EPT San Remo: Nicolas Yunis leads, Lykov and Cada in pursuit
In the end it took a little longer than the four levels predicted by tournament director Thomas Kremser, but the 21 minutes and 50 seconds of the fifth that was required to see off the last of the 36 players that were in line for elimination, left what will be a formidable field when they return tomorrow.
That's when the last 24 will become a last eight, led for the time being by Nicolas Yunis, the chip leader tonight with 2,281,000.
Chip leader Nicolas Yunis
That Yunis is a skilful player is undoubted, but he also found himself to the right of four or five players rendered tight by chip count or character. Yunis, spotting this, handled them perfectly, never allowing them leeway and ensuring that Georgious Manousos on his immediate right, the only other player at the table with aggressive intentions, was neutralised.
All at sea
While Yunis straightened that lot out, Xuan Liu attempted the same two tables away. Despite a line-up that included Team PokerStars Pros Max Lykov and Joe Cada, the Canadian set about rescuing her fortunes from the off, turning 350,000 (down to around 100,000 at one point) into 700,000, then hitting seven figures before closing on 1,187,000.
For their part, Lykov and Cada also thrived on a table that soon became the one to watch. Lykov, undaunted by Liu's surge, never shied from taking her on, and gained chips by helping others to the rail when Liu wasn't involved.
Max Lykov shares a joke with countryman Leonid Bilokur
The same went for Cada, the popular pick for EPT silverware this week. If it's true that a World Champion's reputation is never quite secured until a second major title is in the bag. In form and resting in fourth place tonight with 1,619,000, Cada stands on the brink of doing just that.
For Lykov though, San Remo is about a second EPT title. Since winning EPT Kyiv in Season 6, Lykov has established himself as one of Russia's best exports, a fearless opponent at any stakes, whether it's a regional event of the Russian Poker Series or a PCA High Roller. Lykov could prove unstoppable with the stack of 1,722,000 he returns to tomorrow.
Lykov in action
Others who impressed today include Andrew Teng, who earned the bulk of his 1,600,000 chips by all but eliminating Fabrice Soulier midway through the day. Yesterday's chip leader Roberto Spada also survived Day 4 intact, finishing on 1,400,000 after a largely uneventful day. Max Heinzelmann will also be back, attempting to make a second final table in a row.
Departing were the likes of EPT London winner David Vamplew (52nd) and Team PokerStars Pro Richard Toth (51st), as well as French pros Soulier (48th) and Ludovic Lacay (39th). A list of their pay-outs, as well as those of the other eliminated players, can be found on the prize winners page. Chip counts of those returning tomorrow can be found here, on the official chip count page.
For the details of all of the day's action, check out the links below.
That brings our Day 4 coverage to a close. A final hat tip before we sign off to the Italian players who hung on until the last minute before moving in with premium hands. Visually painful but intestinally effective; the white patch in the Italian tricolore can only refer to the colour of their knuckles.
Riccardo Lucchinelli - 31st
Dario Nittolo - 26th
Play restarts tomorrow at 12 noon when three tables will become one. There are records to be set, broken and re-written (don't check that, I made it up), so it will be worth being here on time. Live updates will bring every moment of the action.
Until then, it's
goodnight good afternoon from San Remo.