Here's how it will look:

Seat 1. Anthony Hnatow - 1,644,000
Seat 2. Julien Claudepierre - 3,244,000
Seat 3. Martin Jacobson - 7,280,000
Seat 4. Ruslan Prydryk - 1,154,000
Seat 5. Kaspars Renga - 470,000
Seat 6. Alex Wice - 6,248,000
Seat 7. Kenny Hallaert - 3,599,000
Seat 8. Lucien Cohen - 3,085,000

To find the detail of every elimination today, as well as the double-ups, the bits in between, and details of the latest PokerStars Blog readership news from Fiji, click on the links below. You'll also find the list of those eliminated on the official prizepool and payouts page.

Level 23 cont.,24 & 25 updates
Level 26 updates

Thanks to our photographer Neil Stoddart for his work today. French gaming law may be tough, but so too is his legal team that he pays to scours the planet for unauthorised use of his copyrighted shots. Thanks also to our foreign blogging friends, working in Dutch, German and French. We put Dutch first because he bought us a drink last night. The door is still open for Germany and France.

That was Day 5 then. We'll be back with the Main Event final table tomorrow starting at 12 noon. Will Jacobson win this one wire-to-wire, beating his previous best of second place at EPT Vilamoura earlier this season? Or will the likes of the Latvian Renga overturn a serious chip deficit to pull off what would be the surprise of the century. Find out right here tomorrow.

See you then.