EPT London: Mitchell takes million into Day 4
The past two days of the European Poker Tour main event in London have finished in a straightforward manner, with one player holding a clear lead. So much so that we'd grown accustomed to typing the name 'Benny Spindler' at the top of that list. We were all set to do the same thing today until the last level of play when a surge in action left several players vying for the lead.
But as the dust settles on a quick-fire day of just four levels, one player stands out from the crowd; former Irish Open winner James Mitchell, who bags up 1,071,500.
Mitchell made what will be a candidate for call of the season against Christopher McClung, calling for his tournament life on the river with ace-high for a pot worth 600,000.
Chip leader tonight, James Mitchell
"He was only representing quads really so I called him," said Mitchell about a pot that must have felt good to win.
"Yeah I guess," he added. "It's more a calculated manoeuvre. Especially now they've changed the rules so if you call all-in for your stack, even if you lose the hand you can't muck; you have to show them now. If I'd got it wrong it would have been embarrassing... if he shows aces or something.
Instead Mitchell looks pretty good with the only stack measuring seven figures.
Behind him though are several players perfectly capable of bridging the gap when play resumes tomorrow.
Basile Yaiche is the young heads-up specialist from France, whose temperament when his aces were toppled by Marvin Rettenmaier's gutshot-straight earlier today, certainly impressed. He closed on 756,900 tonight.
Frenchman Basile Yaiche
Spindler continues to threaten with his quiet, sinister determination. He remains silent when asked to put words to his performance (at least he will until he wins the whole thing) but his stack of 570,000 speaks volumes.
Sam Macdonald, Ben Jenkins and Martins Adeniya also fly the flag for the United Kingdom, relishing their return with stacks of 860,000, 721,000 and 756,500 respectively. Matthijs Remie, from Holland, is also in the chase pack, bagging up 732,000.
It seems Barry Greenstein was wrong in predicting that Sandor Demjan would not make the money. The Hungarian, who someone suggested must own a bank, finished the day on 691,000 after yet another day of tripping the light fantastic in spite of himself, and everything else thrown at him.
Day 3 was also notable for the bubble, or more accurately, the lack of one.
Play paused briefly to permit hand-for-hand play to begin; only to start again as it appeared Steven Warburton had obliged; one of two players to depart within seconds of each other. First Tom Alner went, and then Warburton ran ace-king into Kyle Cheong's aces, granting the remaining players a guaranteed £7,500.
Steven Warburton out on the bubble
Another name we'd grown accustomed to this week was that of Doyle Brunson. It's difficult to overstate the impact the man has had on the game, having basically written the book some 30-odd years ago.
Doyle Brunson with tournament official Teresa Nousiainen
Nearly four decades later his effect on the EPT has also proved somewhat memorable. His arrival on Day 1A was hailed by those familiar with the EPT's usual suspects, it being Texas Dolly's first appearance on the tour.
As the days ticked on we got used to seeing him, then, we began to take him for granted. So much so that when he was eliminated by Marco Leonzio - in green trousers no less - the room sighed, before then applauding. A man of Brunson's stature should only be eliminated by lightning bolt. This way just seemed rude.
Also going today were several former winners. We started with nine but they suffered cruelly. We lost Jason Mercier and Nicolas Chouity, Anton Wigg and Jake Cody, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Toby Lewis.
That leaves the task of becoming first double winner to just three players; Salvatore Bonavena, Roberto Romanello and Joao Barbosa. Together their shoulders will carry that monkey through to the finish of this main event.
That finish is still three days away. Tomorrow the remaining 62 players will play on until 24 of them remain. Read about their day by clicking through the links below...
That's all from Day 3 at EPT London. Play resumes tomorrow - assuming the temperamental internet connection has been soothed - at 12 noon with full coverage right here on the blog. We'll also be covering the start of the High Roller event. Chip counts of those remaining can be found here.
Tower Bridge over the River Thames
Until tomorrow it's goodnight from London.