Kroll leads as bubble bursts at EPT Deauville


There was no doubting the defining moment of Day 3 at the European Poker Tour in Deauville today. It came after 90 minutes of bubble play when it finally fell to Bernard Guigon to accept the grim truth and take the hint that his last chip, worth a mere 500, had to go into the pot.

He'd nursed this stack for an hour and a half, an excruciating ballet of squeezing and folding with the hopeless wish that someone else would be foolish enough to move in, commit hara-kiri, and carry him into the money on an unlikely wave of incredulity.

Head on hand, bubble boy Bernard Guigon

At times it looked like the miracle wonder man would make it. Several all-ins took place around him, including that of Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. But time caught up with Guigon, and despite four callers of what was his ante, he was unable to beat a pair of deuces. Had he done so though he'd still be short a full small blind.

The bubble

Guigon's passing greased the wheels of play. With so much time given over to hand-for-hand play tournament organisers opted to replay level 17, and by the close of play 205 players had been reduced to just 90 who will return tomorrow. Leading them will be Raphael Kroll.

Chip leader Raphael Kroll

The Frenchman, who finished runner-up to Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst at the Partouche Poker Tour event in Cannes, last November, earning €800,000, is top of the list of those looking to win the same amount at the final table on Monday. Kroll bags up 829,000 tonight, narrowly ahead of second placed Fabian Holling, a PokerStars qualifier from Germany, with 817,000 who added nearly half a million to his stack in the last level alone. Ahmed Adb El Fatah is in third place with 799,000.

Fabian Holling

But fortunes can change quickly in poker, and the likes of Thomas Finneran (688,000), Zimnan Ziyard (662,000) and Amin Karout (610,000) return tomorrow within reach of the leaders. Grospellier will also come back (355,500), as will Thomas Bichon (452,000), the last of the Team PokerStars Pros. Praz Bansi, who recorded his first ever EPT cash today, will also be back (174,000), as will Joe Ebanks (598,000), Rory Rees-Brennan (597,000), Martin Jacobsson (602,000) and Matthew Frankland (499,000).

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, all-in on the bubble

Not so others. We lost Salvatore Bonavena early today, also his fellow Team PokerStars Pros Mathias de Meulder and Juan Manuel Pastor, the latter in the money. We also bade farewell to former chip leader Guillaume de la Gorce (no cash), Kent Lundmark (cash), Pierre Neuville (cash) and Isabelle Mercier (no cash).

Pierre Neuville

We move on to Day 4 of the Main Event tomorrow starting at noon in the Deauville International Centre, when the remaining players will play down to three tables of eight. It's okay, we do the math for you around here; that's 24 players.

The marina in Deauville

All the action from today, including the lengthy session of hand for hand, an attempt to ingratiate ourselves with Mongolia, and a picture of Simon Young pointing at a no-holds-barred French photographer, can be found at the links below. Official chip counts will appear on the official chip count page shortly.

Level 14 & 15 updates
Level 16, 17 and 17 again

Thanks to our photographer Neil Stoddart for his work with the large format bellows camera today. It really is amazing how he got everyone to stay still long enough to capture each shot, but without exception the players complied, including in this one.

Everybody still now... hold it... hold it...

Then there are our foreign bloggers, who we think talk about us when we're not in the room. I know we talk about them, and in their native languages of French, German and Dutch.

We now have a PokerStars party to attend as a professional obligation. We'll let you know how it all goes tomorrow. If you're in Deauville and heading to the party you might want to take that first antacid pill about now. While you're at it get a friend to check the straps on your dignity harness.

Until tomorrow then.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in European Poker Tour