EPT10 Barcelona: It's Middleton once more, leader of final eight

Day 5 is done at the EPT10 Barcelona Main Event, and as has been the case the last two nights, Tom "hitthehole" Middleton earns the headline as end-of-day chip leader once more. Seizing and extending his advantage once more during the night's final orbits, Middleton bagged 9,850,000.


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Tom Middleton, still leader


Day 5 began with 24 left from the starting field of 1,234. The group hailed from no less than 17 different countries, proving once more how poker is truly the world's game.

Two Spaniards -- Alejandro Perez and Emilio Jimenez -- remained among those making the tourney's penultimate day. That reminded us that no player from Spain had ever won an EPT Main Event during the tour's first nine seasons.

The shorter stacks fell early, with Julian Thomas (24th) and Jamila Von Perger (23rd) the first to go.


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Jamila Von Perger's run ended early today


Lukas Bergland -- one of the remaining online qualifiers in the event -- was next out in 22nd, followed by end-of-day-1b chip leader Florian-Dimitrie Duta (21st), Sergei Chantev (20th), Denis Pisarev (19th), and Nicolau Pacheco Villa-Lobos (18th).


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Nicolau Pacheco Villa-Lobos went out in 18th


With 17 left the tourney proceeded on three tables. Anaras Alekberovas lost some momentum, and with all tables short-handed everyone was more or less exposed to risk.

Valentino Konakchiev (17th), Rens Feenstra (16th), and Niall Farrell (15th) were the next to go. Farrell lost the last of his stack to then chip leader Pasi Sormunen who along with his Finnish countryman Kimmo Kurko donned sparkly hats for the night's final stages, reprising a fashion show witnessed at last year's EPT Barcelona Main Event final table.


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Orange you envious of Pasi Sormunen's hat?


The tournament stubbornly stuck on 14 players left for another lengthy stretch, then Michel Eid of Lebanon finally fell, his last-stand-shove with six-deuce failing him. Alekberovas followed him to the rail in 13th, with the Estonian Madis Müür next out in 12th.


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Next to each other at the table and in the payouts,
Anaras Aleberovas (foreground) and Madis Müür (to his left)


We thought back to the Spaniards -- both still alive -- and were inspired to search further into the EPT's past to confirm the runner-up finishes in Barcelona of Jesus Cortes Lizano (EPT7) and Dragan Kostic (EPT8) was the closest any had come to a Main Event victory.

Jimenez would next fall in 11th while Perez kept his seat to keep Spain in the hunt. A wild sequence of hands followed, with Benoit Gury losing big ones to Nielsen and Kolossow, then doubling back twice before Kolossow went out in 10th.


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Stefan Kolossow was cut down in 10th


The final nine reassembled around one last table, and over the next 45 minutes Kresten Nielsen held the lead. It was at an earlier EPT event long ago that Nielsen earned himself an alliterative -- and aggressive -- nickname. "Kresten the Killer" he was called, thanks to a series of first day knockouts in an event in Copenhagen.


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"Kresten the Killer" has made headlines before


In that tourney Kresten's best hands came too soon to be profitable. Here his run good has been better timed, with a rush early on and more chipping up late in the day situating him well for tomorrow's finale.


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Kresten Nielsen with a killer smile


But it was Middleton pushing past Nielsen, then extending the lead during the next half-hour. Finally Perez lost a big all-in versus Andreas Christoforou to become crippled, and Gury finished him off soon thereafter, knocking Perez out in ninth and ending Spain's hopes for that elusive EPT Main Event title.


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Alejandro Perez was the last Spaniard standing


Here's how the counts will look to start tomorrow's final day of play:

Seat 1: Andreas Christoforou (Cyprus) -- 2,560,000
Seat 2: Kimmo Kirko (Finland) -- 2,265,000
Seat 3: Pasi Sormunen (Finland) -- 3,070,000
Seat 4: Tom Middleton (United Kingdom) -- 9,850,000
Seat 5: Eduard Bhaggoe (Netherlands) -- 1,615,000
Seat 6: Luca Fiorini (Italy) -- 4,610,000
Seat 7: Kresten Nielsen (Denmark) -- 7,300,000
Seat 8: Benoit Gury (France) -- 5,610,000

Still seven different countries with a chance of earning the first EPT Main Event trophy of Season 10. For profiles of all eight remaining players click here. Play resumes at 1 p.m. tomorrow local time, and after a one-hour delay the live stream and our coverage will begin.

We'll find out tomorrow if Middleton, having mastered the tourney's middle, can end one more night on top.


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Buenos noches!


Click through to live coverage of the EPT Barcelona Main Event or the EPT Barcelona High Roller. Check out all the festival results here or take a look at what happened in the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the EPT action and check out the EPTLive webcast.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in European Poker Tour